Where Angels Fear to Tread
day as this." Then, rather hastily, she shook hands, and left him to take
Mrs. Theobald all the way back.
Sawston, her own home, was within easy reach of London, and they
were not late for tea. Tea was in the dining-room, with an egg for Irma,
to keep up the child's spirits. The house seemed strangely quiet after a
fortnight's bustle, and their conversation was spasmodic and subdued.
They wondered whether the travellers had got to Folkestone, whether it
would be at all rough, and if so what would happen to poor Miss Abbott.
"And, Granny, when will the old ship get to Italy?" asked Irma.
"'Grandmother,' dear; not 'Granny,'" said Mrs. Herriton, giving her a
kiss. "And we say 'a boat' or 'a steamer,' not 'a ship.' Ships have sails.
And mother won't go all the way by sea. You look at the map of Europe,
and you'll see why. Harriet, take her. Go with Aunt Harriet, and she'll
show you the map."
"Righto!" said the little girl, and dragged the reluctant Harriet into the
library. Mrs. Herriton and her son were left alone. There was immedi-
ately confidence between them.
"Here beginneth the New Life," said Philip.
"Poor child, how vulgar!" murmured Mrs. Herriton. "It's surprising
that she isn't worse. But she has got a look of poor Charles about her."
"AndÑalas, alas!Ña look of old Mrs. Theobald. What appalling appar-
ition was that! I did think the lady was bedridden as well as imbecile.
Why ever did she come?"
"Mr. Kingcroft made her. I am certain of it. He wanted to see Lilia
again, and this was the only way."
"I hope he is satisfied. I did not think my sister-in-law distinguished
herself in her farewells."
Mrs. Herriton shuddered. "I mind nothing, so long as she has
goneÑand gone with Miss Abbott. It is mortifying to think that a widow
of thirty-three requires a girl ten years younger to look after her."
"I pity Miss Abbott. Fortunately one admirer is chained to England.
Mr. Kingcroft cannot leave the crops or the climate or something. I don't
think, either, he improved his chances today. He, as well as Lilia, has the
knack of being absurd in public."
Mrs. Herriton replied, "When a man is neither well bred, nor well con-
nected, nor handsome, nor clever, nor rich, even Lilia may discard him in
"No. I believe she would take any one. Right up to the last, when her
boxes were packed, she was 'playing' the chinless curate. Both the