by Margery Lawrence
‘So ye’re goin’ to buy Robin’s Rath, young lady?’
Ellen Vandermyl raised her arched brows with a touch of hauteur at the old man’s tone. Not the daughter of a hundred earls, but of one immensely wealthy pork-packer who could deny her nothing, even to the purchase of Ghyll Hall, she had, as have so many American women of bourgeois birth, the tiny feet and delicate complexion that is generally considered the heritage of the aristocrat alone. Now she tapped a smart brogued shoe with an equally smart cane as she answered old Giles’s question, with a little note of asperity in her voice:
‘Of course I am—I have—it goes with Ghyll Hall! Besides, when I get a path made it will make a perfect short cut to the golf-links.’
There was a sudden stir and rustle among the group of villagers; with one accord they looked at old Giles—and there was a pointed little silence. Flushing with annoyance, Ellen glanced from one face to another. Her one wish was to get on well with the villagers of this tiny lovely village, Ghyllock, which seemed to live in the shelter of the old manor-house, Ghyll Hall, for centuries the seat of the Ruddocks, and now passing, like so many other many-memoried old houses, into the hands of the stranger. An only child, her father wax in her hands, the pretty spoilt American beauty had passed through Ghyllock only once, on a motor tour, and seeing the wonderful old house set in miles of green woods and meadows and fields, had given her father no peace till he offered to buy it for her—much as he would have endeavoured to buy the moon, had she wanted it! The grounds ran down to a narrow belt of woodland, thick with undergrowth, the tangling green luxuriance that had never known shears or pruning knife—Robin’s Rath. Beyond lay the golf links, within easy walking distance of the Hall when the path mentioned should be cut—certainly it seemed a good idea, and there was some reason for Ellen’s puzzled annoyance at the sudden silence that greeted her remark. Even the landlord of the picturesque inn, The Goose with the Golden Eggs, lounging in the shadow of his own doorway to listen to the gossip under the great elm tree outside, put down his mug of beer and stared at her curiously. She spoke sharply, addressing old Giles, whose heavy white brows were drawn down over his intent old eyes in a heavy frown.
‘What in the world’s the matter? You all look as if I’d threatened to kill somebody!’ (Continue Reading…)