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home-view in all the countryside. It is wintergreen
is wintergreen (Trientalis Children love to play there; and europea), pride of the northern thither will many a lover and his woods. Why our English name lass stroll out on Sunday after- is wintergreen were hard to tell.
They never trouble about When in June their prime was the old grim past! whilst I, who done, the little white flowers loosed forget it never, often turn my steps hold and fell away—not petal by that
way in fond iteration. A part petal, but whole, like scattered of the attraction simply means, it snow - stars. Then, along with must be owned, that after a long fresh green summer, the substance walk southward, to return round of leaves and stalks decayed, until by the Gallow Brae is usually the all the plant seemed dipped in a nearest way home.
brown autumnal dye. By-andAcross the moss-rich in June by each sombre coloured triple and July with golden sedge and leaf upheld a pearly seed or two. bog - buttercup, or white with Often in warm September days downy tufts of pussies (cotton- has this white seed deceived ungrass)—the uncertain track is lost wary strangers, who, forgetting
-at times a little unaccountably, how the flowery time is long past, in a great voiceless pine - wood. think to find fresh blooms upon It may be found again on the the wintergreen. Soon these margin of a little lonely loch, brown reliquiæe with their pearls whence it leads back through the shall perish and burn away into pines, out into the cheerful roads. oblivion-small mimic flames of The Great Wood (so named by crimson. none except myself !) is not really Signs of some small arboreous very large, only its extent is life
not wanting in the greater than some other neigh- wood. The ground is littered bouring woods. The charm of it with short ends and tassels of firis ideal. Even in autumn it is twigs nipt off from upper branches. all suffused with the fragrance of Squirrels mostly are accused of the firs. The tall trees stand the mischief (mischief far more apart, and give breathing-room for likely to be the work of the every kind of wood wild-flower to insidious pine - beetle).
A surer push up and thrive, through the token of the unseen active presbrown carpet of fallen fir-needles. ence somewhere of these little Patches of purple heather, with sportive beings is, that every red intervals of rosy ling, mix with tode-stol” has been skinned on the bright emerald of wood-sorrel. the very first day of its appearing. Hosts of small scabious toss light In the brisk clear atmosphere of the balls of lilac wool in all the fir-wood no such unwelcome guest more open greener spaces, above as a "corpse candle," so called, will a network of creeping tormen- ever peer in among the throngs tilla. Ferns there are in pro- of fine tawny agarics springing fusest, daintiest variety, half-bid- up from under tawny fir-needles. ing scarcer crowberry with dark These, with shy violet ones that polished foliage. Thinly scattered enliven sometimes the moist dead through all the outer fringes of leaves lying underneath isolated the wood - luxuriantly crowding beech, seem to escape attention the deeper, cooler shades—the eye from the squirrels. They are is conscious of pale-brown triplet never peeled as are the scarlet leaves on delicate inch-long stalks. and orange. Do the little rascal
ment of her skirt invited her com- young wife. No doubt, if I had panion to do likewise.
been brought up differently, I “I may not get another chance," might have accepted my awakenshe began, calmly; "but I owe ing with equanimity. Any way, you—shall I call it a confession ? I didn't. My husband was rich, I have been making up my mind and he was weak. Worst of all, as to how much I should tell you, he was as clay in the hands of and have now decided to tell you every woman who chose to exerall." She stopped as if to gain cise her power; and women, God
, strength, and West struck in knows !— some women
-can be hurriedly
merciless as well as vicious. We “I don't think you owe me any drifted apart; it was my faultexplanation. Had we not better I didn't think so then, but I think forget the ring and its story?"
1—for I was too angry to put "So I have thought," she re- out a hand to save him. He knew plied; “but no; on the whole, he was-was not what he ought you had better hear. I owe it to to have been. He loved me after myself if not to you.
his fashion—that I also believe West nodded. 'You are the now, but I didn't believe it thenbest judge,” he remarked, almost and—and then he took to drinkto his cigar.
ing. It is the old, old story; there “Let me begin from the begin were quarrels, and the breach grew ning, then," she said.
wider. Our differences came to a born and brought up in a country head. We were both young and rectory in an old-fashioned way. hot-tempered, and I had been My knowledge of life was abso- trained to look on the life he was lutely nil: at best it came from leading as worse than death. We sheepish flirtations with a callow parted—I returned to my father, curate—every girl, you will say, I and he, after a few solitary months suppose, can flirt by the light of in London, went to the Cape.” nature; at its worst, from the gos- Her eyes had filled with tears, sip of a few girls as wise as myself
. and she had crumpled up one I married my husband when I was glove into a tight ball—these were a child of eighteen, who knew as the only signs of what the recital much about marriage as any un- was costing her. educated child of eighteen can.' “Before he left," she continued, She stopped to draw her cloak "he came down to the Rectoryabout her with an expressive and I let him go. I was mad, shiver. The next sentences came drunk with indignation if you will, with a pathetic rush. “My hus- and I spurned him from my presband was a mere boy, with much He went; and the rest you more money than was good for know." Her voice had choked. him or for me. Unlike myself, "That ring,” she added, drawing he had been educated on modern it softly from her finger, “had methods. We plunged into the been a present from myself. I whirl of society, and for a time I had given it him in those happy was as happy as any girl could be days of my courtship and girlhood, who discovers what wealth and when love had first come into my social status can give her. Then life.” The wistful cadences of her
disillusionment. It must voice seemed to haunt the air with come, I suppose, to us all; it the balm of moonlight summer came to me when I was but a nights and lovers' vows. “That
scrap of a letter which you found must win. You remember the -ah! I am glad he got it, for in saying of Milton about the beautiit I had asked him to come back, ful life and the beautiful poem. and let the past be forgotten." Well— love, real love, can only be
She broke off, and turned to him won by a woman, can only be with eyes that awaited his verdict. inspired by a woman, when she
Moved by a sudden impulse, he makes her life beautiful. Ah! held out his hand. “I am both but I mustn't perplex you with sorry and glad you have told me," my metaphysics—a woman's metahe said, with deep emotion : "sorry physics,” she added, with a smile. to have given you the pain of “You have your own creed, have telling a stranger what he had no you not? Supposing you go and right to hear; but glad because ” fetch my brother, and forget all I -his voice wavered in spite of have been saying." himself—“if I honoured you be- She rose, still smiling, and the fore, I honour you still more to interview was at an end. night.”
But if Everard West was reShe glanced back at him, the luctant to leave her before, he was flicker of a happy smile in her pain- doubly reluctant after that evenstricken eyes, and took his hand. ing. And yet, abuse himself as It was as if they had clasped he might, he could not point to hands over a grave. “It seems any conclusive reason for staying. so long ago,” she went on, pres- Mrs Heathcote was not beautiful ently, “that I can now talk about —that is to say, she bad eyes it calmly. I often wonder whether whose mystery was inexhaustible, I am the same woman who went and a voice whose timbre had an through that terrible ordeal. The uncanny way of vibrating long past seven years have taught me after words had been uttered, but much—they have taught me to most distinctly she was not beauforgive that poor boy all his foolish tiful—from the military point of dissipation; and, thanks to you, I view. West knew a dozen women know that he had forgiven me. who in beauty were vastly her I was no fit wife for him-believe superior, to talk to whom, howme, I was not. I ought never to ever, he would not have walked have married him; but, like so across the Terrace. No; it was many young girls, I mistook mere not her beauty which kept him at physical admiration for love. I her side.
her side. But had Captain West now see that I never really loved been a psychologist, he would have him. If I had, I should have been recognised that in reality it was more forbearing, for the quintes- under the spell of character and sence of a woman's love is the divine personality he had fallen. He was gift of charity. Yes, yes," she add- only beginning dimly to feel that ed, almost impatiently, “it is ; and in a woman, as in a man, mind the cruelty of my act lies here. can be a far more potent wizard My marriage ruined his life, while than mere beauty of face or body. it saved mine. It taught me that Her care for her delicate brother; love is not something which comes her touching ways with the infants to a woman unasked for—that is on the Terrace; her child-like purity the view of most girls and some of thought, shining in every word women ; but it is hopelessly wrong. and look; her virginal daintiness
; Love, like everything else worth of soul, of which the twist of a having in life, is something you ribbon in her hair, the posy of
flowers in her belt, the subtle har- of your society.” Her words monies in her dress, seemed to be touched him to the quick. the outward and fragrant symbols, “I never know when you are —these were what stole with hour- chaffing me,” he replied, tilting his ly triumph over him. She seemed straw hat nervously over his eyes. to move, to think, to have her be- “ That is unkind,” she replied, ing in an atmosphere which awed
at once. “I meant it sincerely. his senses and left him bewildered. You have given my brother a new Experience of life cannot be too lease of life.” dearly bought—that had been his “He is not the only man who own creed—and he had seen the has been altered,” West boldly reworld in its most naked and dir- joined; “I too tiest aspects.
But here was “Might I not say something woman who, like himself, had come about chaffing?" she interrupted. into contact with human beings “I thought cynics never altered. in their vilest phases, who had Cynicism is like the laws of the been forced to drink of sorrow and Medes and Persians, is it not ?" degradation, and who had come “But why persist in calling me through the ordeal unscathed. Not a cynic? Is it quite fair?" one speck of mire had soiled even She looked at him in puzzled the hem of her robe; she had seen simplicity. "Perhaps you are the mud, had walked through the right,” she said, thoughtfully. mud, and it had been powerless "Cynics, after all, are not enigmas, to hurt her. West had known and you are a terrible enigma. beautiful women, clever women, Oh yes, you are,” smiling down honourable women; he had been
you delight in intimate with women who were the fact What foolishness it is neither beautiful, clever, nor hon- to say women are riddles ! it is men ourable; he had been “in love,” who are the riddles. Man, I am as most men, a dozen times; but sure, is the last riddle that will be not until this week had he even solved by woman.” dreamed of what reverence for “But how does this apply?" womanhood could mean.
“Well-pardon my franknessas if a new sense had suddenly but I often wonder what you are
into his ken, and had going to do with yourself?” The trampled contemptuously on the interest in her eyes and voice was philosophy which had taken fifteen unmistakable. bitter years to build. And then “Do with myself ?” he repeated, there would surge over him, as he as if he disliked the idea. “Oh, tossed on his sleepless bed, the hot I suppose do as I did before.” consciousness that this new light “What! go back to spill more had dawned on himself, who had blood in South Africa ? If I were been-ah! what had he not been ? you, that is just what I should not
“ May I tell you how glad I am do." we met you ?" she surprised him May I hear what you would by remarking one afternoon at do?" Versailles as they had fled from “Oh, certainly !” She fiddled perfunctory tramping through its with her parasol. “I should refatiguing splendours to a seat in tire and the gardens. “My brother has be- “Retire!” he laughed. “Retire come a different man. I cannot and become a fat squire with an be too grateful for the medicine uncomfortable past–become a de
" And my
corous citizen, subscribe to the then the women I have met have Primrose League and growl at done nothing to make me alter my Democracy-live a life as viciously verdict on the sex.” respectable as was lived in that de- He paused, expecting her usual plorable monument of impeccable reproaches, but instead she was taste.” He waved his band at the looking at him with the tenderest façade of the palace, which sur- sympathy. “I am sorry,” she veyed them with its chilly glare said in a whisper, "very sorry. of self-conscious breeding. “ Mrs We women have much to answer Heathcote, if you had lived my for.
for. I had no idea that that was life you would know that that was your story. Forgive me for having impossible. I should be as much spoken so lightly." A smile broke out of place in English country into her eyes.
“ The riddle is life as the Siamese ambassadors solved,” she said, quickly. were at the Court of Louis XIV.” “And, like every bad riddle,”
" Impossible !" she echoed, he replied, "there is no proper warmly. “You of all persons answer.” to that phrase, you who “Oh no!” she rejoined, warmly, have-" He winced, as he "the answer is yet to come.
You always did, at such allusions.
simply made the same mistake “I retract," he said, slowly. that I did. You mistook physical
, "It might have been possible admiration for love.
Love can once; it is no longer so.” She only be won.” was gazing at him questioningly. “By the beautiful life,” he in“I don't think,” he replied, gently, terrupted, bitterly.
you quite understand what I life has been so beautiful.” have been. Perhaps I am a riddle, “Not altogether, I fear," she but it's not of my making. There replied, half sadly. was a time when your ideal was have at least been unselfish-we my ideal; but, after fifteen years all know that. Come, be honest, of cutting throats, it only remains and admit that on that chord of for me to continue cutting the unselfishness you can, if
will, throats that civilisation in its own build up the beautiful symphony." interest says must be cut. You “Ah! if I could only believe tell me my view of life is all you. But I have no sister, as you wrong - perhaps it is. I have have your brother, to train myself never told you my story-I couldn't
I have no one-no one. tell you all—but I will confide to She flushed. “No, not at preyou one episode. Have you guessed sent, but you can find a woman that I first went to South Africa who would
She broke off. because of a woman? That was
Was it, West asked himself with fifteen years ago. I was a young a delicious throb, because she could sub, and knew everything. I was not trust herself ? engaged to be married in order ".And then suppose I made to be jilted, I suppose.
another mistake? All women are betrayed by a woman I had loved not as you are — always saying
-vilely betrayed. So I went to they ought to be," he added, seeSouth Africa and the devil to- ing her troubled look. gether-I beg your pardon, I was Alas, no! I know that. But, forgetting. Any way, I had my believe me, there are women chance of being domesticated, and in her eagerness she put a hand on I made a mess of it; and since his arm.