A Damsel in Distress (Chapter 4, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 4

"Well, that's that!" said George.

"I'm so much obliged," said the girl.

"It was a pleasure," said George.

He was enabled now to get a closer, more leisurely and much more
satisfactory view of this distressed damsel than had been his good
fortune up to the present. Small details which, when he had first
caught sight of her, distance had hidden from his view, now
presented themselves. Her eyes, he discovered, which he had
supposed brown, were only brown in their general colour-scheme.
They were shot with attractive little flecks of gold, matching
perfectly the little streaks gold which the sun, coming out again
on one of his flying visits and now shining benignantly once more on
the world, revealed in her hair. Her chin was square and
determined, but its resoluteness was contradicted by a dimple and
by the pleasant good-humour of the mouth; and a further softening
of the face was effected by the nose, which seemed to have started
out with the intention of being dignified and aristocratic but had
defeated its purpose by tilting very slightly at the tip. This was
a girl who would take chances, but would take them with a smile and
laugh when she lost.

George was but an amateur physiognomist, but he could read what was
obvious in the faces he encountered; and the more he looked at this
girl, the less he was able to understand the scene which had just
occurred. The thing mystified him completely. For all her
good-humour, there was an air, a manner, a something capable and
defensive, about this girl with which he could not imagine any man
venturing to take liberties. The gold-brown eyes, as they met his
now, were friendly and smiling, but he could imagine them freezing
into a stare baleful enough and haughty enough to quell such a
person as the silk-hatted young man with a single glance. Why,
then, had that super-fatted individual been able to demoralize her
to the extent of flying to the shelter of strange cabs? She was
composed enough now, it was true, but it had been quite plain that
at the moment when she entered the taxi her nerve had momentarily
forsaken her. There were mysteries here, beyond George.

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