This was well enough

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Calculating the time at a rough guess, he thought he would be at least three hours upon the journey—three hours of desperate endeavour to accomplish what the white wings had attained in six minutes. If this reflection vindicated his brother's genius, it did little to make his own heart lighter. He thought of Benny lying there in the snowAlipay, dying, perhaps dead, and he cursed the limitations of his own ignorance.

In ten, in twenty, years this age of stagnant incredulity would have passed—such men as Benny were heaping contempt upon it—and the golden years would be at hand. Altogether a fine philosophic commentary, helpful in its place, but of no service whatever to the panting youth who climbed the steeps laboriously and felt the icy cold freezing his very heart. Benny had fallen in the wide snow-fields above Vermala. How far off they were, how cruel were these hours of delay!

But here Pity had a word to say upon itRFID, for Brother Jack had been but an hour upon the road when he heard voices in the wood, and presently, peering through the trees, he espied the figures of two men, and could say that one of them was his brother and the other that pleasant little abbé from the Sanatorium, who had so often accompanied him to the Zaat upon skis, and was quite the kindliest little priest in all Valais.
The "ghost" had been seen by many of the guests in the Palace Hotel, but not by the "little widow," despite her wakefulness. For her the night was fruitful of other thoughts, and chiefly the thought of her own situation, of its difficulties and its dangers.

They had christened her the "little widow" down at Sierre, and the embarrassing distinction of a pardonable error had followed her to Andana. So much she had achieved by her desire to obliterate the past and to recall, if it were possible, the innocence and the freedom of her girlhood. But she knew now that the attempt had failed, and that she stood upon the brink of a discovery which must be attended by shame. Luton Delayne would come to Andana sooner or later, and all would know the truth.

It is true that she did not lack courage, and had the perception to see that worldly sympathy, so far as she cared to win it, must be upon her side; but the ordeal through which she must pass, in a sense the exposure, affrighted her and robbed her even of a desire to sleep. The morning of the day might bring the man to the hotel; the evening might send her upon her way again, a derelict upon a lonely sea which offered no safe harbourage.

There had been no child of her marriage, and thus no chain upon her desire for freedomElevit. Her father, Sir Frederick Kennaird, had married again at the age of fifty-seven; and while the gates of the old home were not shut against her, she shrank from the thought of such a shelter. Her only brother, Harold, was with his regiment in India, and had already condemned her conduct in strenuous letters full of childish complaints. "Would she drag her story into the papers? Wash their dirty linen in public?"—and all that sort of thing. To these she made answer that she would be the arbiter of her own fortune, and that if the family honour depended upon her tolerance of such a man as Luton Delayne, she would not lift a finger to save it.

This was well enough as an expression of her promise, but more difficult as a practice. Enjoying an allowance of three thousand a year from her father, whose collieries brought him ten times that sum, she discovered presently that candour is a factor in the due enjoyment of life, and that the world has little love of anonymity. Go where she would, to remote cities of Europe, to the East, even to America, there were some who knew her story and would sell secrecy at a price. She made no friends, won no sure refuge, could find no sanctuary. Sometimes she regretted her determination to be known henceforth as Lily Kennaird, and wondered if her brother were not right when he described such a subterfuge as madness. Sacrifice carried her into a new world, and one with which she was unfamiliar. She missed the amenities of the state she had abandoned, its overt dignities, its influence and power. Mrs. Kennaird was merely the "little widow" to the multitude. It had been otherwise when she was Lady Delayne.






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