+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error






Now the air clears, and the skies brighten
marvellously, and the earth rolls away up and
down into deep green rich folds, into sheltered
valley and sunny hill, into a quiet corner of the
island, where the clatter of the workshop is not
heard, and where the tall chimney does not rise,
and red inflammation of the factories has not
broken out.

In short, to that corner of valleys round which
the sheet of placid silver creeps, where there are
the tranquil straits, and the lacework bridge is
carelessly cast across, and seems to unite two
rich and flowery bosquets, and to where the
wooded banks steal down to the water's edge,
and where the old Ferry Hotel, now glorified into
modern magnificence,"entreats" the guest who
would be quiet and retired.

For from this spot, the town and the screaming
trainthat only shows itself a second in the
open air at the station, and then runs burrowing
into the mountainsis very far away; and the
town-worn stranger, and, above all, the newly
married, steal down quietly to this retreat, where
only few curious eyes can follow. At the old
Ferry Hotel had been staying the pale gentleman
and the girlish wife, who had been known in the
books as "Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson."

Those in the house had remarked the grave
gentleman's eager solicitude and affection to the
little girl who was so happy and affectionate.
There were not ten years between them. Still,
she looked "absurdly" childish, said some of the
unmarried ladies, to be the wife of that grave
looking man.

They went through the invariable programme
the driving, the boating, the walking, the
exploringand seemed always very cheerful and
very happy. When he was alone, the pale gentleman's
face grew abstracted, and sad, and weary,
and the unmarried ladies looked at him with the
interest that always waited on him, and said,
what seemed to be always destined to be said of
him, "There must be some strange mystery
associated with his early life."

Every day the omnibus went down and came
up, taking away guests and bringing fresh ones,
until at last the season began to draw to an end.
Then the company dropped away, and Mr.
Tillotson and his girlish wife had fixed the morrow
for departure. Nobly, more than amply, had he
kept to the undertaking he had made in the old
church, when his eyes wandered up to the bald
cobwebbed roof. And not for a moment had his
purpose faltered. It was only this morning that
she had told him "what a deelightful time they
had spent."

Still the old wound was there, the old spectre
was behind the curtain, and he had only to look
in that direction, and it would step forth and seize
on him.

A few mornings before their departure for
town, Mr.Tillotson, at breakfast, was turning
over the letters that had come in, when he said,
"Ah, there is your suit coming on. It is set
down for appeal again before the Exchequer
Chamber, as they call it."

"O! And I hope we shall win," said she, gaily.
"The nasty odious plaintiff. I shall never
forgive him for putting me to all that trouble and
anxiety. For, O!" she said, reflectively, "you
cannot imagine how it lay on my heart, and how I
worried myself with it. I used to think of it
night and day, even lie awake whole nights.
And even when I did sleep, I was dreaming of
it. But now, somehow," she added, smoothing
her hair pensively, "I don't think of it nearly so
much. Isn't it odd?"

And she went away in great spirits to take a
little walk in the garden, to make herself strong,
which she was very anxious to do. Yet somehow
she did not get strong as fast as Sir Duncan
Dennison would have wished. The cough lay
in ambuscade, and burst out, on cold days, with
great insubordination. Still the soft air of the
placedid not one of the hotel-keepers of the
place call it "The Malaga of Wales"?—would
eventually be of benefit.

That night Mr. Tillotson was slowly pacing
the garden and walks about the Ferry Hotel. It
was on a green slope, and the walks went down
actually to the water's edge, where the pleasure
boats lay moored at a little pier. He wandered
round to the front of the house where were the
little bow-windows, diamond-paned, and with