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a sort of gentle hint

a sort of gentle hint

‘Very much so sometimes—they are very particular babies. I come to them every now and then to scold them, smack them, straighten them up, and see that they are in no danger of falling into the fire or upsetting anything. Afterwards I dine with them in order to cheer them up after the rough time they have had.’

Saxonstowe smiled. He had been watching her closely all the time.

‘I see,’ he said, ‘that you are still Sprats. Has the time been very rough to-day?’

‘Somewhat rough on poor Haidee, perhaps,’ answered Sprats. ‘Lucian has wisely kept out of the way until he can find safety in numbers. But please sit down and tell me about your travels until our hostess appears—it seems quite funny to see you all in one piece after such adventures. Didn’t they torture you in some Thibetan town?’ she inquired, with a sudden change from gaiety to womanly concern.

‘They certainly were rather inhospitable,’ he answered. ‘I shouldn’t call it torture, I think—it was{118} merely
as to what they would do if I intruded upon them again.’

‘But I want to know what they did,’ she insisted. ‘You look so nice and comfortable sitting there, with no other sign of discomfort about you than the usual I-want-my-dinner look, that one would never dream you had gone through hardships  The entire room was faced with polished granite..’

Saxonstowe was not much given to conversation—his nomadic life had communicated the gift of silence to him, but he recognised the sympathetic note in Miss Chilverstone’s voice, and he began to tell her about his travels in a somewhat boyish fashion that amused her. As he talked she examined him closely and decided that he was almost as young as on the afternoon when he occasioned such mad jealousy in Lucian’s breast. His method of expressing himself was simple and direct and schoolboyish in language, but the exuberance of spirits which she remembered had disappeared and given place to a staid, old-fashioned manner.

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