“At least ma mere is my mother,” said Verty; “and if I am not an Indian, I don’t know what I am. You know,” he added, “I can’t be like a deer in the woods, that nobody knows anything about.”
Redbud smiled; then, after a moment’s thought, said:
“I don’t think you are an Indian, Verty.”
And as she spoke, the young girl absently passed the coral necklace, we have spoken of, backward and forward between her lips.
“I don’t know,” he said, at last; “but I know it was very good in God to give me such a kind mother as ma mere; and such friends as you all. I’m afraid I am not good myself.”
Redbud passed the necklace through her fingers thoughtfully.
“That is pretty,” said Verty, looking at it. “I think I have seen it somewhere before.”
Redbud replied with a smile:
“Yes, I generally wear it; but I was thinking how strange your life was, Verty.”
And she looked kindly and softly with her frank eyes at the young man, who was playing with the beads of the necklace.
“Yes,” he replied, “and that is just why I ought to be thankful. If I was somebody’s son, you know, everybody would know me—but I aint, and yet, everybody is kind. I often try to be thankful, and I believe I am,” he added; “but then I’m often sinful. The other day, I believe I would have shot Mr. Jinks—that was very wrong; yes, I know that was very wrong.”
And Verty shook his head sadly.
“Then I am angry sometimes,” he said, “though not often.”
“Not very often, I know,” said Redbud, softly; “you are very sweet tempered and amiable.”
“Do you think so, Redbud?”
“Yes, indeed,” smiled Redbud.
“I’m glad you think so; I thought I was not enough; but I have been talking about myself too much, which, Miss Lavinia says, is wrong. But, indeed, Redbud, I’ll try and be good in future—look! there is Fanny quarreling with Ralph!”
They rose, and approached the parties indicated, who were, however, not more quarrelsome than usual: Fanny was only struggling with Ralph for the string of the kite. The contention ended in mutual laughter; and as a horn at that moment sounded for the servants to stop work for dinner, the party determined to return to Apple Orchard.
The kite was tied to a root, and they returned homeward.
DAYS THAT ARE NO MORE.
“Oh!” cried Fanny, as they were again walking upon the smooth meadow, in the afternoon, “I think we ought to go and get some apples!”
“And so do I,” said Ralph.
“Of course, I expected you to agree with me, sir.”
“Naturally; I always do.”
This observation was remotely satirical, and Miss Fanny resented it.
“You are the most contentious person I ever knew,” she said.