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The Man and the Moment

CHAPTER XVIII
A SOBBING wind and a weeping rain beat round the walls of Arranstoun, and the great
gray turrets and towers made a grim picture against the November sky, darkening toward
late afternoon, as its master came through the postern gate and across the lawn to his
private rooms. He had been tramping the moorland beyond the park without Binko or a
gun, his thoughts too tempestuous to bear with even them. For the letter to Messrs.
McDonald and Malden had gone, and the first act of the tragedy of his freedom had been
begun.
It was a colossal price to pay for honor and friendship, but while they had been brigands
and robbers for hundreds of years, the Arranstouns had not been dishonorable men, and
had once or twice in their history done a great and generous thing.
Michael was not of the character which lauded itself, indeed he was never introspective
nor thought of himself at all. He was just strong and living and breathing, his actions
governed by an inherited sense of the fitness of things for a gentleman's code, which,
unless it was swamped, as on one occasion it had been by violent passion, very seldom
led him wrong.
Now he determined never to look ahead or picture the blankness of his days as they must
become with no hope of ever seeing Sabine. He supposed vaguely that the pain would
grow less in time. He should have to play a lot of games, and take tremendous interest in
his tenants and his property and perhaps presently go into Parliament. And if all that
failed, he could make some expedition into the wilds again. He was too healthy and well-
balanced to have even in this moment of deep suffering any morbid ideas.
When he had changed his soaking garments, he came back into his sitting-room and
pulled Binko upon his knees. The dog and his fat wrinkles seemed some kind of comfort
to him.
"She remembered you, Binko, old man," he said, caressing the creature's ears. "She is the
sweetest little darling in all the world. You would have loved her soft brown hair and her
round dimpled cheek. And she loves your master, Binko, just as he loves her; she has
forgiven him for everything of long ago—and if she could, she would come back here,
and live with us and make us divinely happy—as we believed she was going to do once
when we were young."
And then he thought suddenly of Henry's home—the stately Elizabethan house amidst
luxuriant, peaceful scenery—not grim and strong like Arranstoun—though she preferred
gaunt castles, evidently, since she had bought Héronac for her own. But the thought of
 
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