--talking in a low tone--that they seemed for a time unconscious of the presence of Aster and Roland. When the host did raise his head he simply gave a cold bow to Roland; and then bestowed a sharp glance upon his daughter. Nor was the rudeness of the host to end here. Turning his back upon Roland he said:
'Mr. Ham and I have been discussing the Marsh, and he thinks that I had better go on with the drainage.'
'It will bring in two years all the money expended in reclaiming it,' put in Mr. Ham. 'Don't you think so, Aster?'
'I don't know, Mr. Ham; I really know very little about such matters.' At this juncture Roland's temper was asserting itself under the slight by the rude parent; so he stepped in among the trio, and looking the girl in the face, said:
'You are quite right, Aster, not to bother your head about bogs and swamps. Let the men attend to all that.' The father was simply amazed; and drawing himself up to his full height he frowned upon the young man. He said nothing, however, and to brea