round pebble which she gave to Deedy as a present from the hippogriff. Deedy flung it back into the water.
鈥淲hy, Deedy, you鈥檙e crying!鈥?
鈥淚 hate you. 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇鐢佃瘽 You鈥檙e ugly.鈥?
Annette became conscious that the child was staring at her body. She blushed, hastily snatched up her clothes and ran away behind an elder-bush. All her joy had vanished and her thoughts were filled with the whisperings of the little girls at the school in Edinburgh. It was part of the delight 鏉窞妗戞嬁浣撻獙of her life here in Westmoreland that all such griminess had been left behind. She was so hurt in the sudden loss of her joy that she could not think nor make any effort to understand. All her thought was to get away as quickly as possible, to get away from Deedy. She dressed rapidly, wound up her hair, wet as it was, and in absolute silence hurried home with Deedy.
In the house she found two letters waiting her, one from her mother, one from Minna, both announcing the same thing, Gertrude鈥檚 engagement to Bennett Lawrie. Mrs.鏉窞娲楁荡鐨勫湴鏂? Folyat wrote:
鈥淢y dear, he is a very earnest and worthy young man and he simply adores Gertrude. He is in business in a very large firm. He is a gentleman. His grandfather was a Scotch minister, and his grandmother was the daughter of a laird. Gertrude is very happy. They fell in love over some theatricals 鏉窞鍝佽尪涓婅寰俊缇?they did in the school-room. Everybody said he was much better than any professional. Frederic brought him to the house. Frederic has such nice friends. Your father has built a greenhouse out in the back garden. The engagement is not to be announced for a year as it will be some time before they can afford to marry. I hope you are attending to your duties and giving all satisfaction to dear Mrs. Fender . . .
鈥淒ear Annette. Fancy! Mother Bub is engaged, and Mottle-tooth is green with envy. He is like a 鏉窞瑗挎箹闃佹渶鏂?shorn lamb, and Mother Bub will eat him cutlet by cutlet, with little paper frills round them. He鈥檚 a clerk in an office and his father鈥檚 a drunkard, and when he stays too late an old Scotch servant comes and fetches him away. He鈥檚 about thirty-nine years younger than Bub, but she couldn鈥檛 face the thirties鈥攐r is it the forties? Serge is very funny about it. Ma is very excited and romantical. Pa hasn鈥檛 said a word, and I鈥檓 not sure even that he knows. I rather like the Lamb, myself, and he is rather beautiful. I suppose if Bub goes off and Mottle-tooth and me, there鈥檒l be room for you at home. Someone will have to look after Ma . . .鈥?
Minna鈥檚 flippancy rather offended Annette. Hardly having been at home
for so many years she had many delightful fictions about the house in Fern Square. She regarded its inmates as a united and happy 鏉窞婊ㄦ睙kj鐨勫湴鏂?family, and herself as the only outcast. It was Home to her, and she enveloped it with all the unreal emotions roused in vast audiences by Madame Patti with her rendering of the famous song. She was touched by the very thought of love and pictured Gertrude radiant and all the house glowing with the happiness of this new event. The poverty of the young man only made it all the mor