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Kilmeny of the Orchard

XII. A Prisoner Of Love
When Eric betook himself to the orchard the next evening he had to admit that he felt
rather nervous. He did not know how the Gordons would receive him and certainly the
reports he had heard of them were not encouraging, to say the least of it. Even Mrs.
Williamson, when he had told her where he was going, seemed to look upon him as one
bent on bearding a lion in his den.
"I do hope they won't be very uncivil to you, Master," was the best she could say.
He expected Kilmeny to be in the orchard before him, for he had been delayed by a call
from one of the trustees; but she was nowhere to be seen. He walked across it to the
wild cherry lane; but at its entrance he stopped short in sudden dismay.
Neil Gordon had stepped from behind the trees and stood confronting him, with blazing
eyes, and lips which writhed in emotion so great that at first it prevented him from
speaking.
With a thrill of dismay Eric instantly understood what must have taken place. Neil had
discovered that he and Kilmeny had been meeting in the orchard, and beyond doubt
had carried that tale to Janet and Thomas Gordon. He realized how unfortunate it was
that this should have happened before he had had time to make his own explanation. It
would probably prejudice Kilmeny's guardians still further against him. At this point in his
thoughts Neil's pent up passion suddenly found vent in a burst of wild words.
"So you've come to meet her again. But she isn't here--you'll never see her again! I hate
you--I hate you--I hate you!"
His voice rose to a shrill scream. He took a furious step nearer Eric as if he would attack
him. Eric looked steadily in his eyes with a calm defiance, before which his wild passion
broke like foam on a rock.
"So you have been making trouble for Kilmeny, Neil, have you?" said Eric
contemptuously. "I suppose you have been playing the spy. And I suppose that you
have told her uncle and aunt that she has been meeting me here. Well, you have saved
me the trouble of doing it, that is all. I was going to tell them myself, tonight. I don't know
what your motive in doing this has been. Was it jealousy of me? Or have you done it out
of malice to Kilmeny?"
His contempt cowed Neil more effectually than any display of anger could have done.
"Never you mind why I did it," he muttered sullenly. "What I did or why I did it is no
business of yours. And you have no business to come sneaking around here either.
Kilmeny won't meet you here again."
 
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