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of Myself owerf
were, father. Mr Morton's Myself (concealing my dissimile was safer.”
appointment under a brave Myself (feeling rather an ass, smile). “Oh no. Please don't but outwardly gay). “I meant mistake me for an intelligent ne refleotion on your cellar, inquirer.” Miss Rendall. I was merely I turned the brave smile on aiming at local colour,” to Miss Rendall. She smiled
At this point I fell abruptly back very slightly. In her silent, the laugh, as it were, face I seemed to read a trace frozen on my lips. I gazed of scepticism,—as if she did at my plate, and then glanoed not quite agree with my furtively at my host (I was modest estimate of myself, giving them their choice). The but at the same time thought next fragment of conversation none the better of me. I which I remember ran some would have given a good deal what thus
to know exactly what was in Myself (leading up deliber. her mind. Did she suspeot ately to the test question) something? And if so, what? “There's one thing I envy I had one more shot. It the natives of this happy was an inspiration which oame island. What a wonderful to me at the end of lunoh when show of wild flowers they my host offered me a oigar. have! Do they make good “Matohes ?” he observed,
pushing a box towards me. Mr Rendall (again drily). “If A gain I looked at him hard one happens to have ruminant and askedtastes, I believe they are “Have you such a thing as edible.”
a wax matoh ?" Miss Rendall (brightly, but His eyebrows rose slightly. evidently unkindly). « Mr Mer. “If you prefer to light a ton was probably thinking cigar with a wax matoh, I ohiefly of the ruminant na- daresay I oan find one." tives,
“If Mr Merton doesn't mind Myself (keeping sternly to the waiting for half an hour, perpoint). “I was thinking chiefly haps I might diseover a box of sheep. (With a direct and in the storeroom," said Mias steady look at the laird.) Are Rendall; and she added dethere many sheep on this murely, “beside the oham
pagne.” Mr Rendall (quite calmly). My only consolation was “A good many. Are you that I was making an idiot anxious for statistios ?” of myself in a good cause.
lamain drily); nant and Have you grazin kendall to have they are
island ?" hy sheep on Aro Rendao, sto
I said good-night early that Nothing that seems to me evening, and did a heap of now to be worth recording thinking in my bedroom. had been said or done since luncheon. I went for & soli- evidently took a oaustio rather tary walk in the afternoon, than an enthusiastio view of as much to carry out the life, and in my present state of part of one with some busi- mind there seemed a prima ness in the isle as for any facie oase for suspicion. Anyother reason. It is true I how he was a man to be aotually did do some business watched. in the way of accosting a few As to his daughter, I had inhabitants and trying taot- learned that her name was fully to convey & suspicious Jean, that she had been to impression. None of them, sohool at a somewhat seleot however, had seemed in the seminary which I changed to least likely to belong to the have heard of, and that she gang I was after, and the had finished her education & sheep and wax-matoh conun couple of years ago in Switzerdrums had left them oold. I land. was the less concerned at this, “Nothing very suspicious in since I had realised that the all that,” I thought. “Still, day was Saturday. To-mor- what is this surprising apparirow in churoh I meant to tion doing in this out-of-thetake stook of the islanders, way island ? 'Looking after and give them a chance of my father,' she'd say. But taking stook of me.
why look after him here inThat night my thoughts ran stead of some more amusing ohiefly on my host and hostess. place ? Perhaps because they I had learnt a few more faots are hard ap. On the other about them, and these I now hand, perhaps not." put together to see what Then I thought over the pioture they suggested. In pair simply as one thought of the first place, the Rendalls any now acquaintances before were an ancient family in war was dreamt of, and I am these parts, and had owned bound to say they came out their property for some con- of the ordeal very oreditably. turies. As all my prejudices He was well-born, well-bred, ran in favour of old families, and very far from a fool. She old port, and old furniture, was-well, I don't mind conthis was so far reassuring. fessing that that night I oon
On the other hand, Mr Ren- sidered her charming, in spite dall had apparently lived much of the pretty obvious fact that abroad, but he dropped no hint she was not at all charmed as to whether he had sojourned with me. Or if she was, she in foreign parts for reasons of concealed her feelings admirpleasure, health, or business. ably. She had a good enough In faot he was olose as a elam exouse, either way; whether on the subjeet, and, indeed, on she were honest and thought every other subjeot. Add to me a traitor, or whether she this that I had heard he was were treacherous and thought hard up, that he had no wife me honest. Besides, I had not to look after him, and that he yet shaved.
vening Sharob wasance I wanthe kirk
6. So I forgave Miss Jean her laird's mysterious guest, and prejudice, and refleoted on her that several very priokly theoattractions. I changed my logical scruples were swallowed mind about them later, as will by divers of the other songre. appear; but that first evening gation. At all events the she seemed to me a most churob was crowded, and I piquante and dainty young bad the chanoe I wanted. lady. Slim, trim, and demure, As we approached the kirk with eyes like stars (I bor. I thought I had never seen a rowed the simile unblush- plainer, more primitive little ingly), and a pleasant spice of building even in a Soottish misohief in her tongue, and a kirkyard: no spire, no ornatouoh of the devil very care- ment, nothing but grey roughfully and properly hidden cast walls (what they call in away,—that was my first im- Sootland “harled ') and a roof pression of Miss Jean Rendall. of small yellowish flagstonos,
And then I turned in, and set in bed of mingled slept that night without a nettles and tombstones. Amid dream.
the tombstones stood the con. Sunday was another gor- gregation, all in black and geous day. The breeze had staring steadfastly at the mysalmost quite died away, the terious stranger, while over sea glimmered through a heat. the door & plaintive bell haze, and the colours of the creaked and olanged. wild flowers were brighter W e entered the little ohuroh, than any palette. I came and I shall never forget my down shaved, but found Miss surprise. It was the year Rendall still cool, and her 1914 without; it beoame the father as inaccessible as ever. year 1514 (or perhaps somo
“Anyhow," I consoled my- centuries earlier still) within. self by reflecting, “I have On one side two minute wineliminated may bristles as a dows pieroed & wall quite Cause for my unpopularity. four feet thick. The other They have something else on wall was broken only by a their minds !"
great empty niobe whenoe The laird lent me & felt an image once adored had hat, and as the hour of noon vanished. It is true there drow nigh we set off for the were now pows, but they parish kirk. There was an were not of yesterday-square other shuroh in the island boxes, where people eat and (as in every self - respecting faoed in four direotions, and Soottish parish, I believe), the odour of damp Bibles but by the greatest good luck smelt prehistorio. the rival minister was away The bell ceased olanging, and the congregations were the people trooped in and assembled together. I gath- filled the boxes, and prosered afterwards that this ently there uprose in the happy result was partly due pulpit a grim, venerable man to the hope of seeing the in black. By this timo my better feelings were under habit of looking suddenly and control, and I studied this guiltily at the floor when I figure critieally. He repro- caught a hard-staring eye, a sented one of those four conspicuous difficulty in fol"civilised” and suspeot houses. lowing the order of the service One was untenanted, two I and knowing what book to had now visited, and the be pioked up, and whether to fourth I was now almost kneel, sit, or stand, and a ready to discharge with a peculiarly unpleasant shake oleared character. Outwardly, which I introduced into my at least, this sedate divine top note - if all these manisaggested nothing but the festations failed to convey the austerer virtues.
impression that I was a very For two hours the minister suspicious person indeed, well, prayed, the minister read, and all I can say is that they the minister preached to us; ought to have, and that that at intervals we were allowed congregation must have been to sing, and abused the privi. singularly deficient in the lege shookingly; and all the proper kind of imagination. time I studied that oongrega. Of course I could hardly extion. I recognised the Soollay peot a sympathetio signal to family - Peter elder, Peter be actually made in churoh, younger, Mrs Soollay, the but I did hope my performtwo rosy daughters, and even ange would surely bear fruit poor Jook. The three or four before many hours had passed. people I had spoken to in the At last the service ended, afternoon were all there too. the commons crowded out, and In fact I saw every one I the laird and his daughter rose had consciously met before in in their wake and greeted the that island, with three ex- minister on their way to the ceptions. The doctor and door. I noticed that they did O'Brien were not in church, not introduce me, and also that and, narrowly though I looked, the Roverond Mr Mackenzie I saw no sign of the ancient regarded me-over Miss Renwith tinted spectacles and a dall's shoulder-with a sternly tasto for wax matches. suspicious glanoe. Evidently
I very soon was made aware he had heard ill of me already, that there was no fear of and hope burned higher. If myself going unobserved. At the minister had heard dark one time or another I canght rumours, surely the spies had! every eye in that congregation Or anyhow they would when riveted on me, and it only re- that congregation had all mained for me to give the reached their homes (if they proper impression to carry were not among the congregaaway with them.
tion themselves). As I was unable to see We passed again through myself as others saw me, I many eyes in the kirkyard, and oannot say precisely what then the Rev. Mr Mackenzie effoot I produoed; but if a and the laird walked together
for a short way, and I found She looked at me quickly. myself alone with Miss Jean. “The patriarch-who do you
“I didn't see Dr Rendall or mean?" Mr O'Brien in churoh," I re- “An old gentleman with a marked.
white beard, tinted spootaoles, “They very seldom come to and overcoat somewhat the ohuroh,” said she.
worse for wear. He hailed me “I gather that Mr O'Brien is on the road yesterday and visiting the doctor," I observed. asked for a matoh. I imagine
“Yes,” said she in & tone he must live somewhere near that promised little further the dootor's house." information,
She looked very thoughtful “ Has he been staying with for a moment and then saidhim long?" I persovered. “There is no one in the island "For some time.”
with tinted speotacles, and no“Old friends, I suppose.” body in the least like that living
She did not seem to hear me, anywhere near Dr Rendall's." and I gave it up-in the mean I looked at her sharply. while; but to myself I said "Are you quite sure ?”. complacently
She seemed to think again “Some mystery here !” for a moment, and then said Presently I remarked
“Perfectly.” " There was another face I I had something to think didn't 800—the island patri- about on my way home to arob.”
IX. AN ALLY.
After lunoh I set out by touch with me again. And myself with pretty high hopes. now I proposed to take a It seemed to me inoonceivable solitary ramble along the very that men (or even one man, for shore where I had stumbled the sake of argument, though upon my oilskinned friend I felt sure there must be more) and give them & chance of who were lurking here on the getting in touch. business this gang were en. It was an afternoon of sun. gaged upon would aotually shine and gleaming seas. At take no steps one way or the first the air was redolent of other to deal with a stranger olover, and then-as I drew who knew of their existence, and near the shore-of sea-ware. who to all seeming was one of On this day of rest there was their own kidney. I flattered hardly anyone to be seen a bout, myself by this time that every so that a quiet meeting by the report they could have heard beach could be simply arranged. and every observation they Only a meeting implies two, might have made must in- and though I walked right oline them to the view that along the coast till I got within it was their duty to get in a stone's-throw of the Scollays'