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My Heart's in the Highlands

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
I DO wish you would be serious! "Why on earth should I be?" Rowena Arbuthnot leant her elbows on the wide windowsill and looked in upon her sister-in-law from the garden, with her mischievous blue-grey eyes which always seemed to twinkle with some hidden joke. Rowena's eyes had been the cause of her continually getting into trouble, from the time she had been a child, when the rector of the parish had requested her not to laugh at him in the pulpit. She was older now; and had gone through more trouble than most girls of her age. But though her lips were grave, and a trifle sad when in repose, yet her eyes had never lost their gleam of hidden laughter. Young Mrs. Arbuthnot, sitting in her pretty drawing-room, stitching away at a white frock for her youngest child, felt impatient with Rowena. "I never shall understand you," she said; "I thought you and Ted were so devoted, that if you had not cared a button about the children or me, you would be disappointed at not coming with us. Our home has been yours for the last four years; and we have always looked upon you as one of the family." "My dear Geraldine, tears are too expensive a luxury to be wasted in public. Shall I conjure up two for your benefit? I might if I tried hard." "I hate you when you are facetious!" "I won't be. Let us talk wisely and soberly. Is it my fault that Ted was cheated in the horse deal, that I mounted a half-broken vixen, and was pitched out of the saddle on the very hardest bit of ground going? Is it my fault that that dear old Niddy-Noddy should insist upon my lying low for a year? I don't want to be an invalid for life. It isn't an attractive prospect. And you wouldn't like a bedridden crock to be attached to you for evermore. Isn't it worthwhile to escape that fate if I can? To forgo my journey to the East with you is, of course, a trial. But what am I, if I can't take my share of disappointments philosophically?" "Yes, yes, I know you've got an inexhaustible fund of philosophy and patience; but where are you going, what are you going to do? If only Ted had not let the house! But we're so hard up—and—really, Rowena, you ought to be lying down at this moment! What is the good of only following half Dr. North's advice?"