“I see you speak French.”
“That ain’t French.”
“No? Then it’s something else. Going up there?”
“Yes,” said Verty.
“Fine turkey that. For the old lady?”
“Who’s the old lady?”
“Old Mrs. Scowley—a model of the divine sex, sir.”
“No, it ain’t for her,” said Verty, smiling.
“For Miss Sallianna?”
“I see, sir, that you are not acquainted with this still more divine specimen of the—hum—I said that once before. Miss Sallianna, sir, is the beautiful sister of the respected Scowley.”
“And who is here besides, if you please?” said Verty.
“A number of charming young ladies, sir. It is a seminary, sir,—an abode of science and accomplishments generally, sir;—the delights of philosophy, sir, take up their chosen dwelling here, and—stop! there’s my soul’s idol! Jinks will never have another!”
And Mr. Jinks kissed his hand, and grimaced at a young lady who appeared at the gate, with a book in her hand.
This young lady was Redbud.
HOW VERTY DISCOVERED IN HIMSELF A GREAT FONDNESS FOR APPLES.
Verty threw himself from his horse, and ran forward toward Redbud with an expression of so much joy, that even Longears perceived it; and, in the excess of his satisfaction, reared up on Mr. Jinks, claiming his sympathy.
Mr. Jinks brushed his clothes, and protested, frowning. Verty did not hear him, however—he was at the gate with Redbud.
“Oh!” he cried, “how glad I am to see you! What in the world made you come here, Redbud, and stay away from me so long!”
Redbud blushed, and murmured something.
“Never mind,” said Verty; “I’m so glad to see you, that I won’t quarrel.”
And he pressed the little hand which he held with such ardor, that Redbud blushed more than ever.
But she had scarcely uttered a word—scarcely smiled on him. What did it mean? Poor Verty’s face began to be overclouded.
What did it mean. That is not a very difficult question to us, however much it might have puzzled Verty. It meant that Miss Lavinia had suggested to Redbud the impropriety of remaining on terms of cordiality and friendship with a young gentleman, who, after the fashion of all youths, in all ages of the world, was desperately anxious to become some young lady’s husband. It meant that the “lecture” of this great female philosopher had produced its effect,—that Miss Redbud had waked to a consciousness of the fact, that she was a “young lady,” and that her demeanor toward Verty was improper.
Before, she had thought that there was no great impropriety in running to meet the forest boy, with whom she had played for years, and whom she knew so very well. Now this was changed. Cousin Lavinia saw a decided impropriety in her meeting Verty with a bright smile, and giving him her hand, and saying, in her frank, affectionate voice: “Oh! I’m so glad to see you!” Of course, cousin Lavinia knew all about it; and it was very dreadful in her to have been treating Verty with so little ceremony—very, very dreadful. Was she not growing up, and even did she not wear long dresses? Was such conduct in a lady of sixteen proper?