Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/101

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89
By Ella D'Arcy

"How funny! Imer stranger here too. I only come down larse Friday to stye with a Naunter mine in Horton. Are you stying in Horton?"

Willoughby told her he was not in Orton, but at Povey Cross Farm out in the other direction.

"Oh, Mrs. Payne's, ain't it? I've heard aunt speak ovver. She takes summer boarders, don't chee? I egspec you come from London, heh?"

"And I expect you come from London too?" said Willoughby, recognising the familiar accent.

"You're as sharp as a needle," cried the girl with her unrestrained laugh; "so I do. I'm here for a hollerday 'cos I was so done up with the work and the hot weather. I don't look as though I'd bin ill, do I? But I was, though: for it was just stifflin' hot up in our workrooms all larse month, an' tailorin's awful hard work at the bester times."

Willoughby felt a sudden accession of interest in her. Like many intelligent young men, he had dabbled a little in Socialism and at one time had wandered among the dispossessed; but since then, had caught up and held loosely the new doctrine—It is a good and fitting thing that woman also should earn her bread by the sweat of her brow. Always in reference to the woman who, fifteen months before, had treated him ill, he had said to himself that even the breaking of stones in the road should be considered a more feminine employment than the breaking of hearts.

He gave way therefore to a movement of friendliness for this working daughter of the people, and joined her on the other side of the stile in token of his approval. She, twisting round to face him, leaned now with her back against the bar, and the sunset fires lent a fleeting glory to her face. Perhaps she guessed how becoming the light was, for she took off her hat and let it touch to

gold