Sir Tom Part 25
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"What young lady?" To suppose for a moment that Jock did not know who was meant would be ridiculous, of course; but, for some reason which he did not explain even to himself, this was the reply he made.
"My dear Jock, there was but one," said MTutor, with much friendliness.
"At your age you do not take much notice of the other s.e.x, and that is very well and right; but still it would be wrong to imagine that there is not something interesting in girls occasionally. I did not make her out. She was quite a study to me at the theatre. I am afraid the greater part of the performance, and all the most meritorious portion of it, was thrown away upon her; but still there were gleams of interest. She is not without intelligence, that is clear."
"You mean Bice," said Jock, with a certain dogged air which Mr.
Derwent.w.a.ter had seldom seen in him before, and did not understand. He spoke as if he intended to say as little as was practicable, and as if he resented being made to speak at all.
"Bice--ah! like Dante's Bice," said MTutor. "That makes her more interesting still. Though it is not perhaps under that aspect that one represents to oneself the Bice of Dante--_ben son, ben son, Beatrice._ No, not exactly under that aspect. Dante's Bice must have been more grand, more imposing, in her dress of crimson or dazzling white."
Jock made no response. It was usual for him to regard MTutor devoutly when he talked in this way, and to feel that no man on earth talked so well. Jock in his omnivorous reading knew perhaps Dante better than his instructor, but he had come to the age when the mind, confused in all its first awakening of emotions, cannot talk of what affects it most.
The time had been at which he had discussed everything he read with whosoever would listen, and instructed the world in a child's straightforward way. At that period he had often improved Lucy's mind on the subject of Dante, telling her all the details of that wonderful pilgrimage through earth and heaven, to her great interest and wonder, as something that had happened the other day. Lucy had not in those days been quite able to understand how it was that the gentleman of Florence should have met everybody he knew in the unseen, but she had taken it all in respectfully, as was her wont. Jock, however, had pa.s.sed beyond this stage, and no longer told Lucy, or any one, stories from his reading; and other sensations had begun to stir in him which he could not put into words. In this way it was a constant admiration to him to hear MTutor, who could always, he thought, say the right thing and never was at a loss. But this evening he was dissatisfied. They were returning from the theatre by a late train, and nothing but Jock's reputation and high character as a boy of boys, high up in everything intellectual, and without reproach in any way, besides the devoted friends.h.i.+p which subsisted between himself and his tutor, could have justified Mr.
Derwent.w.a.ter in permitting him in the middle of the half to go to London to the theatre, and return by the twelve o'clock train. This privilege came to him from the favour of his tutor, and yet for the first time his tutor did not seem the superhuman being he had always previously appeared to Jock. But Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter was quite unsuspicious of this.
"There is something very much out of the way in the young lady altogether," he said. "That little black dress, fitting her like a glove, and no ornament or finery of any description. It is not so with girls in general. It was very striking--tell me----"
"I didn't think," cried Jock, "that you paid any attention to what women wore."
Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter yielded to a gentle smile. "Tell me," he said, as if he had not been interrupted, "who this young lady may be. Is she a daughter of the Italian lady, a handsome woman, too, in her way, who was with your people?" The railway carriage in which they were coursing through the blackness of the night was but dimly lighted, and it was not easy to see from one corner to another the expression of Jock's face.
"I don't know," said Jock, in a voice that sounded gruff, "I can't tell who she is--I never asked. It did not seem any business of mine."
"Old fellow," said MTutor, "don't cultivate those bearish ways. Some men do, but it's not good form. I don't like to see it in you."
This silenced Jock, and made his face flame in the darkness. He did not know what excuse to make. He added reluctantly: "Of course I know that she came with the Contessa; but who she is I don't know, and I don't think Lucy knows. She is just--there."
"Well, my boy," said Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter, "if there is any mystery, all right; I don't want to be prying;" but, as was natural, this only increased his curiosity. After an interval, he broke forth again. "A little mystery," he said, "suits them; a woman ought to be mysterious, with her long robes falling round her, and her mystery of long hair, and all the natural veils and mists that are about her. It is more poetic and in keeping that they should only have a lovely suggestive name, what we call a Christian name, instead of a commonplace patronymic, Miss So-and-so! Yes; I recognise your Bice as by far the most suitable symbol."
It is impossible to say what an amount of unexpressed and inexpressible irritation arose in the mind of Jock with every word. "Your Bice!" The words excited him almost beyond his power of control. The mere fact of having somehow got into opposition to MTutor was in itself an irritation almost more than he could bear. How it was he could not explain to himself; but only felt that from the moment when they had got into their carriage together, Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter, hitherto his G.o.d, had become almost odious to him. The evening altogether had been exciting, but uncomfortable. They had all gone to the theatre, where Jock had been prepared to look on not so much at a fine piece of acting as at a conscientious study, the laboriousness of which was one of its chief qualities. Neither the Contessa nor Bice had been much impressed by that fine view of the performance. Madame di Forno-Populo, indeed, had swept the audience with her opera-gla.s.s, and paid very little attention to the stage. She had yawned at the most important moments. When the curtain fell she had woke up, looking with interest for visitors, as it appeared, though very few visitors had come. Bice was put into the corner under shelter of the Contessa, and thence had taken furtive peeps, though without any opera-gla.s.s, with her own keen, intelligent young eyes, at the people sitting near, whom Jock had declared not to be in any sense of the word the world. Bice too looked up, when the box door opened, with great interest. She kept well in the shade, but it was evident that she was anxious to see whosoever might come. And very few people came; one or two men who came to pay their respects to Lucy, one or two who appeared with faces of excitement and surprise to ask if it was indeed Madame di Forno-Populo whom they had seen? At these Bice from out her corner gazed with large eyes; they were not persons of an interesting kind. One of them was a Lord Somebody, who was red-faced and had an air which somehow did not suit the place in which Lucy was, and towards whom Sir Tom, though he knew him, maintained an aspect of seriousness not at all usual to his cordial countenance. Bice, it was evident, was struck with a contemptuous amaze at the appearance of these visitors. There was a quick interchange of glances between her and the Contessa with shrugs of the shoulders and much play of fans. Bice's raised eyebrows and curled lips perhaps meant--"Are those your famous friends? Is this all?" Whereas the Contessa answered deprecatingly, with a sort of "wait a little" look. Jock, who generally was pleased to stroll about the lobbies in a sort of mannish way in the intervals between the acts, sat still in his place to watch all this with a wondering sense that here was something going on in which there was a still closer interest, and to notice everything almost without knowing that he noted it, following in this respect, as in most others, the lead of his tutor, who likewise addressed himself to the supervision of everything that went on, discoursing in the meantime to Lucy about the actors' "interpretation" of the part, and how far he, Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter, agreed with their view. To Lucy, indeed, the action of the play was everything, and the intervals between tedious. She laughed and cried, and followed every movement, and looked round, hus.h.i.+ng the others when they whispered, almost with indignation. Lucy was far younger, Jock decided, than Bice or even himself. He, too, had learned already--how had he learned it?--that the play going on upon the stage was less interesting than that which was being performed outside. Even Jock had found this out, though he could not have told how. Shakespeare, indeed, was far greater, n.o.bler; but the excitement of a living story, the progress of events of which n.o.body could tell what would come next, had an interest transcending even the poetry. That was what people said, Jock was aware, in novels and other productions; but until to-night he never believed it was true.
And then there was the journey from town, with all the curious sensation of parting at the theatre doors, and returning from that s.h.i.+ning world of gaslight, and ladies' dresses, into the dimness of the railway, the tedious though not very long journey, the plunging of the carriage through the blackness of the night; and along with these the questions of Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter, so unlike him, so uncalled-for, as Jock could not help thinking. What had he to do with Bice? What had any one to do with her? So far as she belonged to any one, it was to himself, Jock; her first friend, her companion in her walks, he to whom she had spoken so freely, and who had told her his opinion with such simplicity. When Jock remembered that he had told her she was not pretty his cheeks burned.
There had stolen into his mind, he could not tell how, a very different feeling now--not perhaps a different opinion. When he reflected it did not seem to him even now that pretty was the word to use--but the impression of Bice which was in his mind was something that made the boy thrill. He did not understand it, nor could he tell what it was. But it made him quiver with resentment when there was any question about her--anything like this cold-blooded investigation which Mr.
Derwent.w.a.ter had attempted to make. It troubled Jock all the more that it should be MTutor who made it. When our G.o.d, our model of excellence, comes down from his high state to anything that is petty, or less than perfect, how sore is the pang with which we acknowledge it. "To be wroth with those we love doth work like madness in the brain." Jock had both these pangs together. He was angry because MTutor had been interfering with matters in which he had no concern, and he was pained because MTutor had condescended to ask questions and invite gossip, like the smaller beings well enough known in the boy-world as in every other, who make gossip the chief object of their existence. Could there be anything in the idol of his youth akin to these? He felt sore and disappointed, without knowing why, with a dim consciousness that there were many other people whom Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter might have inquired about without awakening any such feelings in him. When the train stopped, and they got out, it was strange to walk down the silent, midnight streets by MTutor's side, without the old sensation of pleasure with which the boy felt himself made into the man's companion. He was awakened out of his maze of dark and painful feelings by the voice of Derwent.w.a.ter calling upon him to admire the effect of the moonlight upon the river as they crossed the bridge. For long after that scene remained in Jock's mind against a background of mysterious shadows and perplexity. The moon rode in the midst of a wide clearing of blue between two broken banks of clouds. She was almost full, and approaching her setting. She shone full upon the river, sweeping from side to side in one flood of silver, broken only by a few strange little blacknesses, the few boats, like houseless stragglers out by night and without shelter, which lay here and there by a wharf or at the water's edge. The scene was wonderfully still and solemn, not a motion to be seen either on street or stream.
"How is it, do you think," said Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter, "that we think so little of the sun when it is he that lights up a scene like this, and so much of the moon?"
Jock was taken by surprise by this question, which was of a kind which his tutor was fond of putting, and which brought back their old relations instantaneously. Jock seemed to himself to wake up out of a strange inarticulate dream of displeasure and embarra.s.sment, and to feel himself with sudden remorse, a traitor to his friend. He said, faltering: "I don't know; it is always you that finds out the a.n.a.logies.
I don't think that my mind is poetical at all."
"You do yourself injustice, Jock," said Derwent.w.a.ter, his arm within that of his pupil in their old familiar way. And then he said: "The moon is the feminine influence which charms us by showing herself clearly as the source of the light she sheds. The sun we rarely think of at all, but only of what he gives us--the light and the heat that are our life.
Her," he pointed to the sky, "we could dispense with, save for the beauty of her."
"I wish," said Jock, "I could think of anything so fine. But do you think we could do without women like that?" said the inquiring young spirit, ready to follow with his bosom bare whithersoever this refined philosophy might lead.
"You and I will," said the instructor. "There are grosser and there are tamer spirits to whom it might be different. I would not wrong you by supposing that you, my boy, could ever be tempted in the gross way; and I don't think you are of the b.u.t.terfly dancing kind."
"I should rather think not!" said Jock, with a short laugh.
"Then, except as a beautiful object, setting herself forth in conscious brightness, like that emblem of woman yonder," said MTutor with a wave of his hand, admiring, familiar, but somewhat contemptuous, towards the moon, "what do we want with that feminine influence? Our lives are set to higher uses, and occupied with other aims."
Jock was perfectly satisfied with this profession of faith. He went along the street with his tutor's arm in his, and a vague elation as of something settled and concluded upon in his mind. Their footsteps rang upon the pavement with a manly tramp as they paced away from the light on the bridge into the shadow of the old houses with their red roofs.
They had gone some way before, being above all things loyal, Jock thought it right to put in a proviso. "Not intellectually, perhaps," he said, "but I can't forget how much I owe to my sister. I should have been a most forlorn little wretch when I was a child, and I shouldn't be much now, but for Lucy standing by me. It's not well to forget that, is it, sir? though Lucy is not at all clever," he added in an undertone.
"You are a loyal soul," said MTutor, with a pressure of his arm, "but Woman does not mean our mothers and sisters." Here he permitted himself a little laugh. "It shows me how much inferior is my position to that of your youth, my dear boy," he said, "when you give me such an answer.
Believe me it is far finer than anything you suppose me to be able to say."
Jock did not know how to respond to this speech. It half angered, half pleased him, but on the whole he was more ashamed of the supposed youthfulness than satisfied with the approbation. No one, however young, likes the imputation of innocence; and Jock had feelings rising within him of which he scarcely knew the meaning, but which made him still more sensible of the injustice of this view. He was too proud, however, to explain himself even if he had been able to do so, and the little way that remained was trodden in silence. The boy, however, could not help a curious sensation of superiority as he went to his room through the sleeping-house, feeling the stillness of the slumber into which he stole, treading very quietly that he might not disturb any one. He stopped for a moment with a candle in his hand and looked down the long pa.s.sage with its line of closed doors on each side, holding his breath with a half smile of sympathy, respect for the hush of sleep, yet keen superiority of life and emotion over all the unconscious household. His own brain and heart seemed tingling with the activity and tumult of life in them. It seemed to him impossible to sleep, to still the commotion in his mind, and bring himself into harmony with that hushed atmosphere and childish calm.
Easter was very early that year, about as early as Easter can be, and there was in Jock's mind a disturbing consciousness of the holidays, and the manner in which he was likely to spend them, which no doubt interfered to a certain extent with his work. He ought to have been first in the compet.i.tion for a certain school prize, and he was not. It was carried off to the disappointment of Jock's house, and, indeed, of the greater part of the school, by a King's scholar, which was the fate of most of the prizes. Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter was deeply cast down by this disappointment. He expressed himself on the subject indeed with all the fine feeling for which he was distinguished. "The loss of a distinction," he said, "is not in itself a matter to disturb us; but I own I should be sorry to think that you were failing at all in that intellectual energy which has already placed you so often at the head of the lists--that, my dear fellow, I should unfeignedly regret; but not a mere prize, which is nothing." This was a very handsome way of speaking of it; but that MTutor was disappointed there could be no doubt. To Jock himself it gave a keen momentary pang to see his own name only third in that beadroll of honour; but so it was. The holidays had all that to answer for; the holidays, or rather what they were to bring. When he thought of the Hall and the company there, Jock felt a certain high tide in his veins, an awakening of interest and antic.i.p.ation which he did not understand. He did not say to himself that he was going to be happy. He only looked forward with an eager heart, with a sense of something to come, which was different from the routine of ordinary life. MTutor after many hindrances and hesitations was at last going to accept the invitation of Sir Tom, and accompany his pupil. This Jock had looked forward to as the greatest of pleasures. But somehow he did not feel so happy about it now. He did not seem to himself to want Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter.
In some ways, indeed, he had become impatient of Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter. Since that visit to the theatre, involuntarily without any cause for it, there had commenced to be moments in which MTutor was tedious. This sacrilege was unconscious, and never yet had been put into words; but still the feeling was there; and the beginning of any such revolution in the soul must be accompanied with many uneasinesses. Jock was on the stroke, so to speak, of seventeen. He was old for his age, yet he had been almost childish too in his devotion to his books, and the subjects of his school life. The last year had introduced many new thoughts to his mind by restoring him to the partial society of his sister and her house; but into these new subjects he had carried the devotion of his studious habits and the enthusiasm of his disciples.h.i.+p, transferring himself bodily with all his traditions into the new atmosphere. But a change somehow had begun in him, he could not tell how. He was stirred beyond the lines of his former being--sentiments, confusions of spirit quite new to him, were vaguely fermenting, he could not tell how; and school work, and prizes, and all the emulations of sixth form had somehow tamed and paled. The colour seemed to have gone out of them. And the library of MTutor, that paradise of thought, that home of conversation, where so many fine things used to be said--that too had palled upon the boy's uneasy soul. He felt as if he should prefer to leave everything behind him,--books and compositions and talk, and even MTutor himself. Such a state of mind is sure to occur some time or other in a boy's experiences; but in this case it was too early, and Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter, who was very deeply devoted to his pupils, was much exercised on the subject. He had lost Jock's confidence, he thought. How had he lost his confidence? was it that some other less wholesome influence was coming in? Thus there were feelings of discomfort between them, hesitations as to what to say, instinctive avoidance of some subjects, concealed allusions to others. It might even be said that in a very refined and superior way, such as was alone possible to such a man, Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter occasionally talked at Jock. He talked of the pain and grief of seeing a young heart closed to you which once had been open, and of the poignant disappointment which arises in an elder spirit when its spiritual child--its disciple--gets beyond its leading. Jock, occupied with his own thoughts, only partially understood.
It was in this state of mind that they set out together, amid all the bustle of breaking up, to pay their promised visit. Jock, who up to this moment had hated London, and looked with alarm upon society, had eagerly accepted his tutor's proposal that after the ten days which they were to spend at the Hall they should go to Normandy together for the rest of the holidays, which was an arrangement very pleasant in antic.i.p.ation.
But by this time neither of the two was at all anxious to carry it out.
Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter had begun to talk of the expediency of giving a little attention to one's own country. "We are just as foolish as the ignorant ma.s.ses," he said, "though we think ourselves so wise. Why not Devons.h.i.+re instead of Normandy? it is finer in natural scenery. Why not London instead of Paris? there is no spell in mere going, as the ignorant say 'abroad.'" When you come to think of it, in just the same proportion as one is superior to the common round of gaping British tourists, by going on a walking tour in Normandy, one is superior to the walkers in Normandy by choosing Devons.h.i.+re.
These remarks were preliminary to the intention of giving up the plan altogether, and by the time they set out it was tacitly understood that this was to be the case. It was to be given up--not for Devons.h.i.+re. The pair of friends had become two--they were to do each what was good in his own eyes. Jock would remain "at home," whether that home meant the Hall or Park Lane, and Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter, after his week's visit, should go on--where seemed to him good.
There was a considerable party gathered in the inner drawing-room when Jock and his companion presented themselves there. The scene was very different from that to which Jock had been accustomed, when the tea-table was a sort of fireside adjunct to the warmth and brightness centred there. Now the windows were full of a clear yellow sky, s.h.i.+ning a little shrilly after rain, and promising in its too-clear and watery brightness more rain to come; and many people were about, some standing up against the light, some lounging in the comfortable chairs, some talking together in groups, some hanging about Lucy and her tea service.
Lucy said, "Oh, is it you, Jock?" and kissed him, with a look of pleasure; but she had not run out to meet him as of old. Lucy, indeed, was changed, perhaps more evidently changed than any member of the family. She was far more self-possessed than she had ever been before.
She did not now turn to her husband with that pretty look, half-smiling, half-wistful, to know how she had got through her domestic duties. There was a slight air of hurry and embarra.s.sment about her eyes. The season had not begun, and she could not have been overdone by her social duties; but something had aged and changed her. Some old acquaintances came forward and shook hands with Jock; and Sir Tom, when he saw who it was, detached himself from the person he was talking to, and came forward and gave him a sufficiently cordial welcome. The person with whom he was talking was the Contessa. She was in her old place in the room, the comfortable sofa which she had taken from Lady Randolph, and where Sir Tom, leaning upon the mantelpiece, as an Englishman loves to do, could talk to her in the easiest of att.i.tudes. Jock, though he was not discerning, thought that Sir Tom looked aged and changed too. The people in general had a tired afternoon sort of look about them. They were not like people exulting to get out of town, and out of darkness and winter weather to the fresh air and April skies. Perhaps, however, this effect was produced by the fact that looking for one special person in the a.s.sembly Jock had not found her. He had never cared who was there before. Except Lucy, the whole world was much the same to him. To talk to her now and then, but by preference alone, when he could have her to himself and n.o.body else was by, and then to escape to the library, had been the height of his desire. Now he no longer thought of the library, or even, save in a secondary way, of Lucy. He looked about for some one else. There was the Contessa, sure enough, with one man on the sofa by her side and another seated in front of her, and Sir Tom against the mantelpiece lounging and talking. She was enchanting them all with her rapid talk, with the pretty, swift movements of her hands, her expressive looks and ways. But there was no shadow of Bice about the room. Jock looked at once behind the table, where she had been always visible when the Contessa was present. But Bice was not there. There was not a trace of her among the people whom Jock neither knew nor cared to know. But everything went on cheerfully, notwithstanding this omission, which n.o.body but Jock seemed to remark. Ladies chattered softly as they sipped their tea, men standing over them telling anecdotes of this person and that, with runs of soft laughter here and there. Lucy at the tea-table was the only one who was at all isolated. She was bending over her cups and saucers, supplying now one and now another, listening to a chance remark here and there, giving an abstracted smile to the person who might chance to be next to her. What was she thinking of? Not of Jock, who had only got a smile a little more animated than the others.
Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter did not know anybody in this company. He stood on the outskirts of it, with that look of mingled conciliation and defiance which is natural to a man who feels himself overlooked. He was more disappointed even than Jock, for he had antic.i.p.ated a great deal of attention, and not to find himself n.o.body in a fas.h.i.+onable crowd.
Things did not mend even at dinner. Then the people were more easily identified in their evening clothes, exposing themselves steadily to all observers on either side of the table; but they did not seem more interesting. There were two or three political men, friends of Sir Tom, and some of a very different type who were attached to the Contessa--indeed, the party consisted chiefly of men, with a few ladies thrown in. The ladies were not much more attractive. One of them, a Lady Anastasia something, was one of the most inveterate of gossip collectors, a lady who not only provided piquant tales for home consumption, but served them up to the general public afterwards in a newspaper--the only representatives of ordinary womankind being a mother and two daughters, who had no particular qualities, and who duly occupied a certain amount of s.p.a.ce, without giving anything in return.
But Bice was not visible. She who had been so little noticed, yet so far from insignificant, where was she? Could it be that the Contessa had left her behind, or that Lucy had objected to her, or that she was ill, or that--Jock did not know what to think. The company was a strange one.
Those sedate, political friends of Sir Tom found themselves with a little dismay in the society of the lady who wrote for what she called the Press, and the gentlemen from the clubs. One of the guests was the young Marquis Montjoie, who had quite lately come into his t.i.tle and the world. He had been at school with Jock a few years before, and he recognised Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter with a curious mixture of awe and contempt.
"Hallo!" he had cried when he perceived him first, and he had whispered something to the Contessa which made her laugh also. All this Jock remarked vaguely in his uneasiness and disappointment. What was the good of coming home, he said to himself, if---- What was the use of having so looked forward to the holidays and lost that prize, and disappointed everybody, if---- There rose such a ferment in Jock's veins as had never been there before. When the ladies left the room after dinner it was he that opened the door for them, and as Lucy looked up with a smile into her brother's face she met from him a scowl which took away her breath.
Why did he scowl at Lucy? and why think that in all his life he had never seen so dull a company before? Their good things after dinner were odious to his ears; and to think, that even MTutor should be able to laugh at such miserable jokes and take an interest in such small talk!
That fellow Montjoie, above all, was intolerable to Jock. He had been quite low down in the school when he left, a being of no account, a creature called by opprobrious names, and not worthy to tie the shoes of a member of Sixth Form. But when he rattled loudly on about nothing at all, even Sir Tom did not refuse to listen. What was Montjoie doing here? When the gentlemen streamed into the drawing-room, a procession of black coats, Jock, who came last, could not help being aware that he was scowling at everybody. He met the eyes of one of those inoffensive little girls in blue, and made her jump, looking at her as if he would eat her. And all the evening through he kept prowling about with his hands in his pockets, now looking at the books in the shelves, now frowning at Lucy, who could not think what was the matter with her brother. Was Jock ill? What had happened to him? The young ladies in blue sang an innocent little duet, and Jock stared at the Contessa, wondering if she was going to sing, and if the door would open and the slim figure in the black frock come in as by a signal and place herself at the piano. But the Contessa only laughed behind her fan, and made a little pretence at applause when the music ceased, having talked all through it, she and the gentlemen about her, of whom Montjoie was one and the loudest. No, she was not going to sing. When the door opened it was only to admit the servants with their trays and the tea which n.o.body wanted. What was the use of looking forward to the holidays if---- Mr.
Derwent.w.a.ter, perhaps, had similar thoughts. He came up to Jock behind the backs of the other people, and put an uneasy question to him.
"I thought you said that Madame di Forno-Populo sang?"
"She used to," said Jock laconically.
"The music here does not seem of a high cla.s.s," said MTutor. "I hope she will sing. Italians, though their music is sensuous, generally know something about the art."
To this Jock made no reply, but hunched his shoulders a little higher, and dug his hands down deeper into his pockets.
"By the way, is the--young lady who was with Madame di Forno-Populo here no longer?" said MTutor in a sort of accidental manner, as if that had for the first time occurred to him. He raised his eyes to Jock's face, which was foolish, and they both reddened in spite of themselves; Mr. Derwent.w.a.ter with sudden confusion, and Jock with angry dismay.
"Not that I know of," said the boy. "I haven't heard anything." Then he went on hurriedly: "No more than I know what Montjoie's doing here.
What's he been asked here for I wonder? He can't amuse anybody much."
These words, however, were contradicted practically as soon as they were said by a peal of laughter which rose from the Contessa's little corner, all caused as it was evident by some pleasantry of Montjoie's.
Sir Tom Part 25
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Sir Tom Part 25 summary
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