Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/132

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there was a glittering line upon the rim where it met the sky. The air was very clear and silent save for the sharp noise of grasshoppers and the hum of bees, which sounded loud in the ear as they shot past and vanished. The party halted and sat for a time in a quarry on the hillside.

"Amazingly clear," exclaimed St. John, identifying one cleft in the land after another.

Evelyn M. sat beside him, propping her chin on her hand. She surveyed the view with a certain look of triumph.

“D'you think Garibaldi was ever up here?" she asked Mr. Hirst. Oh, if she had been his bride! If, instead of a picnic party, this was a party of patriots, and she, red-shirted like the rest, had lain among grim men, flat on the turf, aiming her gun at the white turrets beneath them, screening her eyes to pierce through the smoke! So thinking, her foot stirred restlessly, and she exclaimed:

"I don't call this life, do you?"

"What do you call life?" said St. John.

"Fighting—revolution," she said, still gazing at the doomed city. "You only care for books, I know."

"You're quite wrong," said St. John.

"Explain," she urged, for there were no guns to be aimed at bodies, and she turned to another kind of warfare.

"What do I care for? People," he said.

"Well, I am surprised!" she exclaimed. "You look so awfully serious. Do let's be friends and tell each other what we're like. I hate being cautious, don't you?"

But St. John was decidedly cautious, as she could see by the sudden constriction of his lips, and had no intention of revealing his soul to a young lady.

"The ass is eating my hat," he remarked, and stretched out for it instead of answering her. Evelyn blushed very slightly and then turned with some impetuosity upon Mr. Perrott, and when they mounted again it was Mr. Perrott who lifted her to her seat.

"When one has laid the eggs one eats the omelette," said Hughling Elliot, exquisitely in French, a hint to the rest of them that it was time to ride on again.

The midday sun which Hirst had foretold was beginning