MOLLY BAWN. 9
distant from the expected guest. The fates have been
A tall young man, slight and clea.n-limbed, with a well-
shaped head so closely shaven as to suggest a Newgate
barber; a long fair moustache, a long nose, a rather large
mouth, luminous azure eyes, and a complexion the sun has
vainly tried to brown, reducing it merely to a deeper flesh-
tint. On the whole it is a veiy desirable face that Mr.
Luttrell owns; and so Molly decides in her first swift glance
of pleased surprise. Yes, the fates have been more than
As for Luttrell himself, he is standing quite still, in the
middle of the garden path, staring at this living Flora. In¬
side not a word had been said about her, no mention of her
name had fallen ever so lightly into the conversation. He had
made his excuses, had received a hearty welcome; both he
and Massereene had declared themselves convinced that not
a day had gone over the head of either since last they parted.
He had bidden Mrs. Massereene good-night, and had come
out here to smoke a cigar in quietude, all without suspicion
that the house might yet contain another lovelier inmate. Is
this her favourite hour for rambling ? Is she a spirit 1 Or
a—lunatic? Yes, that must be it.
Meanwhile through the moonlight—in it — comes Molly
very slowly, a perfect creature, in trailing snowy robes.
Luttrell, forgetting the inevitable cigar—a great concession—
stands mutely regarding her as, with wai'm parted lips and a
smile, half-amused, half-wondering, she gazes back at him.
Even a plain woman may gain beauty from a moonbeam ;
what, then, must a lovely woman seem when clothed in its
pure rays ?
' You are welcome—very welcome,' says Molly at length,
in her low, soft voice.
' Thank you,' returns he mechanically, still lost in con¬
' I am not a fairy, nor a spirit, nor yet a vision,' mui'murs
Molly, now openly amused. ' Have no fear. See,' holding
out to him a slim cool hand, 'touch me, and be convinced. I
am only Molly Massereene.'
He takes the hand and holds it closely, still entranced.
Already—even though three minutes have scarcely marked
their acquaintance—he is dimly conscious that there might