The descriptions were at first extremely inartistic and unmethodical; but the effort to make them as exact and clear as was possible led from time to time to perceptions of truth, that came unsought and lay far removed from the object originally in view. It was remarked that many of the plants which Dioscorides had described in his Materia Medica do not grow wild in Germany, France, Spain, and England, and that conversely very many plants grow in these countries, which were evidently unknown to the ancient writers; it became apparent at the same time that many plants have points of resemblance to one another, which have nothing to do with their medicinal powers or with their importance to agriculture and the arts. In the effort to promote the knowledge of plants for practical purposes by careful description of individual forms, the impression forced itself on the mind of the observer, that there are various natural groups of plants which have a distinct resemblance to one another in form and in other characteristics. It was seen that there were other natural alliances in the vegetable world, beside the three great divisions of trees, shrubs, and herbs adopted by Aristotle and Theophrastus. The first perception of natural groups is to be found in Bock, and later herbals show that the natural connection between such plants as occur together in the groups of Fungi, Mosses, Ferns, Coniferae, Umbelliferae, Compositae, Labiatae, Papilionaceae was distinctly felt, though it was by no means clearly understood how this connection was actually expressed; the fact of natural affinity presented itself unsought as an incidental and indefinite impression, to which no great value was at first attached. The recognition of these groups required no antecedent philosophic reflection or conscious attempt to classify the objects in the vegetable world; they present themselves to the unprejudiced eye as naturally as do the groups of mammals, birds, reptiles,


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Slowly the tale was unfolded, till she came to

Historic Highways of the South.

"I object to the gentleman's manner of putting it myself," he began; "he is altogether too mealy-mouthed, which comes no doubt from his diet in boyhood. If he were only a blathering Irishman like the rest of you, he would be shouting Jacobite songs, and guzzling Jacobite toasts, and whispering Jacobite treasons, and never venture an inch of his precious carcass, until the moon turned into a Jacobite cheese and was ready to drop into his mouth. I'm ashamed of you all! Go back to your macaroni and polenta, and brag about Cremona and other battles you never fought, and see if you cannot breed some mongrel mixture that will make you ashamed of the way you have behaved this day. There! that's what I say to you; and if any of you don't like it, get down on your marrow-bones and thank Heaven that the rules of his Church prevent Father O'Rourke, late Chaplain of the Company of St. James, wearing a sword, or, by the Powers! you would go back like so many pinked bladders!"


“That is not my fault,” said Lady Markham, almost sharply; and then she added: “For the matter of that, they are both your brother’s children—though, unfortunately, mine too.”

“I’m afraid that’s impossible,” I replied. “Poirot is ill in bed—influenza.”

It was a woman, all right. The voice had been so strained that he hadn't been positive. Even now, short black hair might not have proved it, and she was lying face down but the waist and hips were a woman's, even though she wore a bulky, quilted suit of coveralls.

“Well, in the first instance, my publishers suggested——”

any performance of Lady Marian de Winstanley, bed-chamber woman to the queen.

Tears in her eyes, she bade us a dignified farewell. Poirot made a characteristic gesture as we walked down the drive together.

"Another?" the Aga Kaga said, offering the bottle. Georges glowered as his glass was filled. The Aga Kaga held the glass up to the light.

The high official unrolled the scroll. The Thrid around him, wearing Witness hats, became utterly silent. The high official made a sound equivalent to clearing his throat. The stillness became death-like.

1.The Winterbourns came next day: he to the best room in the house, a temperature carefully kept up to sixty-five degrees, and the daily attentions of the excellent doctor, who, Lady Markham declared, was thrown away upon her healthy household. Mr Winterbourn was a man of fifty, a confirmed invalid, who travelled with a whole paraphernalia of medicaments, and a servant who was a trained nurse, and very skilful in all the lower branches of the medical craft. Mrs Winterbourn, however, was not like this. She was young, pretty, lively, fond of what she called “fun,” and by no means bound to her husband’s sick-room. Everybody said she was very kind to him. She never refused to go to him when he wanted her. Of her own accord, as part of her usual routine, she would{v2-250} go into his room three or even four times a-day to see if she could do anything. She sat with him always while Roberts the man-nurse had his dinner. What more could a woman do? She had indeed, it was understood, married him against her will; but that is an accident not to be avoided, and she had always been a model of propriety. They were asked everywhere, which, considering how little adapted he was for society, was nothing less than the highest proof of how much she was thought of; and the most irreproachable matrons did not hesitate to invite Lord Markham to meet the Winterbourns. It was a wonderful, quite an ideal friendship, everybody said. And it was such a comfort to both of them! For Markham, considering the devotion he had always shown to his mother, would probably find it very inconvenient to marry, which is the only thing which makes friendship between a man and a woman difficult. A woman does not like her devoted friend to marry: that is the worst of those delicate relationships, and it is the point upon which they generally come to shipwreck in the end. As a matter of course, any other{v2-251} harm of a grosser kind was not so much as thought of by any one who knew them. There were people, however, who asked themselves and each other, as a fine problem, one of those cases of complication which it pleases the human intellect to resolve, what would happen if Winterbourn died?—a thing which he was continually threatening to do. It had been at one time quite a favourite subject of speculation in society. Some said that it would not suit Markham at all,—that he would get out of it somehow; some, that there would be no escape for him; some, that with such a fine jointure as Nelly would have, it would set the little man up, if he could give up his “ways.” Markham had not a very good reputation, though everybody knew that he was the best son in the world. He played, it was said, more and otherwise than a man of his position ought to play. He was often amusing, and always nice to women, so that society never in the least broke with him, and he had champions everywhere. But the mere fact that he required champions was a proof that all was not exactly as it ought to be. He was a man with a great many{v2-252} “ways,” which of course it is natural to suppose would be bad ways, though, except in the matter of play, no one knew very well what they were.



"What you say. I believe that firmly, for you have the credit of being quite unconventional. No, I merely went to London on business, and that finished I returned at once. Where is your sister?"


“‘They ain’t a hair’s difference,’ he said. ‘He’s a little slicker than yours—that’s all—better groomed than the one in yo’ barn.’


“That ‘full of the moon’ idea was clever. The whole point of it was to get us to concentrate on the Friday, and so be off our guard beforehand. It is a pity you did not realize that.”


I’ve always thought there was something real noble between Dan and me then. There was I,——well, I don’t mind telling you. And he,——yes, I’m sure he loved me perfectly,——you mustn’t be startled, I’ll tell you how it was,——and always had, only maybe he hadn’t known it; but it was deep down in his heart just the same, and by and by it stirred. There we were, both of us thoroughly conscious, yet neither of us expressing it by a word, and trying not to by a look,——both of us content to wait for the next life, when we could belong to one another. In those days I contrived to have it always pleasure enough for me just to know that Dan was in the room; and though that wasn’t often, I never grudged Faith her right in him, perhaps because I knew she didn’t care anything about it. You see, this is how it was.


Wolf, as he turned, was just loosing his hold on the wide collar of the Boy’s mackinaw. His cut forepaws were still braced against a flaw of ragged ice on the air-hole’s edge, and all his tawny body was tense.


There it was, that plain, square letter, addressed to him in the firm, plain hand, and bearing the Brocksopp postmark! There it was, his life-verdict, for good or ill. Nothing to be judged of it by its appearance--firm, square, and practical; no ridiculous tremors occasioned by hope or fear could have had anything to do with such a sensible-looking document. What was in it? She would have given anything to know! Not that she seemed to be in the least anxious about it. She had asked where he was, and had been told that he was at work in the library. He was so confident of what Miss Ashurst's answer would be, that he awaited its arrival in the most perfect calmness. Would he be undeceived? Lady Caroline thought not just yet. If the young woman were, as Lady Caroline suspected, playing a double game, she would probably find some excuse for not at once linking her lot with Walter Joyce's--her mother's ill-health seemed expressly suited for the purpose--and would suggest that he should go out first to Berlin, and see how he liked his new employment, returning later in the year, when, if all things seemed convenient, they could be married. She was evidently a clever girl, and these were probably the tactics she would pursue. Lady Caroline wondered whether she was right in her conjecture, and there was the letter, a glance at which would solve her doubts, lying before her! What a ridiculous thing that people were not allowed to read each other's letters! Her ladyship told the butler to see that that letter was sent at once to Mr. Joyce, who was in the library expecting it.

. . .