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- You Never Know Your Luck, Volume 3. - 6/14 -


land-deal through he might not read the letter as it really is. His brain wouldn't then be grasping what his eyes saw."

"He hasn't got his land-deal through. He told me so just now before he saw her."

"Then it's ora pro nobis--it's pray for us hard," rejoined Kitty sorrowfully. "Poor man from Kerry!" At that moment Mrs. Tynan came from the house, her face flushed, her manner slightly agitated. "John Sibley is here, Kitty--with two saddle-horses.... He says you promised to ride with him to-day."

"I probably did," responded Kitty calmly. "It's a good day for riding too. But John will have to wait. Please tell him to come back at six o'clock. There'll be plenty of time for an hour's ride before sundown."

"Are you lame, dear child?" asked her mother ironically. "Because if you're not, perhaps you'll be your own messenger. It's no way to treat a friend--or whatever you like to call him."

Kitty smiled tenderly at her mother. "Then would you mind telling him to come here, mother darling? I'm giving this doctor-man a prescription. Ah, please do what I ask you, mother! It is true about the prescription. It's not for himself; it's for the foreign people quarantined inside." She nodded towards the room where Shiel Crozier and his wife were shaping their fate.

As her mother disappeared with a gesture of impatience and the remark that she washed her hands of the whole Sibley business, the Young Doctor said to Kitty, "What is your prescription, Ma'm'selle Saphira? Suppose they come out of quarantine with a clean bill of health?"

"If they do that you needn't make up the prescription. But if Aspen Vale hasn't given him what he wanted, then Mr. Shiel Crozier will still be an exile from home and the angel in the house."

"What is the prescription? Out with your Sibylline leaves!"

"It's in that unopened letter. When the letter is opened you'll see it effervesce like a seidlitz powder."

"But suppose I am not here when the letter is opened?"

"You must be here-you must. You'll stay now, if you please."

"I'm afraid I can't. I have patients waiting." Kitty made an impetuous gesture of command. "There are two patients here who are at the crisis of their disease. You may be wanted to save a life any minute now."

"I thought that with your prescription you were to be the AEsculapius."

"No, I'm only going to save the reputation of AEsculapius by giving him a prescription got from a quack to give to a goose."

"Come, come, no names. You are incorrigible. I believe you'd have your joke on your death-bed."

"I should if you were there. I should die laughing," Kitty retorted.

"There will be no death-bed for you, miss. You'll be translated--no, that's not right; no one could translate you."

"God might--or a man I loved well enough not to marry him."

There was a note of emotion in her laugh as she uttered the words. It did not escape the ear of the Young Doctor, who regarded her fixedly for a moment before he said: "I'm not sure that even He would be able to translate you. You speak your own language, and it's surely original. I am only just learning its alphabet. No one else speaks it. I have a fear that you'll be terribly lonely as you travel along the trail, Kitty Tynan."

A light of pleasure came into Kitty's eyes, though her face was a little drawn. "You really do think I'm original--that I'm myself and not like anybody else?" she asked him with a childlike eagerness.

"Almost more than any one I ever met," answered the Young Doctor gently; for he saw that she had her own great troubles, and he also felt now fully what this comedy or tragedy inside the house meant to her. "But you're terribly lonely--and that's why: because you are the only one of your kind."

"No, that's why I'm not going to be lonely," she said, nodding towards the corner of the house where John Sibley appeared.

Suddenly, with a gesture of confidence and almost of affection, she laid a hand on the Young Doctor's breast. "I've left the trail, doctor-man. I'm cutting across the prairie. Perhaps I shall reach camp and perhaps I shan't; but anyhow I'll know that I met one good man on the way. And I also saw a resthouse that I'd like to have stayed at, but the blinds were drawn and the door was locked."

There was a strange, eerie look in her face again as her eyes of soft umber dwelt on his for a moment; then she turned with a gay smile to John Sibley, who had seen her hand on the Young Doctor's chest without dismay; for the joy of Kitty was that she hid nothing; and, anyhow, the Young Doctor had a place of his own; and also, anyhow, Kitty did what she pleased. Once when she had visited the Coast the Governor had talked to her with great gusto and friendliness; and she had even gone so far as to touch his arm while, chuckling at her whimsically, he listened to a story she told him of life at the rail-head. And the Governor had patted her fingers in quite a fatherly way--or not, as the mind of the observer saw it; while subsequently his secretary had written verses to her.

"So you've been gambling again--you've broken your promise to me," she said reprovingly to Sibley, but with that wonderful, wistful laughter in her eyes.

Sibley looked at her in astonishment. "Who told you?" he asked. It had only happened the night before, and it didn't seem possible she could know.

He was quite right. It wasn't possible she could know, and she didn't know. She only divined.

"I knew when you made the promise you couldn't keep it; that's why I forgive you now," she added. "Knowing what I did about you, I oughtn't to have let you make it."

The Young Doctor saw in her words a meaning that John Sibley could never have understood, for it was a part of the story of Crozier's life reproduced--and with what a different ending!

CHAPTER XV

"MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM"

When Crozier stepped out of the bright sunlight into the shady living- room of the Tynan home, his eyes were clouded by the memory of his conference with Studd Bradley and his financial associates, and by the desolate feeling that the five years since he had left England had brought him nothing--nothing at all except a new manhood. But that he did not count an asset, because he had not himself taken account of this new capital. He had never been an introspective man in the philosophic sense, and he never had thought that he was of much account. He had lived long on his luck, and nothing had come of it--"nothing at all, at all," as he said to himself when he stepped inside the room where, unknown to him, his wife awaited him. So abstracted was he, so disturbed was his gaze (fixed on the inner thing), that he did not see the figure in blue and white over against the wall, her hand on the big arm-chair once belonging to Tyndall Tynan, and now used always by Shiel Crozier, "the white-haired boy of the Tynan sanatorium," as Jesse Bulrush had called him.

There was a strange timidity, and a fear not so strange, in Mona's eyes as she saw her husband enter with that quick step which she had so longingly remembered after he had fled from her; but of which she had taken less account when he was with her at Lammis long ago-When Crozier of Lammis was with her long ago. How tall and shapely he was! How large he loomed with the light behind him! How shadowed his face and how distant the look in his eyes.

Somehow the room seemed too small for him, and yet he had lived in this very house for four years and more; he had slept in the next room all that time; had eaten at this table and sat in this very chair--Mrs. Tynan had told her that--for this long time, like the master of a household. With that far-away, brooding look in his face, he seemed in one sense as distant from her as when she was in London in those dreary, desolate years with no knowledge of his whereabouts, a widow in every sense save one; but in her acts--that had to be said for her--a wife always and not a widow. She had not turned elsewhere, though there had been temptation enough to do so.

Crozier advanced to the centre of the room, even to the table laid for dinner, before he was conscious of some one in the room, of a figure by the chair. For a moment he stood still, startled as if he had seen a vision, and his sight became blurred. When it cleared, Mona had come a step nearer to him, and then he saw her clearly. He caught his breath as though Life had burst upon him with some staggering revelation. If she had been a woman of genius, as in her way Kitty Tynan was, she would have spoken before he had a chance to do so. Instead, she wished to see how he would greet her, to hear what he would say. She was afraid of him now. It was not her gift to do the right thing by perfect instinct; she had to think things out; and so she did now. Still it has to be said for her that she also had a strange, deep sense of apprehension in the presence of the man whose arms had held her fast, and then let her go for so bitter a length of time, in which her pride was lacerated and her heart brought low. She did not know how she was going to be met now, and a womanly shyness held her back. If she had said one word--his name only--it might have made a world of difference to them both at that moment; for he was tortured by failure, and now when hope was gone, here was the woman whom he had left in order to force gifts from fate to bring himself back to her.

"You--you here!" he exclaimed hoarsely. He did not open his arms to her or go a step nearer to her. His look was that of blank amazement, of mingled remembrance and stark realisation. This was a turn of affairs for which he had made no calculation. There had ever been the question of his return to her, but never of her coming to him. Yet here she was, debonnaire and fresh and perfectly appointed--and ah, so terribly neat and spectacularly finessed! Here she was with all that expert formality which, in the old days, had been a reproach to his loosely-swung life and person, to his careless, almost slovenly but well-brushed, cleanly, and polished ease--not like his wife, as though he had been poured out of a mould and set up to dry. He was not tailor-made, and she had ever been so exact that it was as though she had been crystallised, clothes and all--a perfect crystal, yet a crystal. It was this very perfection, so


You Never Know Your Luck, Volume 3. - 6/14

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