ACROSS THE WAY VIII

Mr. Ramsay stood for some moments mulling over his cousin’s answer; by degrees his countenance brightened and he began to chuckle; and every now and then, in the course of his progress along Saville Street, he would stand and look back at the late Mr. Cherrington’s house, as though it had acquired a new interest in his eyes. His daily promenade was six times up and six times down Saville Street; and he happened to complete the last lap, so to speak, of his sixth time down at the very moment when Miss Whyte’s little girls came running out on the sidewalk for recess. Behind them appeared the school-mistress, who stood looking at her flock from the top of the stone flight.
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Elizabeth knew the old gentleman by sight but not by name, and she was therefore considerably astonished to see him suddenly veer from his ordinary course, and come slowly up the steps.

“You’re the school-mistress?” he asked, with the directness of an old man who feels that he need not mince his words.

“Yes, sir. I’m Miss Whyte.”

“My name’s Ramsay; Homer Ramsay. I live opposite, and I’ve come to tell you I admire your pluck in not letting my cousin, Horace Barker, put you down. I’ll stand by you, too; you can tell him that. Break up your school? I should like to see him do it. Had to take his three little girls away, did he? Ho, ho! A grand good joke that; a grand good joke. What was it he asked you to do?”

“Mr. Barker wished me to change some of my rules about hours, and I was not able to accommodate him, that was all,” answered Elizabeth, who found herself eminently puzzled by the interest in her affairs displayed by this strange visitor.

“I’ll warrant he did. And you wouldn’t make the change. A grand good joke that. I know him; he’s my first cousin once removed, and the only relation I’ve left. And he is going to try and break up your school. I’d like to see him do it.”

“I don’t believe that Mr. Barker would do anything so unjust,” said Elizabeth, flushing… by: Robert Grant (1852-1940)

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