A ]Vayside Waif. 5
meant to read Dante with Miss Marjorum directly after
breakfast; but I think I shall keep those poor things in the
second circle waiting an hour or two while I have a ramljlo
on Puck. Dear old Marjy won't mind.'
She kissed her father, and was running off', when he
' 0, by-the-bye, Lucie, I've some news for you. I had a
telegram from Lruno last night.'
' From Bruno!' she ci-ied with clasped hands, while a
lovely roseate hue crept over the alabaster fairness of her
face and throat; ' and you never told me !'
' Well, I suppose I wanted to keep this bit of news for a
pleasant surprise : only I never could keep a secret from my
girl. The telegram is from Florence, and Bruno is coming
home almost directly. He will come straight here. You
can tell Twj^ford to have his rooms got ready.'
' Almost directly !' repeated Lucille. ' What does that
mean, father ? To-day ? '
' Hardly. He was in Florence yesterday.'
' True, and Florence is at the other end of the world^a
three days' journey at least. To think of his coming home
so soon ! His last letter was so vague.'
* Will you be glad to have him at Ingleshaw ?'
' Of course I shall be glad; but I shall see very little of
him. He will be always rushing away somewhere —trout-
fishing ; or to London, or to Sevenoaks, or Tunbridge Wells.
Thank goodness the hunting is all over. He can't be riding
off at nine o'clock every morning to come home at half-past
seven, steeped in mud.'
' Make the most of him while you have him,' said her
father. ' He is a man now, and will have to take his place
in the world as the future Lord Ingleshaw.'
The girl dropped lightly on her father's knee, and nestled
her head in his bosom.
' Don't!' she cried. ' I can't bear you to talk of anybody
coming after you. God grant that Bruno's head may be as
white as snow before he is Lord Ingleshaw.'
' That would be to doom }-our father to long years of
senility. However, Bruno is in no hurry, and I am in no
hurry. He has a fair fortune, considerable talents, and I
hope he will distinguish himself as Mr. Challoner before he
is Lord Ingleshaw. And now run away and have your
ramlile. 1 sliall bo off to catch the express in half an hou;.f j
and I have to see Morley before I go.'
Morley was his lordship's land-steward and factotum.