public service on a pension. At first his idea was to settle

weeping grass mustard netthanks2023-12-01 08:02:07 52 156

"I say," said Rangely, as they drove away, "he strikes me as a remarkably sound chap, Miss Flint. There is something unusual about him, something clean cut."

public service on a pension. At first his idea was to settle

"I've heard other people say so," Victoria replied. For the first time since she had known him, praise of Austen was painful to her. What was this curious attraction that roused the interest of all who came in contact with him? The doctor had it, Mr. Redbrook, Jabe Jenney,--even Hamilton Tooting, she remembered. And he attracted women as well as men- -it must be so. Certainly her own interest in him--a man beyond the radius of her sphere--and their encounters had been strange enough! And must she go on all her life hearing praises of him? Of one thing she was sure--who was not?--that Austen Vane had a future. He was the type of man which is inevitably impelled into places of trust.

public service on a pension. At first his idea was to settle

Manly men, as a rule, do not understand women. They humour them blindly, seek to comfort them--if they weep--with caresses, laugh with them if they have leisure, and respect their curious and unaccountable moods by keeping out of the way. Such a husband was Arthur Rangely destined to make; a man who had seen any number of women and understood none,--as wondrous mechanisms. He had merely acquired the faculty of appraisal, although this does not mean that he was incapable of falling in love.

public service on a pension. At first his idea was to settle

Mr. Rangely could not account for the sudden access of gayety in Victoria's manner as they drove to Fairview through the darkness, nor did he try. He took what the gods sent him, and was thankful. When he reached Fairview he was asked to dinner, as he could not possibly get back to the Inn in time. Mr. Flint had gone to Sumner with the engineers, leaving orders to be met at the East Tunbridge station at ten; and Mrs. Flint, still convalescent, had dined in her sitting room. Victoria sat opposite her guest in the big dining room, and Mr. Rangely pronounced the occasion decidedly jolly. He had, he proclaimed, with the exception of Mr. Vane's deplorable accident, never spent a better day in his life.

Victoria wondered at her own spirits, which were feverish, as she listened to transatlantic gossip about girls she had known who had married Mr. Rangely's friends, and stories of Westminster and South Africa, and certain experiences of Mr. Rangely's at other places than Leith on the American continent, which he had grown sufficiently confidential to relate. At times, lifting her eyes to him as he sat smoking after dinner on the other side of the library fire, she almost doubted his existence. He had come into her life at one o'clock that day--it seemed an eternity since. And a subconscious voice, heard but not heeded, told her that in the awakening from this curious dream he would be associated in her memory with tragedy, just as a tune or a book or a game of cards reminds one of painful periods of one's existence. To-morrow the--episode would be a nightmare; to-night her one desire was to prolong it.

And poor Mr. Rangely little imagined the part he was playing--as little as he deserved it. Reluctant to leave, propriety impelled him to ask for a trap at ten, and it was half past before he finally made his exit from the room with a promise to pay his respects soon--very soon.

Victoria stood before the fire listening to the sound of the wheels gradually growing fainter, and her mind refused to work. Hanover Street, Mr. Jenney's farm-house, were unrealities too. Ten minutes later--if she had marked the interval--came the sound of wheels again, this time growing louder. Then she heard a voice in the hall, her father's voice.

"A young gentleman, sir, who drove home with Miss Victoria. I didn't get his name, sir."



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