the salt fresh smell did her good, and Bulmer, amidst its slowly
budding woods and dreary moors, and long dark winters, had been
anything but bright. Yet she felt very unhappy and lonely. Her
mother seemed a great deal farther away than she had done when
Vere had sat dreaming about her on the side of the rough heathered
hills, with the herons calling across from one marshy pool to another.
She leaned against the green blind and ceased to see the sea and
the sky, the beach and the butterflies, for a little while, her tears
were so full under her lashes, and she did her best to keep them
back. She was full of pain because her mother did not care for
her; but, indeed, why should she care? said Vere to herself; they
had been so little together.
She looked, almost without seeing it at first, at the picture
underneath her; the stream, which gradually swelled and grew
larger, of beautifully dressed fairy-like women, whose laughter
every now and then echoed up to her. It was one unbroken
current of harmonious colour, rolled out like a brilliant riband on
the fawn-coloured sand against the azure sea.
" And have they all nothing to do but to enjoy themselves ? "
thought Vere. It seemed so. If Black Care were anywhere at
Trouville, as it was everywhere else in the world, it took pains to
wear a face like the rest and read its " Figaro."
She heard the door underneath unclose, and from underneath
the green verandah she saw her mother saunter out. Three other
ladies were with her and half a dozen men. They were talking
and laughing all at once, no one waiting to be listened to or seem¬
ing to expect it; they walked across the beach and sat down.
They put up gorgeous sunshades and outspread huge fans: they
were all twitter, laughter, colour, mirth.
All this going to and fro of gay people, the patter of feet and
flutter of petticoats, amused the girl to watch almost as much as
if she had been amidst it. There were such a sparkle of sea, such
a radiance of sunshine, such a rainbow of colour, that though it would
have composed ill for a landscape, it made a pretty panorama.
Vere watched it, conjecturing in a youthful fanciful ignorant
way all kinds of things about the persons who seemed so happy
there. When she had gazed for about twenty minutes, making
her eyes 'ache and getting tired, one of them especially attracted
her attention by the way in which people all turned after him as
he passed, and the delight that his greeting appeared to cause those
with whom he lingered. He was a man of such remarkable
personal beauty that this alone might have been reason enough
for the eager welcome of the listless ladies; but there was even a
greater charm in his perfect grace of movement and vivacity and
airy ease: he stayed little time with any one; but wherever he
loitered a moment appeared to be the centre of all smiles. She
did not know that he was her admirer of the noonday, who had
looked at her as he had sauntered along in his bathing shroud and