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      There was a veritable scene of triumph at the end of the third act, and whilst the curtain was raised for the second time Countess Lalage and her companion returned. They strolled into the box with the calm air of people quite accustomed to this sort of thing; they might have been merely flirting outside.Balmayne shrugged his shoulders.

      There was a smell of tobacco in his room and a vision of Lawrence with his heels on the mantelpiece smoking a cigarette. He was looking at a paragraph in an early edition of the Globe that seemed to give him satisfaction.

      I said that entering the cool shade of the Sessions grove after the blazing heat of that long lane gave any one the right to a little shudder, and as we turned toward the house Gholson murmured "If you say you'll speak to Ned as I've asked you, I'll sort o' toll Squire Sessions off with me so's to give you the chance. It's for his own sake, you know, and you're the only one can do it."Only for a minute, a brief respite; then she must go down to her guests again.

      [Pg 152]


      Just then entered an ordnance-sergeant, so smart in his rags that the Major's affability seemed hardly a condescension. He asked me to supper with his mess--"of staff attatchays," he said, winking one eye and hitching his mouth; at which the Major laughed with kind disapprobation, and the jocose sergeant explained as we went that that was only one of Scott Gholson's mispronunciations the boys were trying to tease him out of."Has Ned Ferry come?" was his first call. I shook my head. "Oh, thank God!" he cried with a wild gesture and sank low in the saddle; but instantly he roused again: "Oh, don't stop me, Smith; if I once stop I'm afraid I'll never get to her!"


      Fred thought he must say something, but was undecided for a moment. The room was open, and as he looked into the hall, he saw the chambermaid approaching the opposite door with the evident intention[Pg 38] of looking through the keyhole. This gave him his opportunity, and he proposed his question."It would amuse you if you could see the interest that the Japanese take in flying kites. And the funny part of it is that it is the men who do the most of the kite-flying, while the children look on, which is the exact reverse of what we do in our country. They have the funniest kinds of kites, and show a great deal of ingenuity in getting them up. Everybody has them, and they are so cheap that even the beggars can have kites to fly. They are of all sizes and shapes; you can buy a plain kite a few inches square, or you can get one as large as the side of a house, and covered all over with dragons and other things that sometimes cost a neat little sum for the painting alone. The Japanese understand the trick of flying a kite without a tail, and they do it by the arrangement of the strings, which is quite different from ours. On the other hand, some of their kites will have a whole line of strings hanging down as ornaments, and sometimes it looks as if the kite were anchored by means of these extra cords. They make their kites so large that three or four men are needed to hold some of them; and there is a story that a man who one day tied the cord of a kite to his waist was taken up in the air and never heard of[Pg 264] again. And there is another story of a man in the country who had a kite that he harnessed to a plough, and when the wind was good he used to plough his fields by means of it. But the story does not explain how he turned the furrow when he reached the end of the field. Perhaps he had an accommodating wind that shifted at the right time.


      Swiftly and jubilantly he crossed the road: at the sight of that lit blind all the awakening pangs of his heart had passed from him, even as at the sight of the nodding daffodils had passed the apathy that encompassed it before. His intolerance of his wife, the dreaminess of his purposeless existence ceased to be: on the other hand his secret garden, now that the gardener who had made it sacred was waiting for him, bloomed again in an everlasting spring. In answer to his ring, which he heard faintly tinkling inside, there came steps on the stairs, and the dark fan-light over the door leaped into brightness, as some one turned on the switch. Then the door opened, and, as he had expected, there was Charles.SPOUTS. SPOUTS.