the Ninth Concession
Chapter XXIX - Helen
AS they turned the pathway to the
right, which was enclosed on either side by a hedge of cedars, they met
Helen standing with lips slightly apart, and with a look of beautiful
animation on her face. One glance showed that, while she had her fathers
dark sparkling eyes, she was plainly the counterpart of her mother. The
same forehead, the same wealth of hair (flowing down her back on this
occasion), the symmetrical nose, the arched eyebrows, and the rather wide
mouth, with lips inclining if anything to fullness. The occasion, which
was naturally one of more than ordinary interest to her, lent an added
colouring and animation to the face. Her figure had still a girlish
Willie, who had scarcely glanced at
her when he carried her out of the burning building, might be said to have
really not seen her before. He certainly would not have recognised her had
he met her under casual circumstances As it was, he felt sure she was Miss
Rolphe before any one spoke, and his silent comment was that he had never
seen so beautiful a young girl. He would fain have stood in the path and
enjoyed the picture, had not Mrs. Rolphe said, "Come, Helen, dear, and
greet the young man, William McNabb, who saved your life."
Helen, her face aglow with emotion,
came forward, and walking up to Willie, placed her hand in his and looked
earnestly into his eyes.
"I hope father and mother have
thanked you for your for your for saving my life," she said. "I can
never tell you how grateful I am. To think what a risk you ran!"
"Please dont refer to it," said
Willie. "It really wasnt much, after all, and unless you promise not to
talk of it, I shall never try to be heroic again."
So the subject was dropped for the
present, the conversation turned to other channels, and by the time the
three reached the house, Willie felt himself quite at ease. Helen, too,
although shy, did her best to entertain her young preserver by her
conversation. The difficulty with these two young people was that each
stood in awe of the other. Helen regarded Willie as a great hero, somebody
about whom one is accustomed to read in books; and Willie, on his part,
regarded the beautiful girl as a creature only a little lower than the
The dinner in the big dining-room
would have been quite an ordeal to Willie had it not been for Mrs.
Rolphes tact and good management. He could not fail to experience a sense
of awe at the venerable looking gentleman who stood behind Mr. Rolphes
chair, and who was referred to as the butler. He was far more respectable
and important in his aspect than the minister at the Scotch Settlement,
and eclipsed every one of the ruling elders in their "bests." Certainly,
neither the minister nor any of the elders ever wore such broadcloth.
Muckle Peters criticism would have been: "Yoan wuz a veenerable
After the dinner Willie was shown
over the conservatory and the picture gallery, and by the time the clock
struck ten and he felt he must go, he was surprised at the rapidity with
which the evening had slipped away. When the lad took leave of the Rolphes,
he could not help feeling that an evening with a railway president and his
family was after all not such a very great ordeal. When he shook hands
with Helen, the young girl blushed as she said she hoped Mr. McNabb would
accept her mothers invitation and come to see them often.
Willie promised he would; then he
was whirled away in Mr. Rolphes carriage, and was soon in his little
room, tucked up in his homely bed. He dreamed that night of the beautiful
vision in the pathway, and the first thought that crossed his mind after
he wakened was of Helen. He was too sensible a boy to indulge in any
foolish thoughts in that direction, for he realised the social gulf that
was fixed between himself and the daughter of the president. But while he
might control his thoughts, he could not control his dreams; and so he
continued to dream of Helen.
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