"That lady can take care of herself," he said, and started off towards Leith, wondering how it was that Mr. Flint had not confided his recent political troubles to his daughter.
"That hoss is ugly, sure enough," said the farmer who had spoken before.
Victoria flew on, down the narrow road. After twenty strides she did not attempt to disguise from herself the fact that the five-year-old was in a frenzy of fear, and running away. Victoria had been run away with before, and having some knowledge of the animal she rode, she did not waste her strength by pulling on the curb, but sought rather to quiet him with her voice, which had no effect whatever. He was beyond appeal, his head was down, and his ears trembling backwards and straining for a sound of the terror that pursued him. The road ran through the forest, and Victoria reflected that the grade, on the whole, was downward to the East Tunbridge station, where the road crossed the track and took to the hills beyond. Once among them, she would be safe--he might run as far, as he pleased. But could she pass the station? She held a firm rein, and tried to keep her mind clear.
Suddenly, at a slight bend of the road, the corner of the little red building came in sight, some hundreds of yards ahead; and, on the side where it stood, in the clearing, was a white mass which Victoria recognized as a pile of lumber. She saw several men on the top of the pile, standing motionless; she heard one of them shout; the horse swerved, and she felt herself flung violently to the left.
Her first thought, after striking, was one of self-congratulation that her safety stirrup and habit had behaved properly. Before she could rise, a man was leaning over her--and in the instant she had the impression that he was a friend. Other people had had this impression of him on first acquaintance--his size, his genial, brick-red face, and his honest blue eyes all doubtless contributing.
"Are you hurt, Miss Flint?" he asked.
"Not in the least," she replied, springing to her feet to prove the contrary. What's become of my horse?"
"Two of the men have gone after him," he said, staring at her with undisguised but honest admiration. Whereupon he became suddenly embarrassed, and pulled out a handkerchief the size of a table napkin. "Let me dust you off."