“Yes,” she said.
“Give my love to her,” said the young man, “and tell her I’m coming to see her very soon—just as quick as I can get off from this dull old place.”
Which words were accompanied by a smile, directed toward Roundjacket. As to Miss Lavinia, she stood aghast at Verty’s extraordinary communication, and for some moments could not get words to express her feelings.
Finally she said, solemnly—
“How—have you been—”
“To see Redbud, ma’am?”
“I’ve been once,” Verty said, “and I’m going again.”
Miss Lavinia’s face assumed a dignified expression of reproof, and she gazed at the young man in silence. This look, however, was far from daunting him, and he returned it with the most fascinating smile.
“The fact is, Miss Lavinia,” he added, “Redbud wants somebody to talk to up there. Old Scowley, you know, is’nt agreeable, at least, I should’nt think she was; and Miss Sallianna is all the time, I reckon, with Mr. Jinks. I did’nt see any scholars with Redbud; but there ARE some there, because you know Redbud’s pigeon had a paper round his neck, with some words on it, all about how ‘Fanny’ had given him to her; and so there’s a ‘Fanny’ somewhere—don’t you think so? But I forgot, you don’t know about the pigeon—do you?”
Miss Lavinia was completely astounded. “Old Scowley,” “Mr. Jinks,” “pigeon,” “paper round his neck,” and “Fanny,”—all these objects were inextricably mingled in her unfortunate brain, and she could not disentangle them from each other, or discover the least clue to the labyrinth. She, therefore, gazed at Verty with more overwhelming dignity than ever, and not deigning to make any reply to his rhapsody, sailed by with a stiff inclination of the head, toward the door. But Verty was growing gallant under Mr. Roundjacket’s teaching. He rose with great good humor, and accompanied Miss Lavinia to her carriage—he upon one side, the gallant head clerk on the other—and politely assisted the lady into her chariot, all the time smiling in a manner which was pleasant to behold.
His last words, as the door closed and the chariot drove off, were—
“Recollect, Miss Lavinia, please don’t forget to give my love to Redbud!”
Having impressed this important point upon Miss Lavinia, Verty returned to the office, with the sighing Roundjacket, humming one of his old Indian airs, and caressing Longears.
MR. JINKS AT HOME.
The young man sat down at his desk, and began to write. But this occupation did not seem to amuse him, and, in a few moments, he threw away the pen he was writing with, and demanded another from Mr. Roundjacket.
That gentleman complied, and made him a new one.
Verty wrote for five minutes with the new one; and then split it deplorably. Mr. Roundjacket heard the noise, and protested against such carelessness.