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Kilmeny of the Orchard

X. A Troubling Of The Waters
One evening in late June Mrs. Williamson was sitting by her kitchen window. Her
knitting lay unheeded in her lap, and Timothy, though he nestled ingratiatingly against
her foot as he lay on the rug and purred his loudest, was unregarded. She rested her
face on her hand and looked out of the window, across the distant harbour, with
troubled eyes.
"I guess I must speak," she thought wistfully. "I hate to do it. I always did hate meddling.
My mother always used to say that ninety-nine times out of a hundred the last state of a
meddler and them she meddled with was worse than the first. But I guess it's my duty. I
was Margaret's friend, and it is my duty to protect her child any way I can. If the Master
does go back across there to meet her I must tell him what I think about it."
Overhead in his room, Eric was walking about whistling. Presently he came downstairs,
thinking of the orchard, and the girl who would be waiting for him there.
As he crossed the little front entry he heard Mrs. Williamson's voice calling to him.
"Mr. Marshall, will you please come here a moment?"
He went out to the kitchen. Mrs. Williamson looked at him deprecatingly. There was a
flush on her faded cheek and her voice trembled.
"Mr. Marshall, I want to ask you a question. Perhaps you will think it isn't any of my
business. But it isn't because I want to meddle. No, no. It is only because I think I ought
to speak. I have thought it over for a long time, and it seems to me that I ought to speak.
I hope you won't be angry, but even if you are I must say what I have to say. Are you
going back to the old Connors orchard to meet Kilmeny Gordon?"
For a moment an angry flush burned in Eric's face. It was more Mrs. Williamson's tone
than her words which startled and annoyed him.
"Yes, I am, Mrs. Williamson," he said coldly. "What of it?"
"Then, sir," said Mrs. Williamson with more firmness, "I have got to tell you that I don't
think you are doing right. I have been suspecting all along that that was where you went
every evening, but I haven't said a word to any one about it. Even my husband doesn't
know. But tell me this, Master. Do Kilmeny's uncle and aunt know that you are meeting
her there?"
"Why," said Eric, in some confusion, "I--I do not know whether they do or not. But Mrs.
Williamson, surely you do not suspect me of meaning any harm or wrong to Kilmeny
Gordon?"
 
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