Verty rose just as she finished, and Miss Fanny, with negligent ease, thanked him, and looked out of the window. Verty turned again toward Redbud. She was standing up—one hand resting upon the arm of the sofa, from which she had risen, the other placed upon her heart, as if to still its tumultuous beating.
Verty’s troubled glance fled to the tender, sorrowful face, and asked why she had risen. Redbud, suppressing her emotion by a powerful effort, said, almost coldly, that she felt unwell, and hoped he would let her go up stairs. Indeed, (with a trembling voice), she was—not well: he must excuse her; if—if—if he would—come again.
And finding her voice failing her, poor Redbud abruptly left the room, and running to her chamber, threw herself on the bed, and burst into a passion of tears.
She had obeyed Miss Lavinia.
Yes! with a throbbing heart, eyes full of tears, a tenderness toward her boy-playmate she had never felt before, she had preserved her calmness. Crying was not wrong she hoped—and that was left her.
So the child cried, and cried, until nature exhausted herself, and rested.
HOW MISS SALLIANNA FELL IN LOVE WITH VERTY.
Verty stood for a moment gazing at the door through which Redbud had disappeared, unable to speak or move. Astonishment, compassion, love, distress, by turns filled his mind; and standing there, on a fine October morning, the young man, with the clear sunshine streaming on him joyfully, took his first lesson in human distress—a knowledge which all must acquire at some period of their lives, sooner or later. His mixture of emotions may be easily explained. He was astonished at the extraordinary change in Redbud’s whole demeanor; he felt deep pity for the sickness which she had pleaded as an excuse for leaving him. Love and distress clasped hands in his agitated heart, as he threw a backward glance over the short interview which they had just held—and all these feelings mingling together, and struggling each for the mastery, made the young man’s bosom heave, his forehead cloud over, and his lips shake with deep, melancholy sighs.
Utterly unable to explain the coldness which Redbud had undoubtedly exhibited, he could only suffer in silence.
Then, after some moments’ thought, the idea occurred to him that Miss Fanny—the smiling, obliging, the agreeable Miss Fanny—might clear up the mystery, so he turned round toward her; but as he did so, the young girl passed by him with stately dignity, and requesting, in a cold tone, to be excused, as she was going to attend to her friend, Miss Summers, sailed out of the room and disappeared.
Verty looked after her with deeper astonishment than before. Then everybody disliked him—everybody avoided him: no doubt he had been guilty of some terrible fault toward Redbud, and her friend knew it, and would not stay in his presence.