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He was obviously one who knew how to bide his time— thick-set, bull-necked, somewhat bullet-headed, with a face of even redness and a short, blunt nose that looked aggressively confident. Maud wondered too, realizing that the task would be no easy one. " *^ ^ ""* soirt K""***- «''*"'"'- "''' ^- a„,i ^t ^'^'i ^^ J^*- " ^ *°''l '^ the fo Uowing evening and he laughed m his jo Uy way, and said ' WV-U rm^! iut'l'm'^^ff t^^f 'tha T^iu ^t'St 54 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE w^^S:tii S^; S— "- sarca Ym Vs'e;^ '""'" ^^"•'^ M-''- -th a hint of acquaintance! It was Ja Jke who whispered to him the amazing information of his sudden conquest, together with a very strenuous injunction not to talk to Maud about it unless she started the subject. She went throtgh all the necessary arrangements for their removal as one in a dream, scarcely speaking at all, responding very occasionally to Bunny's eager surmises respecting the unknowii great-uncle who had never before taken the faintest interest in them, or shown himself so much as aware of their existence. at^r'^• 7'"'\' thing Vuirbe'im^ possible But at the same time— though I can't give him rffi^dt.^^^" "°* ^^P-' '- •'-eain. But ^he Js a^t X°U^„s Sur X my dear, when were thwarted, and the Tongerwe'rthw^^ protu"Clt„r'' ^^^ '""^ impressiveness of a judge " Kk**! ,"*^' *''°"8'' '''»e tried to conceal the fact " Bunnv P^*^* ^"T *° »* *'' "»"■! b M die did not Urn to ™S l"~°™°'^ """ ^""''- ■■ 0' '•U feteh 96 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE " Say ! You talk of mv damnable presumption." A ruddy g Utter like the flicker of a. She rose, white to the lips, but resolute I am ready," she said. " I can see my mother- afterwards." The old man also gave her a shrewd glance, but he also said no word. She sat with her visitor in the Uttle dark front room in which Jake kept his business books, his whips, and all the paraphemaha of his cal Ung. Mad I lain for a century dead • SLIri Tn Vu^ran Ztd..'? Maud, r^^i ."^u"' ''*' "'ght has flown ; Coir.e into the garden, Maud. You know, Charlie," she said, " I like people to _behave quite straightforwardly, and to tell the truth^ Heavens above ! The scent of his cigarette came to b Lh THT'' Eastern, fragrant of many subtleties She breathed it as one who mhales the magic of the gods Now play I " he commanded, his strange restless eve' ' ^''^'^ other self before ? ;^ re"'" °"" ^*'''"- --««» « the '•^js';o;fat";iad^T? .i;,« St "^a wiii^r^^Lr j"^ y ^°- ^ -w- have it all to yoursilf" ^^"°- ^'°" '"'°^- ^nd you can we? " Say, now," he said, in a tone of kindly chiding, " you've been scaring yourself, Mrs. She could have been strong had strength been essential, but the need for it seemed to have gone. " Come now, I want a straight talk with you," the great doctor said. Capper laughed, too, with a species of grim exultation. If that's all, I guess I can soon set your mind at rest. " His hand pressed upon her with something of insistence he^'^lr i'ef ^'^"J.^^^chingly, with an odd ekt ontto hers. hr Tw I, 7 *""•■ ^'^ ^^^- ^^ y°" know your youne want h Lf.f* ^ cunous notion into his head that you don'^ ivant him to be made sound ?

The horse was plainly on edge with apprehension, and her sympathies went out to him. In fact, not greatly admiring the physiognomy of his rider, she hoped the horse would win. iu..^''^^°*- '^*"* *° *"™ her back on Bunny but she knew Xddot^th? LSf Jhe"e Vwl^-^^^fe ^ ."}f T^^ &;f;hi:s-Sf:;^:-X^£^1^ pushed the top half right back an H i»on T^ k- ^^ ^^ lower, and said, ' That you Bolton /^^^^ ^'f" '^' to him. '^' ^°'"*' "^""8 "nd make hi» CHAPTER X THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY TT was among the horses that Maud at length saw Take viry Selrto'"his'"LS^ He"'r"^o.^''7 -f al^.a^S; His pockets were st^i^l'^ He 'ntroduced them as friends. His coming did not seem to matter to her If indeed, he were about to offer her a way of escape it could not matter to her now. " Most certainly not I " ' _^ i-ooks uncommonly like it," he maintained. Let me fix that for you 1 " He went quietly to her. flame dispelled the hint of humour from the lynx-like eyes That IS just your point of view. Jake gave her a straight, hard look, and turned without another word. Only as he stumped up the aisle beside her, he took the girlish hand upon his arm and held it hard in his gnarled fingers. It was a bare, office-like apart- ment, and reeked horribly of Jake's tobacco ; but Bunny was lying m the parlour and he had strenuously set his face against admittmg the worthy Mrs. It was ex^emely cold, and Maud felt pinched and in- hospitable. I often says to Tom Give me a plain honest man hke Jake Bolton,' I says ; ' he's a man m a thousand.' I'm sure vou think so yourself Mrs bolton. my sweet Were it ever so airy a tread My licart would hear her and beat Were it earth in an earthy bed ■ H^H i"? " '"'' st'awok V'" "" ""^"« ''^ ''''^"' ^"d While she sang it " ^1? 1 am he-.-e at the gate alone, I am here at the gate alone." been so, the accompanyin K voice r M«p H « u ' , ^'^ ''^'' it seemed to her that ey" ™'eh'-• Are you so dubi'olsfv°''"''v? Bolton ; and if that's not the silliest game under the sun, you may call me a nigger." She rose to receive him, trying to force her quivering lips to practical speech. " I want to understand your point of view, if you will be gracious enoug'^ to expound it to me." She made a pathetic attempt to laugh. I can cure him absolutely— within THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE ,93 shall want your co-operation. She met his look reluctantly, and became dominated "Of course you can count upon it," she said. ^f whl ; P" ''t^ '■^'^'^'''y ^t ^'^ I'^^rd with liis free hand To what extent.

She counted^t uck mdeed If these moods of fret and turmoil raged during the day. His fetter tearing a purple crest of a fox's head and under it the motto. Some of the female portion of the community are quite passably attractive, but I always preferred one goddess to a crowd, and she is not to be found here Unlws it freezes within the next forty-eight hours » sha U come back to beastly old England and look for her So If I should turn up at Burchester within the next few days please accept this (the only) intimation and have the stud ready for inspection. There was a queer look on his swarthy face, a grimace half-comic, half-dismayed. Oh, Charlie, what a pity I What a pity I " The easy tears had risen to her eyes. " She certainly married in the deuce of a hurry," he remarked, after a moment. I should like to know for my own future guidance." Mrs. "Oh it w,is only a little thing, quite a little thing. He had the most starthngly bnght eyes she had ever seen. ** '^^'^' red-brown, her vividly conscious of lrho TL? " i8 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE There was a hint of nervousness in his voice also Sh^ heard It, and swiftly rose. Ee Her mother entered, flushed and smiline Bohm A »,«, carr,e her accepted lover-a large, florid man.'kandsome in a l^T.fl^ '*y'^' ^th '^ dissipated look a^t Te ev« whjch told own tale. '^- " ^^- ^"««' don't be absurd I Maud rhnn Ik""' y°",'=' '"y "•• V'^T^'f ^""V " ^^^ Maud suddenly and sharply. r onf ES" V "*" "»" "" '»*' '" "'"""S get away"" ^°'"' '^'^^■" ' ^" ^«" ^d- " You won't st Sf'"^of l2' """..^^T""'* ''^^^ She ceased to suuggie. she said breathless) v " v«„ -you don't understand. i4;aat°wi^„Tbfd Se V° •''"• "^'^^"^ '^ -"- Thank you," she said again. though ordeal with a ^ detemkatfon't '^ ^''^""'f ^^rself for the as possible. S ^pte'lh'e'he TJr^^'r^^"^^^ ^-^ her a herself with d^st Son Her e ^l^^ P'°"'"y ^"'^ ^ore violet eyes-had t Koofexp^s'^-''l°r "°"^'"'' "1"- far away. ' 'r "^" the drawi„g,oo^ behind was utterly incapab e of T •°! He race that expressed itself in T'"^'■"® *hat innate pride of contempt for'^End wl in T^-^y^ "^..^er. ^ "^ ^ "^^ ''^^" thmking a lot about toleratedsuch a thing fro Kny U t S s"ranr''"^ '^"^ smile. surprise, sat down in the low 3* 36 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE chair on the hearth and leaned her aching head back upon the cushion. " ^ '^"'^ ^^at is why " Yes W*^ '"f """' ''^"■" she said, point of view t Vti;;rpr5blfm"Tf ""''u ? She heard her moth-^r's step beliind her, but still she did not move; and after thj briefest pause the clergyman began to read the service. The only thing of which she was vividly and poignantly conscious was the cold. Sheppard "My precious I My own girlie I and gathered her closer still. Saltash was watching her with critical eyes -■'•"lasn was •■ Oh. I suppose i U no Dart of hs plans to be hampered with a helpless'b'Kn genious T"' '" "'^" ^^ '^""y- " ^''""^ ' That is un- He laughed " My dear girl, it is the obvious. You know I am as harm- less as a dove in your sweet company." He stood up with the words, came impx Usively to her, took her hand and, bending with a careless grace, kissed it. Tliey met hers with a directness that seemed to pierce straight through her, and passed on unb Unkingly to the boy in the long chair There was something lynx-like in the straight regard? /'^J"r K^' '^^y^^de They embarrassed her, ma Se her Le„tfu^ labouring heart. •' helples^prison'^^Stt Vu Soft^'nlr "' '^'^^^'' ^ Again came that loud, coarsp laueh and wi h ; ti,= 0/ a door on the other side of the pafs^e ' '^' "^""^ Watch out ! Maud q Sivered in im^nt re^^^ ment whenever she encountered those eyes. Jlh T^ ^^^- 7^} ^"^"^ '*'«^"^'l *° »" even icier frigidity Sgte:si"v: Tng? ^ ^ "'^ ^'■ 1 he happy suitor broke into his loud, self-satisfied lan^-h Egad, what an enthusiastic reception ! prot S ^ -" '"'"^ ^"^^ ^"^ *" dismayed nof how '^ *'"' ^^'^ "^' "^^^ ^°''^^ ^""^ ^'"P^"* ^^'- s'-e ''"ew Giles Sheppard, however, only laughed again and seated himself on the edge of the table to comemplate her We shall have to try and find a husband for you, young t^W? • ^T^^^'^ '^'^°'" "^""^ how to bring you 1 T J I u * *°"S'? I wonder who'd like to tfke it on Jake Bolton might do the trick. He knows how to tame do k^Zf ''r ° H ^^^l "'\^ '^^'""' P^«"y ^'ght to see him fa * passionate impatience c h£ irdi J'ia Sn*? I-I-only— -•' ^" ^"^ H THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE " Came out for a breath of air ? " Vou haven't Flctlce Jfhar^" ''^"^ °^ """8- ^' -'/ --es -"h ^^Her face burned more hotly. e U m H " *''' °''^'°" '"'*''""y- " I'™ «'™d'" he said, at et'ei^fu^ '"^ ''=''' ""'• "« ^''"'"^ *° d^^^oncert her •■ Uh S^'or"' ''' '"'' "^"^^ '^*^8'= '" '^-^treme frigidity. He read only resentment kin Xed X n X hef ^'"'^ '*•" ^^'''' ^'"^ *he deep him with an everlncreas^^t hei^ u^^''}" ^'"""'^^r within airs and graces here r She fn "^ ^^^ed she show her the mlr^Sh Thom t^i Tble S't r'^"" "P°" ^is lips to but the iest was ch'c Jed ^Suteed Fof t'h '" '"^'^^"'^^ ' hick-set as a bull-dog, abrunfv tft v ! She had her back to Bunny and his companion, and the soft murmur of the latter's voice held naught disturbing It seemed, m fact, to possess something of a soothing quality for very soon her heavy eyelids began to droop and the voice to recede mto ever-growing distance. It was a perfectly dreamless repose, serene as a child's and It seemed to last indefinitely. But for all that- though you'U never look at me-I'm not afraid to let you ^'L? ^^^ '^ ^""'her happy, sheltered life in'^ your own . She heard Jake's voice beside her, very cahn and steady, and when her turn came she spoke with equal steadiness, for somehow she seemed to be imbued with his strength. up to i^^e KTl S^SZ^' ••^ ^" --^^ ^P°'°Sy- She An H't^n"^^^** ""y S*^''" he said in answer, " all right " ..''J^"S;*ir'"lg- z"^ "! tt2l Vt7^u •""'' *•"** •"**'^'^ °* P«a« while she W K i K ! so the worthy Jake has the matter in hand, has he ? Were I h/^i * P"'"'""' "^y ^''^ '''""«^' ^""^d be to relieve you of the all-engrossmg care of Bunny. " On But there was a slightly malicious twist to his smile anrt his voice was suavely mocking, notwithstandtag ' ^""^ vefv stm^whh "* ^T *° *'"= ^'"'^"^ ='"'1 ^t°°d before it. '^ ^''^ "^'^^ "° '"°^^"'-*' he spoke " See here, Maud ! She started at his touch, seemed as it were to emerge from an evil dream. some- thing so dehberately mtent that it seemed formidable His clean-shaven, weather-beaten face had an untamed, primitive look about It, as of one born in the wilderness. havedors^7n S'- " ^"^ atttp Ttf exptr ■' KVd' h '"Ti H^"' ^'"^ -^^ - gentle Ln," s LTaid. They coi Jd Tot look upon a woman with reverence ^ney could not rf,5.^ '*''°"f '^ u"*° *^^ ^°°" '" ''^^ "^other's wake, fondling a iuhe"w°o^:=''' '" '"'^"* '°°^ '•"'"°- -'» « -d Lady Brian ran to her daughter with all a girl's imoetu osity. '^" ''"'^ ^"""^'^ "- ^"-'i «P ^o Z After a distinct pause, Maud bent her long neck and co HIv kjssed her mother's expectant face. " he cried "S: you got a similar chaste salute for me"" ^^^^ u S'e ZTot VZff ""'V"^ "^^""^ ^'°'' ^ ^he stood, ner eyes shot a blue flare of open enmity at him • and— almost m spite of himself-Giles Sheppard paused ' mad S! " he suueeste H ■• ni course-I gathered that." suggested. u /°t" }^°'^-" ''^ *^^' " w J'en people take the air h'Jd sr Veyt L^: "Tt VSa L";? He was actually patronizing begtto^S^Ja T"^- """^ ""=''"«•" ^'^^ ^^' ='"'• But he fell in beside her at once. She unagmed that he never appeared in anv ES'not^^Ltrclu;^^^^ ^"^"^'^ ^^^ '-'^ *'^- though^she ferher^H ''"'' *° '"'""''.*° ^'^^ arrangement. *t • , "f.^" Srow more and more rigid as thev lighted bar and coarse voices and lomiging figures Thev ^f^n^' ''rf P "^? It was dark enough here, at least, and he^ self- confidence began to revive. He c Mne a step nearer, and laid one finger on her arm momenr'' ' '""'"'' ""y""" *° *«» ? For a space she still heard it, dim and remote as the splash of the waves on the shore ; then very softly it was blotted out. She lay in complete content unconscious of all the world, lapped in peace and blissfully Iree from the goading anxiety that usually disturbed her rest. Maud, and he ^emed to know how to get hold of me without teing he^rinn LTnd^'ai :^^y"u'K'^, S K' *'^ "f* '/"^ w£tr„? " ^ Somin' 'T'"^"" '° '^^"^«' '^"^^'^e 'lid not yield graciously Somehow she never could be gracious to ..i-e Bolton ^" 42 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE ;; I ought to go in." she said. ■• ^in Vfr f^nly^Sdi; ^ t^ ^T ^^ Jere was nothing in the worfd thaf j:^^^^^^ She made a sharp movement of protest. f ^\' ''^'", ^J'^'y *° y°"- You've never con" templated such a fool idea as marriage with me, I know • bu you go home and contemplate it- right now I Ask your^ self If you wouldn't find a husband like me less nauseatine than a step-father Uke Giles Sheppard ! httle chap wouldn't stand a better chance all round i you brought him along to me ! T ^^\^'''' heading a beenareason forme to ho L°off Yo Tmi S;r*'^ ™«J** ''^^^ scorned my offer. ^ "^'^h justice have he spoke with strong insistence "^IIJT'" *'''"«^ ^e-" your position to wan't to d Sy^J^t J^^^-g advantage of position-ifs a humiliating posi C And T \l " ''"^'^'y noprospectofdeliverance. But she was too THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE ,03 that would «a^^ty„*o:r ^" "" *""""*'»"• '"^^^^ ^P' She thought it had ceas S^ to hl,t^™ °* 'f^^ ^^^ ''«rt- how soon he woljd ^i ! and he h^a Tain^y Sd^r^o^oft LSS hlcffa^e^^^He Zw ^"^ '"""^"^ closely into her death- h:? ■ *'»1'**""8 anns that had not held her since E^wed'£^°:^- ^''"' '''' ^"^^ ^'^''^ ^"'•^^ close to'^e? You don't sup LThe m^ned you just to make a home for Bunny, do you ? " Why do vou trv Xttetofe^t'^^'^^' '- -^ •• ^'^ -^'- ^" -C^o? As a pioof of mv Boodn P« n* ou are concerned, I am going t Tmll^v^al o ST on Bunny, and it couldn't possibly take place here. She met his laughing eyes, and smiled as though in spite of herself. His mouth was rugged rather than coarse, but it was not the mouth of civihzation. „|,„K to„g„ „v« S th„ know I can I can help.' _ Zd"™ar„1rr? £f 'Sn';f''f """'• '" '^'^^^*- Bunny could not see he^ face Sh h "'f"'" *° ''"^ '^^■ to control her panting breach ^ '''""^^ desperately S ci"fh? " Bu T-h'e'^n V^' *° ^^' ''™^^" ^ he is Sone".^''^ ''''"^"*'" ^^''^ ^"""^ '"""y- " He knows ^n? "My dear, it's all settled 1 " she decided ^^tles" and I are gomg to be married, and we're all going to hve at The Anchor ' with him. Of He took his arms away from her, but he sti U keot onp of her wnsts in a strong grasp. ace in th^^ darkness, only his figure, which was shorrand%i! "h" 'I '^^ "«"'«" *''y" were just g^in Tto rem Lk'.'^Sut^X ^rr L^^^Tl Z Krefr Sc:-"^ '-'' -^ loo)cin/fof ■'erafrthe^ve i«! She sat down rather helo Sw Trom^Z"'* "°"" ""' P°^^'"« trco Sell' £ s^xt:vf£t^y=cr^i^i^--s^/;j Sn Tabo^T-""^^^'^' ^ ^''"'^'^'^ ^- ^'-"- long ^~^^t^j:^;^ —hat his again! r V"Ju.^' ' ^ ^'^"'"'^ ^'^ ^^^^ •'^'^ *° floun'defarotd she Tlf ^s!? He was hetd in «^ ^' ""^ *° '°"*' °"« accustomed to keep his e W^in h U^ «pergency. y '*'"""'"•"■ "^"^ ''^' '''»'' ''«r "^t a disadvantage ^'^Sin^rt^'Syt.^-^^.t ^? " I'm going your way " he observed May as we U see you past the b^ of ^ The of"tte day." "^ '"' ' '" "'''^ *'^^^ ^met^es a" this 2d mu^ S! She would put h m to the t« «6 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE Shft S n^a S? She did not wa„7 to "ac Uha* ^In^ desperation she paused. It was the calmest slumber she had known for manv years. The chair by his side was empty, the visitor vanished Very cautiously she bent over him. Now-with a thrill of amazement she realized it-he was undressed and lying between the sheets He was breathing very quietly, and his attitude was one of easy rest. On a chest of drawers near stjod a glass that had con- tained milk. he uuer silen^^ of the party had scarcely reached it. *5 I -°ted P" she It's T whn''^^'^ ^' "^'^ ^ gesture. " It is getting late " was pl Sv a 7P 5^°" '°"^'" •« ' " he said, and tirneit'see^e SSl Tr^^^^^^^^^ where he had "L^'J"'^'^"- ^''^^ approached the spo? " I can't take- THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE 45 what I could never repay." she said, speaking almost below her breath. We U Ioff.r ^^'^er you've It mayn't be the way you would rhn/°" ^ "^^^ °^ escape, niany worse. ^ * u"^ ^S"' *"'* *•»« wondered womarwhat he would t^wtn h'e\Z "^ f'^I 1° * '^'"^ essentially full-blooded, s Tburnlngl a Sv^' He Uf.l^ "^ sr^Kir-^ho^L^i^^^^ rotund her, and by its aid alone ^3*1^ S^^^o Th" wit? "Maud, I want you to drink this." dr Spin^g ^he TS"' '"' "^^ ^"^" °' •"'* *«" Then again came Jake's voice, quite courteous hi,t extremely d^ided. She is half-dead with cold." ^ ' "Manrf I'^T'',.^^''! siri-s s io6 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE her with bis sharp eyes under their shaggy brows with just the look of a terrier on the hunt. " _ She leaned slowly back in her chair, and met his eves X am quite willing to be friends," she said. I told you definitely long ago that I could never marry you. " Yet, you know, you are unjust to me — always were. So if it i64 THE HUNDREDTH CHANCE comes to that, will you let it be done at the Castle ? " You are going to be friends with me," said Saltash, with pleased conviction. " If j'ou don't suggest— im- possible things," she Siiid.

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