Verty, who had received all Mr. Jinks’ threats and gesticulations with great unconcern, applied himself to conversation with Redbud again: and no doubt would have conversed all the evening, but for Ralph. Ralph drew him away, pointing to the damp clothes; and with many smiles, they took their leave.
The last thing the young men observed, was Mr. Jinks supporting Miss Sallianna, who had fainted a second time, and raising his despairing eyes to heaven.
They burst out laughing, and continued their way.
VERTY’S HEART GOES AWAY IN A CHARIOT.
Verty remained hard at work all the next day; and such was the natural quickness of the young man’s mind, that he seemed to learn something every hour, in spite of the preoccupation which, as the reader may imagine, his affection for our little heroine occasioned.
Roundjacket openly expressed his satisfaction at the result of the day’s labor, and hazarded a sly observation that Verty would not, on the next day, remain so long at his desk, or accomplish so much. They could not complain, however, Mr. Roundjacket said; Verty was a scion of the woods, a tamed Indian, and nothing was more natural than his propensity to follow the bent of his mind, when fancy seized him. They must make allowances—he had no doubt, in time, everything would turn out well—yes, Verty would be an honorable member of society, and see the graces and attraction of the noble profession which he had elected for his support.
Verty received these friendly words—which were uttered between many chuckles of a private and dignified character—with dreamy silence; then bowing to Mr. Roundjacket, mounted Cloud, called Longears, and rode home.
On the following morning events happened pretty much as Mr. Roundjacket had predicted.
Verty wrote for some moments—then stopped; then wrote again for one moment—then twirled, bit, and finally threw down his pen.
Roundjacket chuckled, and observed that there was much injustice done him in not elevating him to the dignity of prophet. And then he mildly inquired if Verty would not like to take a ride.
Yes, Verty would like very much to do so. And in five minutes the young man was riding joyfully toward the Bower of Nature.
Sad news awaited him.
Redbud had suffered seriously from her wetting in the storm. First, she had caught a severe cold—this had continued to increase—then this cold had resulted in a fever, which threatened to confine her for a long time.
Poor Verty’s head drooped, and he sighed so deeply that Fanny, who communicated this intelligence, felt an emotion of great pity.
Could’nt he see Redbud?
Fanny thought not; he might, however, greet her as she passed through the town. Word had been sent to Apple Orchard of her sickness, and the carriage was no doubt now upon its way to take her thither. There it was now—coming through the willows!