The Beautiful Wretch; The Pupil of Aurelius; and The Four Macnicols
#### CHAPTER I.
##### SINGING SAL.
On a certain golden afternoon in August, when the sea was as still and radiant as the vaulted blue
overhead, and when the earth was lying so hushed and silent that you would have thought it was listening for the chirp of the small birds among the gorse, a young girl of about seventeen or so was walking over the downs that undulate, wave on wave, from Newhaven all along the coast to Brighton. This young lady was tall for her age; slim of form; and she had a graceful carriage; her face was fair and markedly freckled; her nose was piquant rather than classical; her hair, which was of a ruddy gold hue, was rebellious, and strayed about her ears and neck in accidental wisps and rings: her grayish or gray-blue eyes were reserved and thoughtful rather than shrewd and observant. No, she was not beautiful; but she had a face that attracted interest; and though her look was timid and retiring, nevertheless her eyes could, on occasion, light up with a sudden humour that was inclined to be sarcastic. So busy, indeed, was she generally, on?