Poor Redbud’s resolutions all melted—Verty’s voice did it all—she blushed and nodded, and said yes, she should like very much to have some apples.
“Then you may go,” said the ogress, somewhat mollified, “but don’t touch the small trees—I’m keeping them.”
“Not for worlds!” said Verty.
“No, ma’am,” said Redbud.
And they crossed the lawn, and opening the gate of the spacious and well-kept garden, passed in under the apple boughs. As for Mr. Jinks, he accompanied Mrs. Scowley to the house, bowing, grimacing, ambling, and making himself generally agreeable. True, he resembled a grasshopper, standing erect, and going through the steps of a minuet; but there was much elegance in Mr. Jinks’ evolutions, and unbounded elasticity of limb. He entered with Mrs. Scowley; and there, for the present, we shall leave him.
HOW STREPHON TALKED WITH CHLOE IN AN ARBOR.
It was a beautiful garden which Verty and Redbud entered, hand in hand;—one of those old pleasure-grounds which, with their grass and flowers, and long-armed trees, laden with fruit or blossoms, afford such a grateful retreat to the weary or the sorrowful. The breath of the world comes not into such places—all its jar and tumult and turmoil, faint, die and disappear upon the flower-enameled threshold; and the cool breath of the bright heavens fans no longer wrinkled foreheads and compressed lips. All care passes from us in these fairy-land retreats; and if we can be happy any where, it is there.
We said that Verty and Redbud entered, hand in hand, and this may serve to show that the young pupil of Miss Lavinia had not profited much by the lessons of her mentor.
In truth, Redbud began to return to her childhood, which she had promised herself to forget; and, as a result of this change of feeling, she became again the friend and playfellow of her childhood’s friend, and lost sight, completely, of the “young lady” theory. True, she did not run on, as the phrase is, with Verty, as in the old days—her manner had far more softness in it—she was more quiet and reserved; but still, those constrained, restless looks were gone, and when Verty laughed, the winning smile came to the little face; and the small hand which he had taken was suffered to rest quietly in his own.
They strolled under the trees, and Verty picked up some of the long yellow-rinded apples, which, lay upon the ground under the trees, and offered them to Redbud.
“I didn’t want the apples,” he said, smiling, “I wanted to see you, Redbud, for I’ve not felt right since you went away. Oh, it’s been so long—so long!”
“Only a few days,” said Redbud, returning the smile.
“But you know a few days is a very long time, when you want to see anybody very much.”
Redbud returned his frank smile, and said, with a delicious little prim expression: