At this dreadful threat, Verty retreated from the door. The idea of not seeing Redbud for a year was horrible.
“Will you come down, Redbud, if I go?” he asked.
Voices heard in debate.
“Say?” said Verty.
After a pause, the voice which had before spoken, said:
“Yes; go down and wait ten minutes.”
Verty heaved a sigh, and slowly descended to the hall again. As he disappeared, the door opened, and the face of Fanny was seen carefully watching the enemy’s retreat. Then the young girl turned to Redbud, and, clapping her hands, cried:
“Did you ever!—what an impudent fellow! But you promised, Reddy! Come, let me fix your hair!”
Redbud sighed, and assented.
IN WHICH REDBUD SUPPRESSES HER FEELINGS AND BEHAVES WITH DECORUM.
In ten minutes, as she promised, Fanny descended with Redbud,—her arm laced around the slender waist of that young lady, as is the wont with damsels,—and ready to give battle to our friend Verty, upon any additional provocation, with even greater zest than before.
Redbud presented a singular contrast to her companion. Fanny, smiling, and full of glee, seemed only to have become merrier and brighter for her “cry”—like an April landscape after a rain. Redbud, on the contrary, was still sad, and oppressed from the events of the morning; and, indeed, could scarcely return Verty’s greeting without emotion.
Resplendent in his elegant plum-colored coat—with stockings, long embroidered waistcoat, and scarlet ribbon tied around his powdered hair, Verty came forward to meet his innamorata, as joyous and careless as ever, and, figuratively speaking, with open arms.
What was his surprise to find that no smile replied to his own. Redbud’s face was calm—almost cold; she repelled him even when he held out his hand, and only gave him the tips of her fingers, which, for any warmth or motion in them, might have been wood or marble.
Poor Verty drew back, and colored. Redbud change toward him!—no longer care for him! What could this frigid manner with which she met him, mean;—why this cool and distant bow, in reply to his enthusiastic greeting?
Poor Verty sat down disconsolately, gazing at Redbud. He could not understand. Then his glance questioned Miss Fanny, who sat with a prim and demure affectation of stateliness, on the opposite side of the room. There was no explanation here either.
While Verty was thus gazing silently, and with growing embarrassment, at the two young girls, Redbud, with a beating heart, and trembling lips, played with the tassel of the sofa-cushion, and studied the figure of the carpet.
Fanny came to the rescue of the expiring conversation, and seizing forcibly upon the topic of the weather, inserted that useful wedge into the rapidly closing crack, and waited for Verty to strike the first blow.