“Oh!” said Redbud, “there’s school. Playtime’s over.”
“Over?” said Verty, with an exhibition of decided ill-humor.
“Yes, sir,” said Miss Sallianna, “and my young pupil must now return to her studies. Mr. Jinks—”
And the lady threw a languishing glance on her cavalier.
“You will come soon again, and continue our discussion—of—of—the beauties of nature? We are very lonely here.”
“Will I come?” cried the enthusiastic Jinks; and having thus displayed, by the tone in which his words were uttered, the depth of his devotion, the grasshopper gentleman gallantly pressed the hand held out to him, and, with a lofty look, made his exit out of the garden.
Verty followed. But first he said to Redbud, smiling:
“I’m going to see Miss Lavinia this very day, to ask her to let me come to see you. You know I must come to see you, Redbud. I don’t know why, but I must.”
Redbud blushed, and continued to caress Longears, who submitted to this ceremony with great equanimity.
“Come!” said Miss Sallianna, “let us return, Miss Summers.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Redbud; “good-bye, Verty,” she added, looking at the boy with her kind, smiling eyes, and lowering her voice, “remember what you promised me—to read your Bible.”
And smiling again, Redbud gave him her hand, and then followed Miss Sallianna, who sailed on before—her head resting languidly on one shoulder—her fan arranged primly upon her maiden chin—her eyes raised in contemplation to the sky.
Poor Verty smiled and sighed, and followed Redbud with his eyes, and saw her disappear—the kind, tender eyes fixed on him to the last. He sighed again, as she passed from his sight; and so left the garden. Mr. Jinks was swaggering amiably toward town—Cloud was standing, like a statue, where his master had left him. Verty, leaning one arm on the saddle, murmured:
“Really, Redbud is getting prettier than ever, and I wonder if I am what Mr. Roundjacket calls ‘in love’ with her?”
Finding himself unable to answer this question, Verty shook his head wisely, got into the saddle, and set forward toward the town, Longears following duly in his wake.
THE THIRTEENTH OF OCTOBER.
Just as the boy left the surburban residence of Miss Redbud, Mr. Roundjacket, who had been writing at his old dusty desk for an hour, raised his head, hearing a knock at the door.
He thrust the pen he had been using behind his ear, and bade the intruder “come in!”
One of the clients of Mr. Rushton made his appearance, and inquired for that gentleman. Mr. Roundjacket said that Mr. Rushton was “within,” and rose to go and summon him, the visitor meanwhile having seated himself.
Mr. Roundjacket tapped at the door of Mr. Rushton’s sanctum, but received no answer. He tapped louder—no reply. Somewhat irate at this, he kicked the door, and at the same moment opened it, preparing himself for the encounter.