“You?” said Verty, smiling.
“Yes, sir; I suppose it would do for me?”
“I don’t know.”
“I can tell you, dear,” said Ralph, “and I assure you the thing would not answer under any circumstances. Come, let us follow Miss Redbud.”
They all thanked the smiling old dame, and issuing from the cottage, took their way through the sparkling fields and along the wet paths toward home again. They reached the Bower of Nature just at twilight, and entering through the garden were about to pass in, when they were arrested by a spectacle on the rear portico, which brought a smile to every lip.
Mr. Jinks was on his knees before Miss Sallianna there.
HOW MR. JINKS REQUESTED RALPH TO HOLD HIM.
Our last view of Mr. Jinks was at Bousch’s tavern, when, mounting in a manner peculiar to himself behind Ralph, the warlike gentleman set out to take revenge.
He had ridden thus almost to the Bower of Nature; but on reaching the belt of willows at the foot of the hill, requested to be placed upon the earth, in order to make his toilet, to prepare himself for the coming interview, and for other reasons.
Ralph had laughed, and complied.
Mr. Jinks had seated himself upon a bank by the little stream—the same which we have seen the picnic party cross higher up—upon a log, and then drawing from his pocket a small mirror, he had proceeded to make his toilet.
This ceremony consisted in a scrupulous arrangement of his artificial locks—a cultivation of the warlike and chivalrous expression of countenance—and a general review of the state of his wardrobe.
He soon finished these ceremonies, and then continued his way toward the Bower of Nature.
He arrived just as Ralph had proposed the excursion to the young girls—consequently, some moments after the young fellow’s interview with Miss Sallianna—and entered with the air of a conqueror and a master.
History and tradition—from which, with the assistance of imagination, (nothing unusual,) our veritable narrative is drawn—history affords us no information in regard to what occurred at this interview between Mr. Jinks and Miss Sallianna.
That the interview would have been terrific, full of reproaches, drowned in tears, objurgations, and jealous ravings, is certainly no more than the words of Mr. Jinks would have led an impartial listener to believe. But Mr. Jinks was deep—knew women, as he often said, as well as need be—and therefore it is not at all improbable that the jealous ravings and other ceremonies were, upon reflection, omitted by Mr. Jinks, as in themselves unnecessary and a waste of time. The reader may estimate the probabilities, pro and con, for himself.
Whatever doubt exists, however, upon the subject of this interview—its character and complexion—no doubt at all can possibly attach to the picturesque denouement which we have referred to in the last lines of our last chapter.