"we have decided to go."
"the question is, where to?"
"it ought to be to london. there one can live as one chooses."
"no--not london, dear! i know it well. we should be unhappy there."
"can't you think?"
"because arabella is there?"
"that's the chief reason."
"yes, she is brave," was the reluctant answer for sheldon did not feel disposed to talk about her.
"that's the american of it," tudor went on. "push, and go, and energy, and independence. what do you think, skipper?"
"i think she is young, very young, only a girl," replied the captain of the minerva, continuing to stare into the blackness that hid the sea.
the blackness seemed suddenly to increase in density, and they stumbled up the beach, feeling their way to the gate.
"watch out for nuts," sheldon warned, as the first blast of the squall shrieked through the palms.
"i'm pretty tired," admitted trot, yawning as she followed the straw man along a tiny path, "so, if you don't find a house handy, cap'n bill and i will sleep under the trees, or even on this soft grass."
but a house was not very far off, although when the scarecrow stumbled upon it there was no light in it whatever. cap'n bill knocked on the door several times, and there being no response the scarecrow boldly lifted the latch and walked in, followed by the others. and no sooner had they entered than a soft light filled the room.
"oo must come and sit among them, sylvie," he said in despair, "i've put these two side-by-side, with their noses the same way, ever so many times, but they do squarrel so!"
so sylvie took her place as 'mistress of the ceremonies,' and bruno vanished again behind the scenes, to dress for the first 'bit.'
"hamlet!" was suddenly proclaimed, in the clear sweet tones i knew so well. the croaking all ceased in a moment, and i turned to the stage, in some curiosity to see what bruno's ideas were as to the behaviour of shakespeare's greatest character.
he flung himself down on the sofa and turned away his face. "you have killed my love," he muttered.
she looked at him in wonder and laughed. he made no answer. "and you're not ashamed of having said 'really, miss tarleton.'"
"why should i?"
"o man, man! mean, stupid, cowardly, selfish masculine male man! you ought to have been a governess. i was expelled from school for saying that the very next person that said 'really, miss tarleton,' to me, i would strike her across the face. you were the next."
"i had no intention of being offensive. surely there is nothing that can wound any lady in--[he hesitates, not quite convinced]. at least--er--i really didnt mean to be disagreeable."
she wept silently, and made no answer, but crept nearer. her little hands stretched blindly out, and appeared to be seeking for him. he turned on his heel and left the room. in a few moments he was out of the theatre.
where he went to he hardly knew. he remembered wandering through dimly lit streets, past gaunt, black-shadowed archways and evil-looking houses. women with hoarse voices and harsh laughter had called after him. drunkards had reeled by, cursing and chattering to themselves like monstrous apes. he had seen grotesque children huddled upon door-steps, and heard shrieks and oaths from gloomy courts.