Page:Arminell, a social romance (1896).djvu/76

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CHAPTER VIII.


ABREAST.


As Arminell left Chillacot she did not observe the scant courtesy shown her by Captain Saltren. She was brimming with sympathy for him in his trouble, with tender feeling for the wife who had so loved her mother, and for the son who was out of his proper element. It did not occur to her that possibly she might be regarded by Saltren with disfavour. She had not gone many paces from the house before she came on a middle-aged couple, walking in the sun, abreast, arm in arm, the man smoking a pipe, which he removed and concealed in the pocket of his old velvet shooting coat, when he saw Arminell, and then he respectfully removed his hat. The two had been at church. Arminell knew them by sight, but she had not spoken at any time to either. The man, she had heard, had once been a gamekeeper on the property, but had been dismissed, the reason forgotten, probably dishonesty. The woman was handsome, with bright complexion, and very clear, crystalline eyes, a boldly cut nose, and well curved lips. The cast of her features was strong, yet the expression of the face was timid, patient and pleading.

She had fair, very fair hair, hair that would imperceptibly become white, so that on a certain day, those who knew her would exclaim, "Why, Joan! who would have thought it? Your hair is white." But some years must pass before the bleaching of Joan's head was accomplished. She was only forty, and was hale and strongly built.