Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/31

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21
MY LADY'S CHAMBER.

sor the frail damsels who bent beneath the keen blasts of New England a hundred years ago. Her countenance disclosed all the sprightly intelligence which her great-grandmother may have possessed, but her glowing cheeks and bright blue eyes told of a constitution against which nervous prostration fulminated in vain. Nor were the bang or bangle of a former generation visible in her composition. But here a deceptive phrase deserves an explanation. "Composition" is an epithet which, least of all, is applicable. Miss Windsor's perfections of whatever kind were wholly natural.

A St. Bernard dog of superb proportions gambolled at her side.

"I thought it was you," she said. "I am very glad to see you again."

"And I, Miss Windsor, to see you." They shook hands with cordiality. "And how do you like your new lodgings?" he inquired.

"Ah, Lord Brompton, I was afraid you would feel nettled that we capitalists should possess your grand old homestead. My purpose in swooping down upon you in this unceremonious style was to ask you to make yourself quite at home in the place. Consider it your own if you will."

"What would your father say to such an arrangement, I wonder?" he asked, glancing at her.

"Oh," she laughed, "papa monopolizes everybody and everything else, but I monopolize him. But you look serious, Lord Brompton, and less complacent, if I may use the expression, than when we met last. Dear old Paris. That was two years ago."

"Ought I to look complacent after reading in the news-