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      He talkee, "My can go all light"The ladies flew to the house and the rest of us to the stable. In its door Ferry stopped to look back upon the road while Gholson and I darted in, but now he, too, sprang to his horse's side. "How many, Lieutenant?" I cried, as the three of us saddled up.


      Ferry stroked his horse's neck and said very softly, "She is his wife." I had to wait long for him to say more, but at length, with the same measured mildness, he spoke on. This amazing Charlotte, bereft of father, brother and mother, ward of a light-headed married sister, and in these distracted times lacking any friend with the courage, wisdom and kind activity to probe the pretensions of her suitor, had been literally snared into marriage by this human spider, this Oliver, a man of just the measure to simulate with cunning and patient labor the character, bearing and antecedents of a true and exceptional gentleman for the sake of devouring a glorious woman.


      "It's a harmless enough assumption," laughed Allingham.Alice was not of a prevaricating or deceptive nature, but having suddenly remembered that her mother was opening a bazaar that afternoon, and would not be back for tea, she gaily hastened to forget that again, for the chance of having tea alone with Mr Silverdale must not be jeopardised by such infinitesimal proprieties. She hastened also to forget to tell her mother that he had proposed himself, and only remembered to change her dress after lunch for something more becoming. She choose with a view to brightening herself up a daring red gown, which made her, by contrast, look rather whiter than the influenza had really left her. But she did not mind that: it was obviously out of the question to look in rosy and blooming health, and the best alternative was to appear interestingly pale. She remembered also to order hot buns for tea, though the idea of eating one in her present state was provocative of a shuddering qualm, and having her mother safely off the premises, sat waiting in Mrs Keelings boudoir ready to ring for tea as soon as her visitor appeared. Punctually the sound of the front-door bell, and according to his custom, he came running across the drawing-room, tapped at the boudoir door, and peeped in, his head alone appearing.

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      She looked at the cheque.


      Gholson had helped me get the despatch off to Miss Harper, whose coming no one could be more eager to hasten. Before leaving camp I saw him again. He was strangely reticent; my news seemed to benumb and sicken him. But as I remounted he began without connection--"You see, she'll be absolutely alone until Miss Harper gets there; not a friend within call! He won't be there, she won't let him stay; she dislikes him too much; I know that, Smith. Why, Smith, she wouldn't ever 'a' let him carry her off the field if she'd been conscious; she'd sooner 'a' gone to Ship Island, or to death!" He looked as though he would rather she had. His tongue, now it had started, could not stop. "Ned Ferry can't stay by her; he mustn't! he hadn't ought to use around anywheres near her."

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      His lodgings were situated at the lower end of the town. The accommodation consisted[Pg 64] of a small bedroom, which he shared with a fellow clerk, and a place at table with the other inmates of the house. The street was very dirty, and Mrs. Flack's house alone presented some sign of decency and respectability. It was a two-storied red brick cottage. There was no front garden, and you entered directly into a living room through a door, upon which a brass plate was fixed that bore the following announcement:

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      He sat there, dangling an empty pipe between his teeth. He was not conscious of a desire to smoke, and he felt strangely tolerant of Rose's delay. She would come presently.


      alllittle