[From Captain of the Parish, 1897]
THAT Spring, Molvurra went to London and Molroy with him. He had decided to settle down on the Island, and in his absence Arrosey, deep in pet projects, purchased on his behalf an estate, the nucleus, at least, of Molvurra's " stake in the country." There was much examination of title, boundaries, rights of way and of watercourses ; of quarter-land, intack, and easements, state of the fences, rateable valuation, bonds, mortgages, and leases to run, deeds of conveyance and terms of payment. Arrosey believed in land, especially land on the green and purple hillsides of Narradale.
It was Spring-time, and the Island was bright with fields of green and yellow with wildernesses of gorse. The day of Molroy and Molvurra's return found Ellen and Lizzie on Douglas pier, watching the steamer approaching the Island. The two passengers on the bridge with the captain, as the steamer drew into the bay, were unmistakable. When the King Orry came alongside the pier, Ellen and Lizzie went on board to greet Captain Crowe, and exact a promise that he would spend a Sunday at Arrosey.
The passengers had all landed and dispersed ere the Arrosey people came ashore. As they came away, Lizzie was walking with Molvurra.
" I think, Mr. Molvurra," said Lizzie, " that as I am your hostess at Arrosey, I shall take the liberty of addressing you by your Christian name-for convenience."
" Certainly, Miss Milvartin."
" That of course implies that you have the same privilege." "Thanks, Lizzie ; but I have been thinking rather about your surname."
"My surname! What of it?"
" I mean that some time you may grant some one a privilege with regard to that too."
" And why? "
"I am anxious to know if there is any reason why you should not?"
" There is at present." "But in the future?"
" Well, suppose there should be none." "I will suppose that," he said attentively.
"Then, is there likely to be any reason why I should ?" "Or, rather, that you possibly might. Do you know of none ?"
" That is not for me to say, Sylvester."
" No, Lizzie-it's for me. May I go on? " She was more agitated than she allowed to appear, and she averted her head. " I have had of late but one thought, Lizzie-to speak to you of myself, to tell you that, though I have not dared to presume on our acquaintance, I have still been hoping in some way to have seemed worthy of you-if you will consider."
" I consider you very worthy; I think very highly indeed of you," she said, still with half-averted head.
" I mean worthy of your affection," he said. "I mean that too, Sylvester."
" And worthy to ask you to be my wife? " For a moment she did not speak. "I will wait," he said gently.
"You have done me an honour, I think," she said, with a blush. " I am not thinking of any reason why I should not be your wife, but I should prefer our acquaintance to continue unchanged-unchanged in other ways, at least for the present."
"And I may speak to you again ?" he said.
They were approaching the inn. There was a new waggonnette, and the horses were ready.
"In a few weeks, perhaps," she said, in an undertone. Molvurra was tall and dark, and the colour on his cheek scarcely touched by the sun of America.
"This is the new machine," he said carelessly as they came up, and he affected to examine it with a critical eye. Lizzie's colour was brightened, as was natural, with the walk from the pier, and neither Molroy, nor even Ellen, suspected that anything extraordinary had just then passed between their friends.