THE PAGAN CHILD. 63
"But what am I to say ? How am I to go back
of my word ? "
" Write her a note. Say something hez come to
your knowledge (don't say what) that makes you
break it off. You needn't be afeard Jenny '11 ever
ask you what.'
John Ashe hesitated. He felt he had been
cruelly wronged. No gentleman, no Ashe, could
go on further in this affair. It was prepos¬
terous to think of it. But somehow, he felt at
the moment very unlike a gentleman or an Ashe,
and was quite sure he should break down under
Jinny's steady eyes. But then—he could write to
" So ores is about as light here as on the Ridge.
Well, I reckon they'll come up before the rains.
Good-night." Mr. Mc Closky took the hand that
his host mechanically extended, shook it gravely
and was gone.
When Mr. Mc Closky a week later stepped again
upon his own verandah, he saw through the French
window the figure of a man in his parlour. Under
his hospitable roof the sight was not unusual; but
for an instant a subtle sense of disappointment
thrilled him. When he saw it was not the face of
Ashe turned towards him he was relieved; but
when he saw the tawny beard, and quick, passionate
eyes of Henry Ranee he felt a new sense of appre-