166 MOLLY BAWN.
what a shame to waste such a charming bit of colour upon
me ! Keep it for dessert.'
' How wiU Sir Penthony like Mr. Lowry's close proxi¬
mity ?' Molly asks presently, when she has confessed a few
interesting Uttle facts to her friend.
' I hope he won't like it. If I thought I could make
him jealous I would flirt with poor Talbot under his nose,'
says Cecil, with eloquent vulgarity. ' I feel spitefuUy towards
him somehow, although our separation was my own con¬
' Have you a headache, dear ?' Seeing her put her hand
to her head.
' A slight one—I suppose from the nerves, I think I
wiU lie down for an hour or two before commencing the
important task of arming for conquest. And—are you
going out, Molly? WiU you gather me a few fresh
flowers—anything white—for my hair and the bosom of my
' I wiU,' says MoUy; and, having made her comfortable
with pillows and perfumes, leaves her to her siesta.
'Anything white.' MoUy travels the gardens up and
down in search of all there is of the loveUest. Little rose¬
buds fresh, though late, and dainty bells, with sweet-scented
geraniums and drooping heaths. A pui-e and innocent
Yet surely it lacks something—a little fleck of green, to
throw out its virgin fairness. Above, high over her head, a
creeping rose-bush grows, bedecked with palest, juiciest leaves.
Reaching up her hand to gather one of the taller
branches, a mote, a bit of b..rk—some hateful thing—falls
into Molly's right eye. Instant agony is the result. Tears
stream from the offended pupil; the other eye joins in the
general tribulation; and Molly, standing in the centre of
the grass-plot, with her handkerchief pressed frantically to
her face, and her lithe body swaying sUghtly to and fro
through force of pain, looks the very personification of woe.
So thinks PhUip Shadwell as, coming round the comer,
he unperceived approaches.
' What is it ?' he asks, trying to see her face, his tones
absolutely trembling from agitation ou her behalf, ' MoUy,
you are in trouble. Can I do anything for you ?'