Chapter 31185266

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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1907-12-17
Page Number6
Word Count1891
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Age
Trove TitleFate and Patricia
article text Tat and& ~ŽPatricla. BY ALICE GRANT ROSMAN. pJublished by Special ?aingenment. -. .:. ".. -. , . . CHAPTER XI. .(Continued.) She was no longer afraid of the cold that threatened 'her, for'Walter had told her of a sure preventive, and she felt a blind faith in anything he might suggest. .While he talked to her of his work she listened eagerly, noting with her quick insight his splendid grasp of the subject before him, his clear understanding and great knowledge. She wondered why she had neyer dis covered he was clever, and supposed it was because his nature wa?'ou'twardly"so gay and careless 'and stperficial' and she wondered if this were. not l'ather a marvellous cleverness, that- imad of it-' self a thing apart, and had no place in the intercourse of every day. She began to prophesy and hope great things for him in the coming examinations; "and then it flashed upon. her what that might mean. "And then,!" she said, " you won't come to the hills any more, oice the exams are over arid you are a full-fledged doctor 1" " Shan't I ?" laughed the young man gaily. " I should like to see anyone keep me away. Of course, after a bit, if I have any luck, I'll be resident at one of the hospitals for a year ; but even then I shall come up whenever I've half a show. You see, I have no home near enough to'claim me, so you will let nie come and 'see you sometimes, Miss Patricia, 'won't you ? I'm a solitary kind of chap.' 'But I'm not going away from the hills yet, you know. I shall be up next Sunday, and' when the exams are over I shall take a week off up here With Anderson: I reckon I shall deserve it.": Even his calm self-satisfaction did not jar upon Patricia in this strange, .new mood of hers, and she led him on to talk of his hopes and plans till they found themselves at the Heriot's gates. " Why, here we are already," said Walter, opening it for her; and she passed through into the garden, .still like one in "i dream. They did riot speak again for several minutes, but went on silently, and:.every 'now and' then he would put out a protecting arm to'steady her, and they' wouldlook at-eachh othiir and laugh a little out.of sheer, exultant youthful happiness, The brightly lighted windows of the Antimacassar House sent them a. warm welcome through the rain, and as they drew nearer they could hear a' sound of music, and Kitty singing. . At first her words came to them fitfully through the rising and falling of the wind; but little by little the clear, deep notes and won derful cadences rose above it, ' and they heard the words distinctly. On the verandah they lingered, ,both reluctant to go in; but only Walter put the reluctance into words. " It would be a pity to interrupt the" singing, wouldn't it ?" he said ; and they' both laughed softly again. . With their backs pressed hard against. the wall and the rain beating i~iat their: feet they stood:like ,a pair. of.: children gazing into the storm.' G?adually night was falling, and above them the black hills, wrapped in white rain mists, towered to the darkening, weeping sky Upon the roof o'f the' house 'the "rain-: drops playdd their ceaseless music-pi an-is-s-simo, cres-cendo, fort-i-simo and' unconsciously to their, accompani-' ment Kitty sang. To Patricia the air was electric. Be hind her the afternoon's emotions lay like vague, impalpable things that had come to her in a dream, and had so de parted, leaving behind them a marvellous happiness. Even that great terror had been but a nightmare after all, and Wal ter had'come'ini,his gay way to .awaken her from it, and show her the. thappiness that awaited her. Not that this sur prised her in the least-she thought she could remember" its happenings tines and. times before.: Apd that long' avenue of gums, with; the tamin.falling ,and'" falling. upon it-she lii?ew thlat theey lihad beeni travelling it f'or ages'togetheli'r. or could she feel any surprise that thiey were standing here watching. the -storm, for so had they leeri standinig all 'tleir lives it seemed to her. And then he ?o'ke. " By Jove. I· it we," he said? 'ITlahe first time I came here it was` wet, Miss Patricia; 'do yof remember? And the sun came ont on the, gum leaves anid made them sparkle. We were looking at them when the door opened, and we turn'id and saw you. They mi'glt have been the words of a lover to ordinary ears, for they were ar dent enough and deeply admiring e nough: 'But Patricia's ears were attuned to the strong .passions and powerful feelings of h?'m wn nature; and, there fore she kniw d~tlerwise.. If Walter Hunt were in love with Pa tricia Heridt he had notyet, realized the fact; nor w'ould he ever realize it niiless it suited the conditions of his life, for that was hiis nature, and always senti mental and human considerations would be sacrificed to the requirements of- his career. Patricia did not know this, but of a sudden she wakened to the fact that the. deep emotions stirring her had not toilched him even vaguely, and that for him this occision held nothing of special significanice. She had understood her blind happiness so gradually that the discovery was a shock to her, and through the depression and mental tu mult it occasioned she at length became conscious of physical weariness and cold. " The singing has stopped," she said, in a matter-of-fact way, " and if we don't go in we shall both have frightful colds. I'll go round through the library and open the door. You would not know your way in the dark, but I am used to it." .,, She left him, but he followed laughing ly. '" I'm coming too," he said, " I know you're afraid' of the dark'; girls always are, and I'am one of those useful male animals, a smoker, and therefore carry matches." He opened the French window and followed her through, striking matches as he went to show the way. Ida, hearing their steps, came into the hall to meet "them, and stood and laughed at their ridieulous plight. "Patricia ! Mr. Hunt l you terrible people she exclaimed,. " we thought you had taken shelter somewhere, Patty. Have you been enacting knight errant, Mr. Hunt, and rescuing distressed dam sels from the storm 1" "Nro, Miss Heriot rescued me," de clared Walter. "She found me miles away on a lonely road and brought me home." - ' Yes, and lent you my overcoat, didn't I?" laughed Patricia, taking it off. "I.was right up by Riley's Gully, Ida, when the rain began, and if Mr. .Hunt had not come along and lent me his overcoat I should have been drowned, I am sure.", She stood in the centre of the hall, shaking the water from her hat. The had flushed her cheeks healthi ly, and drops of rain sparkled and clung to the little tendrils of her hair. " And now you are to change your things at once, isn't she, Miss Ida l" said Walter, in a masterful'tone. He thought that Patricia looked more beau tiful than ever, and it pleased him to think, that he had been of service to her. He put a'critical hand . upon her damp sleeve, and pretended to wring the water from it. "If you don't change that at once," he threatened, shaking a finger at her, "You'll catch-well I'll spare you the details, but 'I shall not. budge an inch until you' have taken off your damp" thinigs, Miss Patricia, and if I don't budge pretty soon I shall catch all kinds of things myself." " How terrible," murmured Patricia, laughing in her old way. " Then I must certainly hurry," and she ran off to her room. She looked a little pale'when she came back, and even Walter noticed it as he bade the others goodby and prepared 'to go.' He said he knew she'must be very. tired after the long walk through the rain,' and hoped she would soon be rested. Then; with conventional thanks for all he had done for her, she went with: him to. the door. Her emotions were still topsy turvy, and she found it difficult to disen tangle them, but she was conscious through everything ,of :a..sense. qf loss that she was unable to explain. Against all reason. and knowing it to-be so, she felt that Walter Hunt should not have gone away so soon, in spite of his damp clothes and the forthcoming examination. And then of a sudden she discovered that his eyes were fixed ardently. upon her, and that he was, holding her hand. She drew it away with an hysterical de sire to laugh, and an equally hysterical desire to. know' how. long he had been holding'it, but fortunately he was too mirth preoccupied to notice this. ?.?,~· 'ot. wish? me good luck," he sai, '.'for my success to-morrow, Miss Patricia . -_ The door was open, :and they could hear the steady sh-sh-sh- of -the rain ipon the roof. After' th light within;, the outer, world was quite dark now, and vwhen dlie spoke 'Patricia ans gazing 'ut into the blackness as though she would penetrate it. - )Ohl I do," she said, smiling down at him; You will come out splendidly, I knoiv. You must--if only 'to prove what a good prophet I am." S'Is it a prophecy ? How good and dear'of you, Miss Patricia. :You shall be iny mascotte, if you will. With you for my masecotte I am:not sure but that Scorild'conquer wiorlds" He had seized her hand agaiil, and was pressing it with such boyish gaiety and friendliness., that she could only laugh and let it lie passively in his. An'd then after a while he reluctanitly': re leased her, and, bidding her goodby, set off into the night. , She watchid him for a little while. but soon the dgrkness threw black arms about him, and she could see him no longer, though she still stood listening, to 'the tramp of his feet on the wet, dead leaves of.the garden. : He walked'briskly and.whistled as'he went, and when he reached the gate and saw the broad stream of light shining out through the open doorway he smiled in pleased satisfaction, ,knowing thpt she still looked afer him. How kind and charming she had been to him to-day, he thought, and won dered what had made her so. Perhaps it was because he had been able to be of use to her at the right moment. He did not know ; but, after all, what did it matter? He had always known that some day she would give him her favour, even though she had with-held it at the first. And why not now ? . He smiled and whistled softly again as he went on up the road. In imagina tion he saw Patricia still standing in the lighted doorway looking after him. But Patricia had closed the door and gone inside. .