BUT when the spring came Esther'put Fred off till the autumn, pleading as an excuse that Miss Rice had not been very well lately, and that she did not like to leave her.
It was one of those long and pallid evenings at the end of July, when the sky seems as if it could not darken. The roadway was very still in its dust and heat, and Esther, her print dress trailing, watched a poor horse striving to pull a four-wheeler through the loose heavy gravel that had just been laid down. And so absorbed was she in her pity for the poor animal that she did not see the gaunt, broad- shouldered man coming towards her, looking very long- legged in a pair of light-grey trousers and a black jacket a little too short for him. He walked with long, even strides, a small cane in one hand, the other in his trousers pocket; a heavy gold chain showed across his waistcoat. He wore a round bowler hat and she caught sight of a red necktie. The side whiskers and the shaven upper lip gave him the appearance of a gentleman's valet. She took him for such as he went by without noticing Esther, but a sudden step taken sideways as she lingered, her eyes fixed on the cab-horse, brought her into collision with him.
'Look where you are going to,' he exclaimed, jumping back to avoid the beer-jug, which fell to the ground. 'What, Esther, is it you?'
'There, you have made me drop the beer.'
'Plenty more in the public; I'll get another jug.'
'It is very kind of you, but I can get what I want myself.'
They looked at each other, and at the end of a long silence William said: 'Just fancy meeting you, and in this way. Well I never! I am glad to see you again.'