There were others in the picture there was mother

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while another set was being formed, the lads were round her thick as bees. There were others in the picture. There was Mother presiding over the tea and coffee and the claret cup. There was Elsie in her invalid wheel-chair. There was Father talking to Archdeacon Phayre and Lady Phayre and they were laughing heartily. Father was holding his pince-nez in one hand and emphasising his story with the forefinger of the other. And other people pressed close to hear what Father was saying, very fine, blue-blooded exclusive people. The county which had turned up its nose at Robert Hardy's reputed great wealth capitulated to the man's charm, the charm
which they were saying had been a few months later a wile to lure his victims to destruction. But meanwhile who thought of calamity and death that golden summer afternoon? Muriel looked curiously at the picture on her dazzled retina of the girl in a white frock swinging her tennis-racket. It seemed now that there could be no possible relation between her and that girl. Two faces amid the group of masculine faces stood out clearly. One was a dark, handsome reckless face, no longer young, the face of such a man as often takes captive a young girl's fancy: she thinks of Rochester, of Guy Livingstone. There were a good many lines on the handsome face; the fine mouth under its moustache was cynical and cold. The man had at once terrified and fascinated that golden-haired girl in the white frock. He had kissed her once secretly, and the memory made the girl's eyes fall and the colour come to her cheeks whenever Sir Ralph Verrinder came near her. He would look at her, smiling, with a certain insolence which enraged his young cousin. Dick Verrinder's face was as unlike as possible to his cousin's. Muriel could see him as he stood scowling that day, not a bit good-looking, but wholesome and pleasant, despite the scowl, with freckles on a sun-burnt skin, a nondescript nose, dusty hair, an angular boyish figure, an obstinate mouth and chin, and blue eyes usually full of goodwill to all the world, but at that moment full of angry lightnings. There was no love lost between Sir Ralph Verrinder of Whirlicote Hall and his young cousin Dick, who lived with his widowed mother in a little cottage in the village, and was as happy and well liked as he was poor. Presently he was going for a soldier and many people would feel the poorer. There had been an informal dance and supper after the tennis. The Hardy's were as hospitable as they were rich. The young couples strolled in the gardens under the full harvest moon. Dick Verrinder had taken Muriel, very much against her will, to the haha that was between the kitchen garden and the park. He had drawn her cloak about her shoulders with a rough, boyish tenderness. He had been so indiscreet as to speak to her about his cousin.

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