“Hist! do not look this way,” whispered a voice which came from the pair opposite her on the other side of the chimney. “Contrive to pass near me as you go out—be cautious!”
“All ready, Betty?” said Mrs. Seymour’s gay voice, as she came across the room toward her. “Where is Mr. Verplanck?”
“Here,” answered Gulian, from the other door. “Hasten, Betty; the horses are eager to be off.”
“I am coming,” replied Betty, as she rose hurriedly and dropped her silk reticule directly in front of the mysterious pair on the settle. The boy darted up, giving the bag a furtive kick which sent it under the bench.
“I’ll reach it for you, madam,” he said aloud, diving down for it as Betty paused a brief second. The old man stirred sleepily, raised his head from his bundle, and keen bright eyes that Betty knew well flashed into hers as he whispered rapidly:—
“Show no alarm, Betty, but no matter how or where you see me, make no sign of recognition.”
“Here’s your bag,” said the boy, springing to his feet. But Betty, never stopping to thank him, ran rapidly across the room, out of the door, and darted into the waiting coach, afraid to even glance behind her, her heart sinking with dismay, for the voice and eyes of that ragged old man were those of her brother Oliver!
ON THE COLLECT
“Peter, Peter,” said Grandma Effingham in a tone of gentle remonstrance, “if thee would only let the ball alone Tabitha would keep quiet.”
“Stop it, Peter,” said Betty, from the doorway, as the irrepressible youngster rolled over and over on the rug, himself, the gray cat, and the ball of gray yarn hopelessly entangled. “Much you deserve all the stockings that grandma knits for you so perseveringly; just look at the condition of that ball”—and by a skillful flank movement she rescued the yarn as Tabitha’s pranks and Peter’s tumble came to a hasty conclusion, and the chief culprit gained his feet and began to apologize for his frolic, as the cat fled through the door.