The same doctor came back again; doors were shut and opened quickly; people whispered in the corridors. As the hours flew on, no one thought of Flower in her enforced captivity, and even Polly, but for Maggie's ceaseless devotion, might have fared badly. All day Flower Dalrymple remained in her room. She was forgotten at meal-times.
But then, Columbine reflected, she might be entirely wrong, for when Belllounds did meet her at meal-times, or anywhere, he seemed just as affectionate as of old. Still he was not the same man. A chill, an atmosphere of shadow, had pervaded the once wholesome ranch.
Moreover, cook roasts himself to such an extent, and at meal-times, in nine cases out of ten, gets into such physical and mental perturbation, that he cannot possibly appreciate the luxuries he has been occupied all the day in concocting.
They did all they could in assuring the queen that no danger to the boy's life was to be feared, and in promising to convey to the authorities her request that she might see him at meal-times, at least. Then they carried him off, crying bitterly. He never again saw his mother, though she saw him by stealth.
To be sure, he was always on hand at meal-times, and played a very lively tooth on the nuts which his mother had collected, always selecting the very best for himself; but he seasoned his nibbling with so much grumbling and discontent, and so many severe remarks, as to give the impression that he considered himself a peculiarly ill-used squirrel in having to "eat their old grub," as he very unceremoniously called it.
Having once seen a glimpse of the real man when, in the character of Elspeth, she had looked into his face, sparkling with youth, kindliness, and humour, she understood that the abstracted figure which sat at the table at meal-times was but the shell of the real George Elgood, and that, if the barriers of shyness and reserve could once be overcome, he would prove an even more fascinating companion than his brother.
He came to announce dinner. Lisette had not needed any instructions. She knew what was expected of her when a visitor happened to be at the castle at meal-times. Besides, she wanted to show the lady from the manor what she could do. Not since the count's arrival at the Nameless Castle had there been so cheerful a meal as to-day.
I am rather sorry to receive these strangers into the quiet life that we are leading here; for we had grown quite to feel ourselves at home, and the two young ladies, Mr. Thaxter, his wife and sister, and myself, met at meal-times like one family. The young ladies gathered shells, arranged them, laughed gently, sang, and did other pretty things in a young-ladylike way.
Why was it she was always so much hungrier just as she got out of school, than ever at meal-times? She did hope this wouldn't be one of those awful days when Aunt Hetty's old Agnes had let the cookie-jar get empty!
That the ancient Egyptian was not quite extinguished in him could only be discerned at meal-times, when a separate table was allotted to the Persians. The religion of his ancestors would have pronounced him defiled, had he eaten at the same table with men of another nation.
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