THE GAMEKEEPERS DAUGHTER
doubtful sportsman, to drink Christmas in with mulled beer at the village tavern. She had heard her father remark afterwards that he wanted " to be within earshot of gunshot." So she wouldn't worry, for Tom wouldn't get the things after all.
After a time Nancy changed her mind. As in a dream, but not feeling a bit sleepy, she quickly donned her cloak, stealthily opened the kitchen door so as not to disturb the old lady, and hastened out into the night. Curiously enough, she didn't feel cold in the bleak air—and in her hurry she never even noticed she was without shoes or stockings.
In front of her was a man, and she quickened her pace. She soon overtook him—sooner than she expected, for dark clouds overshadowed the moon, and she was at his side before she knew it.
" Tom Grollins !" she exclaimed, breathless and indignant: " how dare you! I've caught you
" I'm not Tom Grollins," replied her companion in a deep, manly voice, in which a funny chuckle seemed to rumble.
For a moment the child hesitated. It certainly didn't sound like Tom Grollins's whiny treble, but then—perhaps he was pretending, so as to put her off.