MOLLY BAWN. 11
' How could he be your brother?'
' Step-brother, then,' says Molly unwillingly. * I will
acknowledge it for this once only. But never again, mind,
as he is dearer to me than half a dozen real brothers. You
like him very much, don't you ?' examining him anxiously.
' You must, to take the trouble to come all the way down
here to see him.'
'I do indeed, more than I can say,' replies the young
man, with wise heartiness that is yet unfeigned. ' He has
stood to me too often in the old school-days to allow of my
ever forgetting him. I would go farther than Morley to
meet him, after a lengthened absence such as mine has been.'
' India ?' suggests Molly blandly.
' Yes.' Here they both pause, and Molly's eyes fall on
her imprisoned hand. She is so evidently bent on being
again ungenerous that Luttrell forces himself to break silence,
with the mean object of distracting her thoughts.
' Is it at this hour you usually "take your walks abroad " ?'
he asks smoothly.
' Oh, no,' laughing,' you must not think that. To-night
there was an excuse for me. And if there is blame in the
matter you must take it. But for your slothfulness, your
tardiness, your unpardonable laziness,' spitefully, ' my tem¬
per would not have driven me forth.'
' But,' reproachfully, ' you do not ask the cause of my
delay. How would you like to be first inveigled into taking
a rickety vehicle in the last stage of dissipation and then
deposited by that vehicle, without an instant's warning, upon
your mother earth ? For my part.[ didn't like it at all.'
' I'm so sorry,' says Molly sweetly, ' Did all that really
happen to you, and just while I was abusing you with all my
might and main ? I think I shall have to be very good to
you to make up for it,'
' I think so too,' says Luttrell gravely, ' My ignominious
break-down was nothing in comparison with a harsh word
thrown at me by you. I feel a deep sense of injury upon me.'
'It all comes of our being, in what the papers caU "poor
circumstances,"' says Molly lightly. ' Now, when I marry,
and you come to see me, I shall send a carriage, and a spirited
pair of greys to meet you at the station. Think of that.'
' I won't,' says Luttrell; ' because I don't believe I would
care to see you at all, when—you are married.' Here, with