THE WALK HOME
MARY MASTERS, when Reginald Morton had turned his back upon her at the bridge, was angry with herself and with him, which was reasonable; and very angry also with Larry Twentyman, which was unreasonable. As she had at once acceded to Morton's proposal that they should walk round the house together, surely he should not have deserted her so soon. It had not been her fault that the other man had come up. She had not wanted him. But she was aware that when the option had in some sort been left to herself, she had elected to walk back with Larry. She knew her own motives and her own feelings, but neither of the men would understand them. Because she preferred the company of Mr. Morton, and had at the moment feared that her sisters would have deserted her had she followed him, therefore she had declared her purpose of going back to Dillsborough, in doing which she knew that Larry and the girls would accompany her. But of course Mr. Morton would think that she had preferred the company of her recognized admirer. It was pretty well known in Dillsborough that Larry was her lover. Her stepmother had spoken of it very freely; and Larry himself was a man who did not keep his lights hidden under a bushel. 'I hope I've not been in the way, Mary,' said Mr. Twentyman, as soon as Morton was out of hearing.
'In the way of what?'
'I didn't think there was any harm in offering to go up to the house with you if you were going.'
'Who has said there was any harm?' The path was only broad enough for one, and she was walking first. Larry was following her, and the girls were behind him.
'I think that Mr. Morton is a very stuck-up fellow,' said Kate, who was the last.
'Hold your tongue, Kate,' said Mary. 'You don't know what you are talking about.'
'I know as well as any one when a person is good-