but there was no sign of his cousin, so he walked back home.
The night came on soft and calm, and after sitting reading a bit, and going over some translation ready for the vicar next day, Lance looked up, to see that he was alone, so putting away his books he strolled out on to the big sloping lawn to where he could see the sea; but it looked quite dark and forbidding, and the stars were half hidden by a haze. Still it was very pleasant out there, and after a time he turned to look back at the house with its light or two in the windows of the ground-floor, while everything else looked black, till all at once a little window high up in the centre gable of the old Elizabethan place shone out brightly with a keen steady bluish light which lasted while he could have counted twenty, and then all was blacker than ever.
"Why, it's a firework," said Lance to himself. "It must be Alf."
He had hardly thought this when the light shone out again, burned brightly for a time, and once more went out, leaving the boy wondering, till it once again blazed out sharply, and left all blacker than ever.
Lance's mind was just as black and dark, for he could make nothing of it. Alfred was not likely to be letting off fireworks. What could it mean?
Coming to the conclusion that his cousin had been amusing himself in some way or another connected with chemistry, he stood thinking for a minute and then went in, to find the object of his thoughts sitting by his aunt's side talking quietly, while the squire seemed engrossed in a book.
"Well, perhaps you had better," said Mrs. Penwith. "There's nothing like bed for a bad sick headache."
The boy sighed, said good-night, and went up to his room.
"He had too long a walk to-day," said Mrs. Penwith,