|About the Book|
Contents:A CROSS LINENOW SPRING HAS COMETHE SPELL OF THE WHITE ELFA LITTLE GREY GLOVEAN EMPTY FRAMEUNDER NORTHERN SKYI. How Marie Larsen Exorcised a DemonII. A Shadows SlantIII. An Ebb TideAn excerpt from the beginning of:A CROSS LINEThe rather flatMoreContents:A CROSS LINENOW SPRING HAS COMETHE SPELL OF THE WHITE ELFA LITTLE GREY GLOVEAN EMPTY FRAMEUNDER NORTHERN SKYI. How Marie Larsen Exorcised a DemonII. A Shadows SlantIII. An Ebb TideAn excerpt from the beginning of:A CROSS LINEThe rather flat notes of a mans voice float out into the clear air, singing the refrain of a popular music-hall ditty. There is something incongruous between the melody and the surroundings. It seems profane, indelicate, to bring this slangy, vulgar tune, and with it the mental picture of footlight flare and fantastic dance into the lovely freshness of this perfect spring day.A woman sitting on a felled tree turns her head to meet its coming, and an expression flits across her face in which disgust and humorous appreciation are subtly blended. Her mind is nothing if not picturesque- her busy brain, with all its capabilities choked by a thousand vagrant fancies, is always producing pictures and finding associations between the most unlikely objects. She has been reading a little sketch written in the daintiest language of a fountain scene in Tanagra, and her vivid imagination has made it real to her. The slim, graceful maids grouped around it filling their exquisitely-formed earthen jars, the dainty poise of their classic heads, and the flowing folds of their draperies have been actually present with her- and now?—why, it is like the entrance of a half-tipsy vagabond player bedizened in tawdry finery—the picture is blurred. She rests her head against the trunk of a pine tree behind her, and awaits the singer. She is sitting on an incline in the midst of a wilderness of trees- some have blown down, some have been cut down, and the lopped branches lie about- moss and bracken and trailing bramble, fir-cones, wild rose bushes, and speckled red fairy hats fight for life in wild confusion. A disused quarry to the left is an ideal haunt of pike, and to the right a little river rushes along in haste to join a greater sister that is fighting a troubled way to the sea. A row of stepping-stones crosses it, and if you were to stand on one you would see shoals of restless stone loach Beardies darting from side to side. The tails of several ducks can be seen above the water, and the paddle of their balancing feet, and the gurgling suction of their bills as they search for larvæ can be heard distinctly between the hum of insect, twitter of bird, and rustle of stream and leaf. The singer has changed his lay to a whistle, and presently he comes down the path a cool, neat, grey-clad f1gure, with a fishing creel slung across his back, and a trout rod held on his shoulder. The air ceases abruptly, and his cold grey eyes scan the seated figure with its gipsy ease of attitude, a scarlet shawl that has fallen from her shoulders forming an accentuative background to the slim roundness of her waist.Persistent study, coupled with a varied experience of the female animal, has given the owner of the grey eyes some facility in classing her, although it has not supplied him with any definite data as to what any one of the species may do in a given circumstance. To put it in his own words, in answer to a friend who chaffed him on his untiring pursuit of women as an interesting problem : If a fellow has had much experience of his fellow-man he may divide him into types, and, given a certain number of men and a certain number of circumstances, he is pretty safe on hitting on the line of action each type will strike- t aint so with woman. You may always look out for the unexpected, she generally upsets a fellows calculations, and you are never safe in laying odds on her.