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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Way Of An Eagle - Part 3 - Chapter 19. A Hero Worshipper
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The Way Of An Eagle - Part 3 - Chapter 19. A Hero Worshipper Post by :mkhera Category :Long Stories Author :Ethel May Dell Date :May 2012 Read :3382

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The Way Of An Eagle - Part 3 - Chapter 19. A Hero Worshipper


"Well played! Oh, well played! Miss Roscoe, you're a brick."

The merry voice of the doctor's little daughter Olga, aged fourteen, shrilled across the hockey-ground, keen with enthusiasm. She was speeding across the field like a hare to congratulate her latest recruit.

"I'm so pleased!" she cried, bursting through the miscellaneous crowd of boys and girls that surrounded Muriel. "I wanted you to shoot that goal."

She herself had been acting as goal-keeper at her own end of the field, a position of limited opportunities which she had firmly refused to assign to the new-comer. A child of unusual character was Olga Ratcliffe, impulsive but shrewd, with quick, pale eyes which never seemed to take more than a brief glance at anything, yet which very little ever escaped. At first sight Muriel had experienced a certain feeling of aversion to her, so marked was the likeness this child bore to the man whom she desired so passionately to shut out of her very memory. But a nearer intimacy had weakened her antipathy till very soon it had altogether disappeared. Olga had a swift and fascinating fashion of endearing herself to all who caught her fancy and, somewhat curiously, Muriel was one of the favoured number. What there was to attract a child of her quick temperament in the grave, silent girl in mourning who held aloof so coldly from the rest of the world was never apparent. But that a strong attraction existed for her was speedily evident, and Muriel, who was quite destitute of any near relations of her own, soon found that a free admittance to the doctor's home circle was accorded her on all sides, whenever she chose to avail herself of it.

But though Daisy was an immense favourite and often ran into the Ratcliffes' house, which was not more than a few hundred yards away from her own little abode, Muriel went but seldom. The doctor's wife, though always kind, was too busy to seek her out. And so it had been left to the doctor himself to drag her at length from her seclusion, and he had done it with a determination that would take no refusal. She did not know him very intimately, had never asked his advice, or held any confidential talk with him. At the outset she had been horribly afraid lest he should have heard of her engagement to Nick, but, since he never referred to her life in India or to Nick as in any fashion connected with herself, this fear had gradually subsided. She was able to tell herself thankfully that Nick was dropping away from her into the past, and to hope with some conviction that the great gulf that separated them would never be bridged.

Yet, notwithstanding this, she had a fugitive wish to know how her late comrade in adversity was faring. Captain Grange's news regarding him had aroused in her a vague uneasiness, which would not be quieted.

She wondered if by any means she could extract any information from Olga, and this she presently essayed to do, when play was over for the day and Olga had taken her upstairs to prepare for tea.

Olga was the easiest person in the world to deal with upon such a subject. She expanded at the very mention of Nick's name.

"Oh, do you know him? Isn't he a darling? I have a photograph of him somewhere. I must try and find it. He is in fancy dress and standing on his head--such a beauty. Weren't you awfully fond of him? He has been ill, you know. Dad was very waxy because he wouldn't come home. He might have had sick leave, but he wouldn't take it. However, he may have to come yet, Dad says, if something happens. He didn't say what. It was something to do with his wound. Dad wants him to leave the Army and settle down on his estate. He owns a big place about twelve miles away that an old great-aunt of his left him. Dad thinks a landowner ought to live at home if he can afford to. And of course Nick might go into Parliament too. He's so clever, and rich as well. But he won't do it. So it's no good talking."

Olga jumped off the dressing-table, and wound her arm impulsively through Muriel's. "Miss Roscoe," she said coaxingly, "I do like you most awfully. May I call you by your Christian name?"

"Why, do!" Muriel said. "I should like it best."

"Oh, that's all right," said Olga, well pleased. "I knew you weren't stuck-up really. I hate stuck-up people, don't you? I'm awfully pleased that you like Nick. I simply love him--better almost than any one else. He writes to me sometimes, pages and pages. I never show them to any one, and he doesn't show mine either. You see, we're pals. But I can show you his photograph--the one I told you about. It's just like him--his grin and all. Come up after tea, and I'll find it."

And with her arm entwined in Muriel's she drew her, still talking eagerly, from the room.

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PART III CHAPTER XVIII. THE EXPLANATION"Now," said Daisy briskly, "you two will just have to entertain each other for a little while, for I am going up to sit with my son while _ayah is off duty." "Mayn't we come too?" suggested her cousin, as he rose to open the door. She stood a moment and contemplated him with shining eyes. "You are too magnificent altogether for this doll's house of ours," she declared. "I am sure this humble roof has never before sheltered such a lion as Captain Blake Grange, V.C." "Only an ass in a lion's skin, my dear