The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 6, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 6

"What are you going to do?" she demanded, drawing away from the
streaming neckerchief. "Who are you? Why am I here?--what has
happened?"

Barnabas hesitated, first because he was overwhelmed by this sudden
torrent of questions, and secondly because he rarely spoke without
thinking; therefore, finding him silent, she questioned him again-"Where am I?"

"In Annersley Wood, madam."

"Ah, yes, I remember, my horse ran away."

"So I brought you here to the brook."

"Why?"

"You were hurt; I found you bleeding and senseless."

"Bleeding!" And out came a dainty lace handkerchief on the instant.

"There," said Barnabas, "above your eyebrow," and he indicated a
very small trickle of blood upon the snow of her temple.

"And you--found me, sir?"

"Beneath the riven oak in the Broad Glade--over yonder."

"That is a great way from here, sir!"

"You are not--heavy!" Barnabas explained, a little clumsily perhaps,
for she fell silent at this, and stooped her head the better to dab
tenderly at the cut above her eyebrow; also the color deepened in her
cheeks.

"Madam," said Barnabas, "that is the wrong eyebrow."

"Then why don't you tell me where I'm hurt?" she sighed. For answer,
after a moment's hesitation, Barnabas reached out and taking her hand,
handkerchief and all, laid it very gently upon the cut, though to be
sure it was a very poor thing, as cuts go, after all.

"There," said he again, "though indeed it is very trifling."

"Indeed, sir, it pains atrociously!" she retorted, and to bear out
her words showed him her handkerchief, upon whose snow was a tiny
vivid stain.

"Then perhaps," ventured Barnabas, "perhaps I'd better bathe it with
this!" and he held up his dripping handkerchief.

"Nay, sir, I thank you," she answered, "keep it for your own
wounds--there is a cut upon your cheek."

"A cut!" repeated Barnabas--bethinking him of the gentleman's signet
ring.

"Yes, a cut, sir," she repeated, and stole a glance at him under her
long lashes; "pray did your horse run away also?"

Barnabas was silent again, this time because he knew not how to
answer--therefore he began rubbing at his injured cheek while she
watched him--and after a while spoke.

"Sir," said she, "that is the wrong cheek."

"Then, indeed, this must be very trifling also," said Barnabas,
smiling.

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