The Hand of Ethelberta
12. Arrowthorne Park And Lodge
Summer was just over when Christopher Julian found
himself rattling along in the train to Sandbourne on some
trifling business appertaining to his late father's affairs, which
would afford him an excuse for calling at Arrowthorne about
the song of hers that he wished to produce. He alighted in
the afternoon at a little station some twenty miles short of
Sandbourne, and leaving his portmanteau behind him there,
decided to walk across the fields, obtain if possible the
interview with the lady, and return then to the station to finish
the journey to Sandbourne, which he could thus reach at a
convenient hour in the evening, and, if he chose, take leave
of again the next day.
It was an afternoon which had a fungous smell out of doors,
all being sunless and stagnant overhead and around. The
various species of trees had begun to assume the more
distinctive colours of their decline, and where there had been
one pervasive green were now twenty greenish yellows, the
air in the vistas between them being half opaque with blue
exhalation. Christopher in his walk overtook a countryman,
and inquired if the path they were following would lead him
to Arrowthorne Lodge.
''Twill take 'ee into Arr'thorne Park,' the man replied. 'But you
won't come anigh the Lodge, unless you bear round to the
left as might be.'
'Mrs. Petherwin lives there, I believe?'
'No, sir. Leastwise unless she's but lately come. I have never
heard of such a woman.'
'She may possibly be only visiting there.'
'Ah, perhaps that's the shape o't. Well, now you tell o't, I
have seen a strange face thereabouts once or twice lately. A
young good- looking maid enough, seemingly.'
'Yes, she's considered a very handsome lady.'