34 Works of Ethel May Dell
“It’s time I set about making my own living,” said Dot Burton.
She spoke resolutely, and her face was resolute also; its young lines were for the moment almost grim. She stood in the doorway of the stable, watching her brother rub down the animal he had just been riding. Behind her the rays [...]
“If he comes my way, I’ll shoot him!” said Dot Burton, her blue eyes gleaming in her boyish, tanned face. “I’m not such a bad shot, am I, Jack?”
“Not so bad,” said Jack, kindly. “But don’t shoot at sight, or p’r’aps you’ll shoot a policeman–which might be awkward for us both!”
“As if I should be [...]
It had been a hot day at the Law Courts, but a faint breeze had sprung up with the later hours, blowing softly over the river. It caught the tassel of the blind by which Field sat and tapped it against the window-frame, at first gently like a child at play, then with gathering [...]
“We have been requested to announce that the marriage arranged between Viscount Merrivale and Miss Hilary St. Orme will not take place.”
Viscount Merrivale was eating his breakfast when he chanced upon this announcement. He was late that morning, and, contrary to custom, was skimming through the paper at the same time. But the paragraph brought [...]
A high laugh rang with a note of childlike merriment from the far end of the coffee-room as Bernard Merefleet, who was generally considered a bear on account of his retiring disposition, entered and took his seat near the door. It was a decidedly infectious laugh and perhaps for this reason it was the [...]
“Well, it’s all over now, for better, for worse, as they say. And I hope very much as it won’t be for worse.”
A loud sniff expressive of grave misgiving succeeded the remark. The speaker–one of a knot of village women–edged herself a little further forward to look up the long strip of red baize [...]
“So you don’t want to marry me?” said Earl Wyverton.
He said it by no means bitterly. There was even the suggestion of a smile on his clean-shaven face. He looked down at the girl who stood before him, with eyes that were faintly quizzical. She was bending at the moment to cut a tall Madonna [...]
“Ah! She’s off!”
A deafening blast came from the great steamship’s siren, and a long sigh went up from the crowd upon the quay. Someone raised a cheer that was quickly drowned in the noise of escaping steam. Very slowly, almost imperceptibly, the vessel began to move.
A black gap appeared, and widened between her and the [...]
A PROMISE OF MARRIAGE
The band was playing very softly, very dreamily; it might have been a lullaby. The girl who stood on the balcony of the great London house, with the moonlight pouring full upon her, stooped, and nervously, fumblingly, picked up a spray of syringa that had fallen from among the flowers on [...]
Was the water blue, or was it purple that day? Randal Courteney stretched his lazy length on the shady side of the great natural breakwater that protected Hurley Bay from the Atlantic rollers, and wondered. It was a day in late September, but the warmth of it was as a dream of summer returned. The [...]
HOPE AND THE MAGICIAN
They lived in the rotten white bungalow at the end of the valley–Hope and the Magician. It stood in a neglected compound that had once been a paradise, when a certain young officer belonging to the regiment of Sikhs then stationed in Ghantala had taken it and made of it a dainty [...]
“I really don’t know why I accepted him. But somehow it was done before I knew. He waltzes so divinely that it intoxicates me, and then I naturally cease to be responsible for my actions.”
Doris Fielding leant back luxuriously, her hands clasped behind her head.
“I can’t think what he wants to marry me [...]
“Now then, you fellows, step out there! Step out like the men you are! Left–right! Left–right! That’s the way! Holy Jupiter! Call those chaps savages! They’re gentlemen, every jack one of ‘em. That’s it, my hearties! Salute the old flag! By Jove, Monty, a British squad couldn’t have done it better!”
The speaker pushed back his [...]
A great shout of applause went through the crowded hall as the Dragon-Fly Dance came to an end, and the Dragon-Fly, with quivering, iridescent wings, flashed away.
It was the third encore. The dance was a marvellous one, a piece of dazzling intricacy, of swift and unexpected subtleties, of almost superhuman grace. It must [...]
A TIGHT PLACE
“Shoulder to shoulder, boys! Give it ‘em straight! There’s no going back this journey.” And the speaker slapped his thigh and laughed.
He was penned in a hot corner with a handful of grinning little Goorkhas, as ready and exultant as himself. He had no earthly business in that particular spot. But he had [...]
A SEQUEL TO “THE SWINDLER”
Which I Dedicate to the Friend Who Asked for it.
“Yes, but what’s the good of it?” said Cynthia Mortimer gently. “I can never marry you.”
“You might be engaged to me for a bit, anyhow,” he urged, “and see how you like it.”
She made a quaint gesture with her arms, as though [...]
Wherein a woman with a love of freedom, two soldiers in the Indian Army, and a snake-bite are most intimately concerned.
“And that is the major’s bride? Ah, what a pity!”
The soft, Irish eyes of Mrs. Raleigh, the surgeon’s wife, looked across the ball-room with a very real compassion in their grey depths.
“Pity?” said [...]
“When you come to reflect that there are only a few planks between you and the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, it makes you feel sort of pensive.”
“I beg your pardon?”
The stranger, smoking his cigarette in the lee of the deck-cabins, turned his head sharply in the direction of the voice. He encountered the wide, [...]
The Eleventh Hour
HIS OWN GROUND
“Oh, to be a farmer’s wife!”
Doris Elliot paused, punt-pole in hand, to look across a field of corn-sheaves with eyes of shining appreciation.
Her companion, stretched luxuriously on his back on a pile of cushions, smiled a contemplative smile and made no comment.
The girl’s look came down to him after a [...]
Those Who Wait
A faint draught from the hills found its way through the wide-flung door as the sun went down. It fluttered the papers on the table, and stirred a cartoon upon the wall with a dry rustling as of wind in corn.
The man who sat at the table turned his face as it were [...]
“He hasn’t proposed, then?”
“No; he hasn’t.” A pause; then, reluctantly: “I haven’t given him the opportunity.”
“Violet! Do you want to starve?”
The speaker turned in his chair, and looked at the girl bending over the fire, with a quick, impatient frown on his handsome face. They were twins, these two, the only representatives of a family [...]
“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues; and they repented not to give Him glory.”
The droning voice quivered and fell silent. [...]
“And you will come back, Jim? Promise! Promise!”
“Of course, darling–of course! There! Don’t cry! Can’t you see it’s a chance in a thousand? I’ve never had such a chance before.”
The sound of a woman’s low sobbing was audible in the silence that followed; and a man who was leaning on the sea-wall above, started and [...]
“It is well known that those fight hardest who fight in vain,” remarked Lord Ronald Prior complacently. “But I should have thought a woman of your intellect would have known better. It’s such a rank waste of energy to struggle against Fate.”
He spoke in the easy drawl habitual to him. His grey eyes held the [...]
THE AMERICAN COUSIN
“My dear child, it’s absurd to be romantic over such a serious matter as marriage–the greatest mistake, I assure you. Nothing could be more suitable than an alliance with this very eligible young man. He plainly thinks so himself. If you are so unreasonable as to throw away this magnificent chance, I shall [...]
“Of course, I know that a quiet, well-meanin’ fool like myself hasn’t much of a chance with women, but I just thought I’d give you the opportunity of refusin’ me, and then we should know where we were.”
It was leisurely uttered, and without any hint of agitation. The speaker was lying on his back at [...]
Pierre Dumaresq stood gazing out to the hard blue line of the horizon with a frown between his brows. The glare upon the water was intense, but he stared into it with fixed, unflinching eyes, unconscious of discomfort.
He held a supple riding-switch in his hands, at which his fingers strained and twisted continually, as though [...]
The Poor Relation hoisted one leg over the arm of his chair, and gazed contemplatively at the ceiling.
“Now, I wonder whom I ought to scrag for this,” he mused aloud.
A crumpled newspaper lay under his hand, a certain paragraph uppermost that was strongly scored with red ink. He had read it twice already and [...]
Rufus the Red sat on the edge of his boat with his hands clasped between his knees, staring at nothing. His nets were spread to dry in the sun; the morning’s work was done. Most of the other men had lounged into their cottages for the midday meal, but the massive red giant [...]
The persistent chirping of a sparrow made it almost harder to bear. Lady Brooke finally rose abruptly from the table, her black brows drawn close together, and swept to the window to scare the intruder away.
“I really have not the smallest idea what your objections can be,” she observed, pausing with her back to the [...]
It was growing very dark. The decks gleamed wet in the light of the swinging lamps. The wind howled across the sea like a monster in torment. It would be a fearful night.
The man who stood clutching at the slanting deck rail was drenched from head to foot, but, despite this fact, he had no [...]
“Well played, Hone! Oh, well played indeed!”
A great roar of applause went up from the polo-ground like the surge and wash of an Atlantic roller. The regimental hero was distinguishing himself–a state of affairs by no means unusual, for success always followed Hone. His luck was proverbial in the regiment, as sure and as deeply-rooted [...]
“Oh, I’m going to be Lady Jane Grey,” said Charlie Cleveland, balancing himself on the deck-rail in front of his friends, Mrs. Langdale and Mollie Erle, with considerable agility. “And, Mollie, I say, will you lend me a black silk skirt? I saw you were wearing one last night.”
He spoke with complete seriousness. It was [...]
A low whistle floated through the slumbrous silence and died softly away among the sand-dunes.
The man who sat in the little wooden summer-house that faced the sea raised his head from his hand and stared outwards. The signal had scarcely penetrated to his inner consciousness, but it had vaguely disturbed his train of thought. His [...]