|About the Book|
an excerpt from the beginning of: CHAPTER I Miss Amabel Cathcart may not have been the sagest counsellor in the world, nor was Sir Gilbert Strachan accustomed to esteem any opinion more highly than his own- but if Amabel could not advise him at theMorean excerpt from the beginning of: CHAPTER I Miss Amabel Cathcart may not have been the sagest counsellor in the world, nor was Sir Gilbert Strachan accustomed to esteem any opinion more highly than his own- but if Amabel could not advise him at the present juncture, he knew none else who could. Mrs. Cathcart and Pauline having set forth to pay some calls, whilst Mr. Cathcart was dispensing justice as usual at one of the Metropolitan Police Courts, Amabel prepared to spend the May afternoon in her own fashion. She drew her favourite chair to the drawing room window, overlooking Gloucester Place, and sitting down in a negligent attitude, opened a new novel which she had heard was not the most suitable for a young person to read. She was in the act of turning over the fourth page when the door opened and a servant announced Sir Gilbert Strachan. Amabel rose to receive him with a sense of impatience and a bright smile of welcome. She was of less than the average height, with a slim figure. Her face was small and pale, her hair dark brown, her eyes were hazel and mischievous. I see I am disturbing you, said Sir Gilbert, hat in hand. Not the least in the world, answered Amabel. But, he continued, Mrs. Cathcart said she was going out this afternoon, and the fact is I have been wanting an opportunity to speak to you. About my sister ? she exclaimed. The question is whether I stand the slightest chance of becoming your brother, he said. I dont think you would make a bad sort of brother! Amabel retorted. And Im quite sure Pauline likes you, you know, she added, taking a chair. He unbuttoned his frock-coat and sat down with a rather solemn expression. Gilbert stood about the middle height, and there was a broad shouldered, substantial appearance about him. He had a strong, honest face, which was almost as brown as his fairish hair and short, pointed beard. Resting his hands on the top of his walking stick, he looked at Amabel. Now, perhaps, you wont mind explaining what you mean by that, he said. Dont you understand what it is to like a person? she demanded, with a characteristic lift of her eyebrows. Well, the greater includes the less, he rejoined. I have understood that for a long time, and it hasnt brought me any overwhelming satisfaction. Now, I daresay, you are kind enough to like me. I have known you so long, she said, in an apologetic tone, and I am so tolerant! Still, in spite of your — your liking, you probably wouldnt dream of marrying me! You see, the circumstances are hardly favourable. So much depends on the circumstances, cried Amabel with a laugh. Its a little humiliating to admit it, he said, but I havent the slightest doubt Pauline would have married me two years ago Only Mr. Waterhouse came, saw, and conquered ! You did not meet the fellow, Gilbert suggested. Of course not. I wasnt out, you know. Besides, I was away at the time. I want to know how things stand, he said rather abruptly- and I—well, I thought you might be able to enlighten me. Theres no doubt about one thing, Amabel answered. Pauline was most awfully fond of him. She was quite infatuated. Gilberts hands pressed more heavily on his walking-stick, and he stared for a few minutes at the carpet. Presently he looked up again— Yes, yes, but is she—does she care for the fellow still ? he asked.