Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/65

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57
IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA

hand, it may dispel the chill and the damp better than—but never mind—never mind."

Why had Judith failed to accomplish the piece? Whilst engaged on the notes she had felt that the searching, beaming eyes of the smuggler were on her, fixed with fierce intensity. She could meet them, looking straight at him, without shrinking, and without confusion, but to be searched by them whilst off her guard, her attention engaged on her music, was what she could not endure.

Coppinger made no remark on what he had heard, but his face gave token that the music had not swept across him without stirring and softening his hard nature.

"How long is she to be here—with you?" he asked, turning to Uncle Zachie.

"Captain, I cannot tell. She and her brother had to leave the rectory. They could not remain in that house alone. Mrs. Trevisa asked me to lodge them here, and I consented. I knew their father."

"She did not ask me. I would have taken them in."

"Perhaps she was diffident of doing that," said Uncle Zachie. "But really, on my word, it is no inconvenience to me. I have room in this house, and my maid, Jump, has not enough to do to attend on me."

"When you are tired of them send them to me."

" I am not likely to be tired of Judith, now that I have heard her play."

"Judith—is that her name?"

"Yes—Judith."

"Judith!" he repeated, and thrust his stick along the floor, meditatively. "Judith!" Then, after a pause, with his eyes on the ground, "Why did not your aunt speak to me? Why does she not love you?—she does not, I know. Why did she not go to see you when your father was alive? Why did you not come to the Glaze?"

"My dear papa did not wish me to go to your house," said Judith, answering one of his many questions, the last, and perhaps the easiest to reply to.

"Why not?" he glanced up at her, then down on the floor again.

"Papa was not very pleased with Aunt Dunes—it was no fault on either side, only a misunderstanding," said Judith.