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overhung by curling lashes of an ebon black. The effect of these eyes of
hers shining above those tinted cheeks and beneath the brow of ivory
whiteness was so strange as to be almost startling. They caught the
beholder and held him, as might the sudden sight of a rose in snow, or
the morning star hanging luminous among the mists of dawn. Also,
although they were so gentle and modest, if that beholder chanced to be
a man on the good side of fifty it was often long before he could forget
them, especially if he were privileged to see how well they matched the
hair of chestnut, shading into black, that waved above them and fell,
tress upon tress, upon the shapely shoulders and down to the
Peter Brome, for he was so named, looked a little anxiously about him at
the crowd, then, turning, addressed Margaret in his strong, clear voice.
"There are rough folk around," he said; "do you think you should stop
here? Your father might be angered, Cousin."
Here it may be explained that in reality their kinship was of the
slightest, a mere dash of blood that came to her through her mother.
Still they called each other thus, since it is a convenient title that
may mean much or nothing.
"Oh! why not?" she answered in her rich, slow tones, that had in them
some foreign quality, something soft and sweet as the caress of a
southern wind at night. "With you, Cousin," and she glanced approvingly
at his stalwart, soldier-like form, "I have nothing to fear from men,
however rough, and I do greatly want to see the king close by, and so
does Betty. Don't you, Betty?" and she turned to her companion.
Betty Dene, whom she addressed, was also a cousin of Margaret, though
only a distant connection of Peter Brome. She was of very good blood,
but her father, a wild and dissolute man, had broken her mother's heart,
and, like that mother, died early, leaving Betty dependent upon
Margaret's mother, in whose house she had been brought up. This Betty
was in her way remarkable, both in body and mind. Fair, splendidly
formed, strong, with wide, bold, blue eyes and ripe red lips, such was
the fashion of her. In speech she was careless and vigorous. Fond of the
society of men, and fonder still of their admiration, for she was
romantic and vain, Betty at the age of five-and-twenty was yet an
honest girl, and well able to take care of herself, as more than one of
her admirers had discovered. Although her position was humble, at heart
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