Redbud shook her head with a sorrowful expression.
“I don’t think I can,” she said. “I’m so sorry!”
“Don’t think you can!”
“Not read the Bible to me?” Verty said, smiling.
“I’m going away.”
“Going away!—you going away? Oh no! Redbud, you mus’nt; for you know I can’t possibly get along without you, because I like you so much.”
“Hum!” said Miss Lavinia, who seemed to be growing more and more dissatisfied with the interview.
“I must go, though,” Redbud said, sorrowfully, “I can’t stay.”
“Go where?” asked the boy. “I’ll follow you. Where are you going?”
“Stop, Verty!” here interposed Miss Lavinia, with dignity. “It is not a matter of importance where Redbud is going—and you must not follow her, as you promise. You must not ask her where she is going.”
Verty gazed at Miss Lavinia with profound astonishment, and was about to reply, when a voice was heard at the door, and all turned round.
Introduces A legal Porcupine.
This was the voice of the Squire. It came just in time to create a diversion.
“Why, there are my antlers!” cried the good-humored Squire. “Look, Rushton! did you ever see finer!”
“Often,” growled a voice in reply; and the Squire and his companion entered.
Mr. Rushton was a rough-looking gentleman of fifty or fifty-five, with a grim expression about the compressed lips, and heavy grey eyebrows, from beneath which rolled two dark piercing eyes. His hair was slowly retreating, and thought or care had furrowed his broad brow from temple to temple. He was clad with the utmost rudeness, and resembled nothing so much as a half-civilized bear.
He nodded curtly to Miss Lavinia, and took no notice whatever of either Redbud or Verty.
“Why, thank for the antlers, Verty!” said the good-humored Squire. “I saw Cloud, and knew you were here, but I had no idea that you had brought me the horns.”
And the Squire extended his hand to Verty, who took it with his old dreamy smile.
“I could have brought a common pair any day,” he said, “but I promised the best, and there they are. Oh, Squire!” said Verty, smiling, “what a chase I had! and what a fight with him! He nearly had me under him once, and the antlers you see there came near ploughing up my breast and letting out my heart’s blood! They just grazed—he tried to bite me—but I had him by the horn with my left hand, and before a swallow could flap his wings, my knife was in his throat!”
As Verty spoke, his eyes became brighter, his lips more smiling, and pushing his tangled curls back from his face, he bestowed his amiable glances even upon Miss Lavinia.
Mr. Rushton scowled.
“What do you mean by saying this barbarous fight was pleasant?” he asked.