The silent lady, unperturbed by these apparently exciting topics, scrutinized my aunt's costume with a singular intensity, and was visibly moved when she unbuttoned her dust cloak and flung it wide. Meanwhile, we men conversed, one of the more spirited daughters listened brightly, and the youths lay on the grass at our feet. My uncle offered them cigars, but they both declined,—out of bashfulness it seemed to me, whereas the vicar, I think, accepted out of tact. When we were not looking at them directly, these young men would kick each other furtively.
Under the influence of my uncle's cigar, the vicar's mind had soared beyond the limits of the district. "This Socialism," he said, "seems making great headway."
My uncle shook his head. "We're too individualistic in this country for that sort of nonsense," he said. "Everybody's business is nobody's business. That's where they go wrong."
"They have some intelligent people in their ranks, I am told," said the vicar, "writers and so forth. Quite a distinguished playwright, my eldest daughter was telling me—I forget his name. Milly dear! Oh! she's not here. Painters too, they have. This Socialism it seems to me is part of the Unrest of the Age. . . . But, as you say, the spirit of the people is against it. In the country at any rate. The people down here are too sturdily independent in their small way,—and too sensible altogether." . . .
"It's a great thing for Duffield to have Lady Grove occupied again," he was saying when my wandering attention came back from some attractive casualty in his wife's discourse. "People have always looked up to the house—and considering all things, old Mr.