Mr. Creswell, of Woolgreaves, had entertained a sincere regard, built on profound respect, for Mr. Ashurst. He knew the inferiority of his own mind, and his own education, to those of the man who had contentedly and laboriously filled so humble a position--one so unworthy of his talents, as well as he knew the superiority of his own business abilities, the difference which had made him a rich man, and which would, under any circumstances, have kept Mr. Ashurst poor. He was a man possessed of much candour of mind and sound judgment; and though he preferred, quite sincerely, the practical ability which had made him what he was, and heartily enjoyed all the material advantages and pleasures of his life, he was capable of profound admiration for such unattainable things as taste, learning, and the indefinable moral and personal elements which combine to form a scholar and a gentleman. He was a commonplace man in every other respect than this, that he most sincerely despised and detested flattery, and was incapable of being deceived by it. He had not failed to understand that it would have been as impossible to James Ashurst to flatter as to rob him; and for this reason, as well as for the superiority he had so fully recognised, he had felt warm and abiding friendship for him, and lamented his death, as he had not mourned any accident of mortality since the day which had seen his pretty young wife laid in her early grave. Mr. Creswell, a poor man in those days, struggling manfully very far down on the ladder, which he had since climbed with the ease which not unfrequently attends effort, when something has happened to decrease the value of success, had loved his pretty, uneducated, merry little wife very much, and had felt for a while after she died, that he was not sure whether anything was worth working or striving for. But his constitutional activity of mind and body had got the better of that sort of feeling, and he had worked and striven to remarkably good purpose; but he had never asked another woman to share his fortunes.
And then there was a crash—a boat on the Alceste's starboard quarter was gone, and as the big frigate lurched across the yard of blue water between them, the little Hornet's stanch mizzen mast struck the Alceste's lower spars, that were only half secured, and tore through the rigging as if it were a cobweb. In another minute the Hornet with her helm righted had danced off, her men cheering and jeering, while the French captain fairly danced with rage, and shook his fist at Captain Carew, who raised his cap, and bowed and smiled politely.
"Mademoiselle Olga reads, I fear; but I can easily break her of that after we are married," said Count Kourásoff gravely.
She sank back to her seat, mute, apprehensive, while he tried vainly to refloat the boat.
249“Let me carry your books for you,” said I.
Poirot laughed heartily.
"At any rate, tell me the man's name?" Mrs. Greaves regarded the worn, white face of her friend with impatient anxiety. Incidentally, she wished Ellen would leave off her mourning; she had been a widow for so many years, and black had never suited her.
"Quite," Arthur agreed, and then added: "This won't affect you in any way, will it, uncle?"
The man sprang up with the terrified bewilderment of the suddenly awakened native. "Thieves! Murder! Thieves!" he yelled, until he recognised his master, when he bound his turban hastily about his dishevelled head and salaamed in respectful apology. The gharry man was paid, the luggage was deposited in the veranda, and the ramshackle conveyance rattled out of the compound. It all caused a noisy disturbance, and yet Trixie had not been aroused. No questioning call came from her bedroom to know what it all meant. In puzzled apprehension Coventry passed through the drawing-room, where a couple of wall lamps still burned low. Also the light in her bedroom had
“No,” she answered, “you are a stranger to me.”
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