The Man and the Moment
A N opalescence of soft light and peace and beauty was over the park of Arranstoun on
this June night of its master's wedding, and he walked among the giant trees to the South
Lodge gate, only a few hundred yards from the postern, which he reached from his
sitting-room. All had gone well in London. Mr. Parsons had raised no objection, being
indeed greatly flattered at the proposed alliance—for who had not heard of the famous
border Castle of Arranstoun and envied its possessor?
They had talked a long time and settled everything.
"Tie up the whole of Miss Delburg's money entirely upon herself," Mr. Arranstoun had
said—"if it is not already done—then we need not bother about settlements. I understand
that she is well provided for."
"And how about your future children?" Mr. Parsons asked.
Michael stiffened suddenly as he looked out of the office window.
"Oh—er, they will naturally have all I possess," he returned quickly.
And now as he neared the Lodge gate, and nine o'clock struck, a suppressed excitement
was in his veins. For no matter how eventful your life may be, or how accustomed you
are to chances and vivid amusements, to be facing a marriage ceremony with a practically
unknown young woman has aspects of originality in it calculated to set the pulses in
He had almost forgotten that side of the affair which meant freedom and safety for him
from the claws of the Spider—although he had learned upon his return home from
London that she had, as Henry Fordyce had predicted that she might, "popped in upon
him," having motored over from Ebbsworth, and had left him a letter of surprised, intense
displeasure at his unannounced absence.
When five minutes had passed, and there was as yet no sign of his promised bride
crossing the road from the Inn, Mr. Arranstoun began to experience an unpleasant
impatience. The quarter chimed—his temper rose—had she been playing a trick upon
him and never intended at any time to come? He grew furious—and paced the fine turf
behind the Lodge, swearing hotly as was his wont when enraged.
Then he saw a little figure wrapped in a gray dust cloak much too big for it advancing
cautiously to the gate in the twilight, and he bounded forward to meet her and to open the