The Rector of St. Marks (Chapter 5, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 5

That open grassy spot in the dense shadow of the west woods was just
the place for a picnic, and it looked very bright and pleasant that
warm June afternoon, with the rustic table so fancifully arranged, the
camp stools scattered over the lawn, and the bouquets of flowers
depending from the trees.

Fanny Hetherton had given it her whole care, aided and abetted by Dr.
Bellamy, what time he could spare from Lucy, who, imbued with a mortal
fear of insects, seemed this day to gather scores of bugs and worms
upon her dress and hair, screaming with every worm and bringing the
doctor obediently to her aid.

"I'd stay at home, I think, if I was silly enough to be afraid of a
harmless caterpillar like that," Fanny had said, as with her own hands
she took from Lucy's curls and threw away a thousand-legged thing, the
very sight of which made poor Lucy shiver but did not send her to the
house.

She was too much interested and too eagerly expectant of what the
afternoon would bring, and so she perched herself upon the fence where
nothing but ants could molest her, and finished the bouquets which
Fanny hung upon the trees until the lower limbs seemed one mass of
blossoms and the air was filled with the sweet perfume.

Lucy was bewitchingly beautiful that afternoon in her dress of white,
her curls tied up with a blue ribbon, and her fair arms bare nearly to
the shoulders. Fanny, whose arms were neither plump nor white, had
expostulated with her cousin upon this style of dress, suggesting that
one as delicate as she could not fail to take a heavy cold when the
dews began to fall, but Lucy would not listen. Arthur Leighton had
told her once that he liked her with bare arms, and bare they should
be. She was bending every energy to please and captivate him, and a
cold was of no consequence provided she succeeded. So, like some
little fairy, she danced and flitted about, making fearful havoc with
Dr. Bellamy's wits and greatly vexing Fanny, who hailed with delight
the arrival of Mrs. Meredith and Anna. The latter was very pretty and
very becomingly attired in a light airy dress of blue, finished at the
throat and wrists with an edge of soft, fine lace. She, too, had
thought of Arthur in the making of her toilet, and it was for him that
the white rosebuds were placed in her heavy braids of hair and
fastened on her belt. She was very sorry that she had allowed herself
to be vexed with Lucy Harcourt for her familiarity with Mr. Leighton,
very hopeful that he had not observed it, and very certain now of his
preference for herself. She would be very gracious that afternoon, she
thought, and not one bit jealous of Lucy, though she called him Arthur
a hundred times.

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