"It is utterly detestable." "Not at all," he answered sullenly. "I consider it a tribute a graceful tribute." Miss Fanhall arose and went forward to the edge of the cliff. She became absorbed in the falls. Far below her a bough of a hemlock drooped to the water, and each swirling, mad wave caught it and made it nod nod nod. Her back was half turned toward Hawker.
We will have to postpone the mêlée." Later he met Miss Fanhall. "You look as if you were going for a walk?" "I am," she said, swinging her parasol. "To meet the stage. Have you seen Mr. Hawker to-day?" "No," he said. "He is not coming up this morning. He is in a great fret about that field of stubble, and I suppose he is down there sketching the life out of it.
"I don't see how it concerns me," said Hawker, with still greater stiffness. In a walk to the lake that afternoon Hawker and Miss Fanhall found themselves side by side and silent. The girl contemplated the distant purple hills as if Hawker were not at her side and silent. Hawker frowned at the roadway. Stanley, the setter, scouted the fields in a genial gallop. At last the girl turned to him.
And to this argument he added, "Sho!" They kept him out of the subsequent consultations. The next day, as little Roger was going toward the tennis court, a large orange and white setter ran effusively from around the corner of the inn and greeted him. Miss Fanhall, the Worcester girls, Hollanden, and Oglethorpe faced to the front like soldiers. Hollanden cried, "Why, Billie Hawker must be coming!"
When near it he usually slunk along at a little sheep trot and with an eye of wariness upon it. At her first opportunity the younger Worcester girl said, "You didn't come up yesterday, Mr. Hawker." Hollanden seemed to think that Miss Fanhall turned her head as if she wished to hear the explanation of the painter's absence, so he engaged her in swift and fierce conversation. "No," said Hawker.
Hawker helped the girl to alight, and she paused for a moment conversing with the old man about the oxen. Then she ran smiling up the steps to meet the Worcester girls. "Oh, such a lovely time! Those dear old oxen you should have been with us!" "Oh, Miss Fanhall!" "What is it, Mrs. Truscot?" "That was a great prank of yours last night, my dear. We all enjoyed the joke so much." "Prank?"
"Millicent got a letter from Grace Fanhall the other day." "That so?" "Yes, she did. Grace wrote Say, does that shadow look pure purple to you?" "Certainly it does, or I wouldn't paint it so, duffer. What did she write?" "Well, if that shadow is pure purple my eyes are liars. It looks a kind of slate colour to me.
Once Hollanden succeeded in making the others so engrossed in being amused that Hawker and Miss Fanhall were left alone staring at the white bubbles that floated solemnly on the black water. After Hawker had stared at them a sufficient time, he said, "Well, you are an heiress, you know." In return she chose to smile radiantly.
"You are more ridiculous now than I have yet seen you." After a pause he said magnificently, "Well, Miss Fanhall, you will doubtless find Mr. Hollanden's conversation to have a much greater interest than that of such a ridiculous person." Hollanden approached them with the blithesome step of an untroubled man. "Hello, you two people, why don't you oh ahem! Hold on, Billie, where are you going?"
I might give you my personal history, and see if that would throw any light on the subject." He looked about him with chin high until his glance had noted the two vague figures at the top of the cliff. "I might give you my personal history " Mrs. Fanhall looked at him curiously, and the elder Worcester girl cried, "Oh, do!"
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