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      He had triumphed. He had beaten down the last resistance of the enemy, won the last stronghold of Boarzell. It was all his now, from the clayey pastures at its feet to the fir-clump of its crown. A trivial event which he had been able to seize and turn to his advantage had unexpectedly given him the victory.

      They went onthat is to say Rose leaned back in her chair and directed Caro as she took the things out of the trunks. The girl was fairly bewildered by what she sawthe laced chemises, the flounced petticoats, the dainty nightgowns with transparent necks. "But you'll show through," she said in tones of horror as she displayed one of these, and could not understand why Rose rolled in her chair with laughter.

      "But can you grow anything on a waste like that?"

      She got up and went to her looking-glass, turning on the electric light above it. Certainly Julia was much prettier than she, with her mutinous little pink and white face and her violet eyes. But she was such a little thing, she hardly came above Alices shoulder, and Alice, who knew her so{114} well, had often thought, in spite of her apparent earnestness nowadays, that she was flighty and undependable. With the self-consciousness that was the unfortunate fruit of her newly found habits of self-examination and confession, she told herself that Julia had not a quarter of her own grit and character. Only the other day, when he was walking between them, he had said, I always think of my friends by nicknames. Then he had undeniably squeezed Julias arm and said, You are Sprite, just Sprite. Julia had liked this, and with the anticipation of a less attractive nickname for Alice, had said, And what is she? Then had come a memorable reply, for he had answered, We must call her Alice in Wonderland: she lives in a fairyland of her own. And he had squeezed Alices arm too.



      Then suddenly, without warning, all this love and happiness and possession became too much for Caroshe dropped the brush and the scented hair, and burst into passionate tears.


      But though the jostling was no longer dangerous, Handshut still kept his arm about Rose, and held her close to his side. Now and then she made a feeble effort as if to free herself, but he held her fast, and she never put out her full strength. They walked as if in a dream, they two together, not speaking to anyone, not speaking to each other. Rose saw as if in a dream the Sign of Virgo hanging above Stone. The dipping of the lane showed the Kentish marshes down in the valley, with[Pg 311] the hills of Kent beyond them, twinkling with lights. The band lifted the strains of Hearts of Oak and Cheer, Boys, Cheer above the thud of marching feet, or occasionally drifted into sentiment with Love's Pilgrimwhile every now and then, regardless of what was being played, two hundred throats would bray: