Beyond the City (Chapter 5, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 5

"Oh, now, really I didn't notice you," said she, taking a few turns
of the treadle and steering the machine across to them. "Is it not a
beautiful morning?"

"Lovely," answered the Doctor. "You seem to be very busy."

"I am very busy." She pointed to the colored paper which still fluttered
from the railing. "We have been pushing our propaganda, you see. Charles
and I have been at it since seven o'clock. It is about our meeting. I
wish it to be a great success. See!" She smoothed out one of the bills,
and the Doctor read his own name in great black letters across the
bottom.

"We don't forget our chairman, you see. Everybody is coming. Those two
dear little old maids opposite, the Williamses, held out for some time;
but I have their promise now. Admiral, I am sure that you wish us well."

"Hum! I wish you no harm, ma'am."

"You will come on the platform?"

"I'll be---- No, I don't think I can do that."

"To our meeting, then?"

"No, ma'am; I don't go out after dinner."

"Oh yes, you will come. I will call in if I may, and chat it over with
you when you come home. We have not breakfasted yet. Goodbye!" There was
a whir of wheels, and the yellow cloud rolled away down the road again.
By some legerdemain the Admiral found that he was clutching in his right
hand one of the obnoxious bills. He crumpled it up, and threw it into
the roadway.

"I'll be hanged if I go, Walker," said he, as he resumed his walk. "I've
never been hustled into doing a thing yet, whether by woman or man."

"I am not a betting man," answered the Doctor, "but I rather think that
the odds are in favor of your going."

The Admiral had hardly got home, and had just seated himself in his
dining-room, when the attack upon him was renewed. He was slowly and
lovingly unfolding the Times preparatory to the long read which led up
to luncheon, and had even got so far as to fasten his golden pince-nez
on to his thin, high-bridged nose, when he heard a crunching of gravel,
and, looking over the top of his paper, saw Mrs. Westmacott coming up
the garden walk. She was still dressed in the singular costume which
offended the sailor's old-fashioned notions of propriety, but he could
not deny, as he looked at her, that she was a very fine woman. In many
climes he had looked upon women of all shades and ages, but never upon
a more clearcut, handsome face, nor a more erect, supple, and womanly
figure. He ceased to glower as he gazed upon her, and the frown smoothed
away from his rugged brow.

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