"On the last day of the year before last—the winter I spent in Burmah. What were you doing—where were you—where had you been? Is it so difficult to remember?"
Nobody took any notice of this remark; and the conversation which had become general for a minute or two resumed its duologue form."Have you locked and bolted the back doors?" asked[Pg 60] Tabitha; "but, lor, I'll go and look myself; I won't trust to your giddy young brains. Mr. Tinkerly will be here with the cart directly. I've only got to put on my bonnet and dolman, after I've taken a look round, and put away Mrs. Disney's jewel-box.""Give me this one waltz?" he asked, without any comment upon her intended journey.With such a guide it was delightful to loiter amidst the Palace of the C?sars, or tread the quiet lanes and by-paths of the Aventine, that historic hill from whose venerable church the bearers of Christ's message of peace and love set out for savage Britain. Allegra was delighted to wander about the city with such a companion, lingering long before every famous picture, finding out altar-pieces and frescoes which no guide-book would have helped her to discover; sometimes disputing Father Rodwell's judgment upon the artistic value of a picture; sometimes agreeing with him—always bright, animated, and intelligent.
- "But it will cost you such a lot of money to take us all away, Martin; and you could not leave Allegra or the baby. Doctors have such expensive ideas."
- "THOU PARADISE OF EXILES, ITALY."
- Fortune had favoured this last of the Crowthers, and, at forty years of age, he had found himself rich enough to dispose of his business to two younger brothers and a brother-in-law, and to convert himself into a landed proprietor. He bought up all the land that was to be had about Trelasco. Cornish people cling to their land like limpets to a rock; and it was not easy to acquire the ownership of the soil. In the prosperous past, when land was paying nearly four per cent. in other parts of England, Cornishmen were content to hold estates that yielded only two per cent.; but the days of decay had come when Mr. Crowther entered the market, and he was able to buy out more than one gentleman of ancient lineage.
- The rain was over—the monotonous drip, drip, which had irritated Isola's nerves all that morning, had ceased at last. She left the modest little lunch untouched upon the table, and went out into the hall, where her hat and jacket hung handy for any impromptu ramble. No need to look at one's self in the glass before going out of doors, at twenty years of age, and in such a place as Trelasco. Isola took her stick from the stand, a green orange stick, bought in the sunny South, on her way to Venice with her husband last year—a leisurely trip, which had been to them as a second honeymoon after a few happy months of wedlock. Then had come the sadness of parting, and a swift and lonely journey for the young wife—a lonely return to the Angler's Nest, Trelasco, that cosy cottage between Lostwithiel and Fowey, which Major Disney had bought and furnished before his marriage. He was a son of the soil, and he had chosen to pitch his tent in that remote spot for the sake of old associations, and from a fixed belief that there was no locality of equal merit for health, beauty, and all other virtues which a man should seek in his home.
- "He was mistaken. My luggage is safe enough. I shall have it again in a few days. I only want clothes to wear for a day or two. Kindly do what I ask."
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