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- What's Bred In the Bone - 1/56 -
WHAT'S BRED IN THE BONE.
L1000 PRIZE NOVEL.
By GRANT ALLEN
I. ELMA'S STRANGER II. TWO'S COMPANY III. CYRIL WARING'S BROTHER IV. INSIDE THE TUNNEL V. GRATITUDE VI. TWO STRANGE MEETINGS VII. KELMSCOTT OF TILGATE VIII. ELMA BREAKS OUT IX. AND AFTER? X. COLONEL KELMSCOTT'S REPENTANCE XI. A FAMILY JAR XII. IN SILENCE AND TEARS XIII. BUSINESS FIRST XIV. MUSIC HATH POWER XV. THE PATH OF DUTY XVI. STRUGGLE AND VICTORY XVII. VISIONS OF WEALTH XVIII. GENTLE WOOER XIX. SELF OR BEARER XX. MONTAGUE NEVITT FINESSES XXI. COLONEL KELMSCOTT'S PUNISHMENT XXII. CROSS PURPOSES XXIII. GUY IN LUCK XXIV. A SLIGHT MISUNDERSTANDING XXV. LEAD TRUMPS XXVI. A CHANCE MEETING XXVII. SOMETHING TO THEIR ADVANTAGE XXVIII. MISTAKEN IDENTITY XXIX. WOMAN'S INTUITION XXX. FRESH DISCOVERIES XXXI. "GOLDEN JOYS" XXXII. A NEW DEPARTURE XXXIII. TIME FLIES XXXIV. A STROKE FOR FREEDOM XXXV. PERILS BY THE WAY XXXVI. DESERTED XXXVII. AUX ARMES! XXXVIII. NEWS FROM THE CAPE XXXIX. A GLEAM OF LIGHT XL. THE BOLT FALLS XLI. WHAT JUDGE? XLII. UNEXPECTED EVIDENCE XLIII. SIR GILBERT'S TEMPTATION XLIV. AT BAY XLV. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
It was late when Elma reached the station. Her pony had jibbed on the way downhill, and the train was just on the point of moving off as she hurried upon the platform. Old Matthews, the stout and chubby-cheeked station-master, seized her most unceremoniously by the left arm, and bundled her into a carriage. He had known her from a child, so he could venture upon such liberties.
"Second class, miss? Yes, miss. Here y'are. Look sharp, please. Any more goin' on? All right, Tom! Go ahead there!" And lifting his left hand, he whistled a shrill signal to the guard to start her.
As for Elma, somewhat hot in the face with the wild rush for her ticket, and grasping her uncounted change, pence and all, in her little gloved hand, she found herself thrust, hap-hazard, at the very last moment, into the last compartment of the last carriage --alone--with an artist.
Now, you and I, to be sure, most proverbially courteous and intelligent reader, might never have guessed at first sight, from the young man's outer aspect, the nature of his occupation. The gross and clumsy male intellect, which works in accordance with the stupid laws of inductive logic, has a queer habit of requiring something or other, in the way of definite evidence, before it commits itself offhand to the distinct conclusion. But Elma Clifford was a woman; and therefore she knew a more excellent way. HER habit was, rather to look things once fairly and squarely in the face, and then, with the unerring intuition of her sex, to make up her mind about them firmly, at once and for ever. That's one of the many glorious advantages of being born a woman. You don't need to learn in order to know. You know instinctively. And yet our girls want to go to Girton, and train themselves up to be senior wranglers!
Elma Clifford, however, had NOT been to Girton, so, as she stumbled into her place, she snatched one hurried look at Cyril Wiring's face, and knew at a glance he was a landscape painter.
Now, this was clever of her, even in a woman, for Cyril Waring, as he fondly imagined, was travelling that line that day disguised as a stock-broker. In other words, there was none of the brown velveteen affectation about his easy get-up. He was an artist, to be sure, but he hadn't assiduously and obtrusively dressed his character. Instead of cutting his beard to a Vandyke point, or enduing his body in a Titianesque coat, or wearing on his head a slouched Rembrandt hat, stuck carelessly just a trifle on one side in artistic disorder, he was habited, for all the world like anybody else, in the grey tweed suit of the common British tourist, surmounted by the light felt hat (or bowler), to match, of the modern English country gentleman. Even the soft silk necktie of a delicate aesthetic hue that adorned his open throat didn't proclaim him at once a painter by trade. It showed him merely as a man of taste, with a decided eye for harmonies of colour.
So when Elma pronounced her fellow-traveller immediately, in her own mind, a landscape artist, she was exercising the familiar feminine prerogative of jumping, as if by magic, to a correct conclusion. It's a provoking way they have, those inscrutable women, which no mere male human being can ever conceivably fathom.
She was just about to drop down, as propriety demands, into the corner seat diagonally opposite to--and therefore as far as possible away from--her handsome companion, when the stranger rose, and, with a very flushed face, said, in a hasty, though markedly deferential and apologetic tone--
"I beg your pardon, but--excuse me for mentioning it--I think you're going to sit down upon--ur--pray don't be frightened--a rather large snake of mine."
There was something so comically alarmed in the ring of his tone--as of a naughty schoolboy detected in a piece of mischief--that, propriety to the contrary notwithstanding, Elma couldn't for the life of her repress a smile. She looked down at the seat where the stranger pointed, and there, sure enough, coiled up in huge folds, with his glossy head in attitude to spring at her, a great banded snake lay alert and open-eyed.
"Dear me," Elma cried, drawing back a little in surprise, but not at all in horror, as she felt she ought to do. "A snake! How curious! I hope he's not dangerous."
"Not at all," the young man answered, still in the same half-guilty tone of voice as before. "He's of a poisonous kind, you know; but his fangs have been extracted. He won't do you any injury. He's perfectly harmless. Aren't you, Sardanapalus? Eh, eh, my beauty? But I oughtn't to have let him loose in the carriage, of course," he added, after a short pause. "It's calculated to alarm a nervous passenger. Only I thought I was alone, and nobody would come in; so I let him out for a bit of a run between the stations. It's so dull for him, poor fellow, being shut up in his box all the time when he's travelling."
Elma looked down at the beautiful glossy creature with genuine admiration. His skin was like enamel; his banded scales shone bright and silvery. She didn't know why, but somehow she felt she wasn't in the least afraid of him. "I suppose one ought to be repelled at once by a snake," she said, taking the opposite seat, and keeping her glance fixed firmly upon the reptile's eye; "but then, this is such a handsome one! I can't say why, but I don't feel afraid of him at all as I ought, to do. Every right-minded person detests snakes, don't they? And yet, how exquisitely flexible and beautiful he is! Oh, pray don't put him back in his box for me. He's basking in the sun here. I should be sorry to disturb him."
Cyril Waring looked at her in considerable surprise. He caught the creature in his hands as he spoke, and transferred it at once to a tin box, with a perforated lid, that lay beside him. "Go back, Sardanapalus," he said, in a very musical and pleasant voice, forcing the huge beast into the lair with gentle but masterful hands. "Go back, and go to sleep, sir. It's time for your nap. ... Oh no, I couldn't think of letting him out any more in the carriage to the annoyance of others. I'm ashamed enough as it is of having unintentionally alarmed you. But you came in so unexpectedly, you see, I hadn't time to put my queer pet away; and, when the door opened, I was afraid he might slip out, or get under the seats, so all I could do was just to soothe him with my hand, and keep him quiet till the door was shut to again."
"Indeed, I wasn't at all afraid of him," Elma answered, slipping her change into her pocket, and looking prettier through her blush than even her usual self. "On the contrary, I really liked to see
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