Kilmeny of the Orchard
VI. The Story Of Kilmeny
Wednesday evening Eric went to the orchard again; and again he was disappointed. He
went home, determined to solve the mystery by open inquiry. Fortune favoured him, for
he found Mrs. Williamson alone, sitting by the west window of her kitchen and knitting at
a long gray sock. She hummed softly to herself as she knitted, and Timothy slept
blackly at her feet. She looked at Eric with quiet affection in her large, candid eyes. She
had liked Mr. West. But Eric had found his way into the inner chamber of her heart, by
reason that his eyes were so like those of the little son she had buried in the Lindsay
churchyard many years before.
"Mrs. Williamson," said Eric, with an affectation of carelessness, "I chanced on an old
deserted orchard back behind the woods over there last week, a charming bit of
wilderness. Do you know whose it is?"
"I suppose it must be the old Connors orchard," answered Mrs. Williamson after a
moment's reflection. "I had forgotten all about it. It must be all of thirty years since Mr.
and Mrs. Connors moved away. Their house and barns were burned down and they
sold the land to Thomas Gordon and went to live in town. They're both dead now. Mr.
Connors used to be very proud of his orchard. There weren't many orchards in Lindsay
then, though almost everybody has one now."
"There was a young girl in it, playing on a violin," said Eric, annoyed to find that it cost
him an effort to speak of her, and that the blood mounted to his face as he did so. "She
ran away in great alarm as soon as she saw me, although I do not think I did or said
anything to frighten or vex her. I have no idea who she was. Do you know?"
Mrs. Williamson did not make an immediate reply. She laid down her knitting and gazed
out of the window as if pondering seriously some question in her own mind. Finally she
said, with an intonation of keen interest in her voice,
"I suppose it must have been Kilmeny Gordon, Master."
"Kilmeny Gordon? Do you mean the niece of Thomas Gordon of whom your husband
"I can hardly believe that the girl I saw can be a member of Thomas Gordon's family."
"Well, if it wasn't Kilmeny Gordon I don't know who it could have been. There is no other
house near that orchard and I've heard she plays the violin. If it was Kilmeny you've
seen what very few people in Lindsay have ever seen, Master. And those few have