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THE hay in the paddock not far from the diningroom windows had been well tossed and spread while Mr. Grange and his friends were at breakfast, and long ere one o'clock a hot sun had drawn from it every drop of the heavy rain by which it was drenched during the thunderstorm of the night before. Mary Melville, with a light fork assisting, was now directing some field girls where to place it. She had thought--for her cousin had given her leave to do as she pleased with the hay --of making a circle of hillocks with a bare space in the centre for the luncheon, but the stiffness of this arrangement vexed her eye before it was completed, and so she ordered the hillocks to be scattered about the grass in picturesque confusion.
“One can't flirt freely when the whole party sit face to face as at a round dinner-table,” she explained to Polly when the latter joined her to assist in the preparations.
Polly looked hot, and wondered if Mr. Eagle would return from Linbrook in time to flirt with her.
A not too densely-foliaged oak cast a pleasant shade over the greater part of the ground occupied by the hay