Page:Out of due time, Ward, 1906.djvu/21

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
11
OUT OF DUE TIME.

The wife of a great traveller once said to me in all simplicity, that every time her husband recounted his adventures in the East, he remembered something new; so I think under stress of Mary's questions, I grew to know more of the party as the summer wore on. At last we frankly invented much about them, and made matches between them, and otherwise made them work out the characters we had discerned them to possess.

Then occasionally we saw their names in the papers, and oh, what an excitement that was! Even to this day I can't see the death of one of that party at Thornly announced in The Times without a pang.

Then "the man who said you were pretty and clever"—which was Mary's stock description of Mr. Sutcliffe until I got sick of my one compliment—continued to write articles in the Nineteenth Century. It was thrilling! We read them, and we read all the books he quoted when we could lay hands on them.

"The man who said you were pretty and clever," said Mary, in a most aggravating voice, "is becoming a liberal education to us both. I only wish he were handsome."

"But he isn't at all; he has rough, big features, not well finished off, and his eyes are amusing but not large, and they are half-hidden by his heavy, shaggy eyebrows."

"But he is tall, isn't he?" said Mary, with a sigh.

"Oh, yes; but he is too broad, and he rolls along like a sailor. I told you that he left the navy because of his elder brother's death."

"So he will be Lord Sutcliffe some day," Mary observed, with satisfaction, "as he is the eldest son." Nothing is so aggravating as the peculiar worldly wisdom of a girl of fifteen, and nothing so transient. It is only one of the endless, and constantly varying, forms of mimicry.