“And what are you going to say to him?” asked Keswick.
“I don’t know,” replied Roberta, her eyes fixed upon the hat which she still held by its long ribbons.
The next morning Junius Keswick, who had been up a long, long time before breakfast, sat, after that meal, looking at Roberta who was reading a book in the parlor. “She is a strange girl,” thought he. “I cannot understand her. How is it possible that she can sit there so placidly reading that volume of Huxley, which I know she never saw before and which she has opened just about the middle, on a morning when she is expecting a man who will say things to her which may change her whole life. I could almost imagine that she has forgotten all about it.”
Peggy, who had just entered the room to inform her mistress that Aunt Judy was ready for her, stood in rigid uprightness, her torpid eyes settled upon the lady. “I reckon,” so ran the thought within the mazes of her dark little interior, “dat Miss Rob’s wuss disgruntled dan she was dat ebenin’ when I make my cake, fur she got two dif’ent kinds o’ shoes on.”
The morning went on, and Keswick found that he must go out again for a walk, although he had rambled several miles before breakfast. After her household duties had been completed, Miss Roberta took her book out to the porch; and about noon when her uncle came out and made some remarks upon the beauty of the day, she turned over the page at which she had opened the volume just after breakfast. An hour later Peggy brought her some luncheon, and felt it to be her duty to inform Miss Rob that she still wore one old boot and a new one. When Roberta returned to the porch after making a suitable change, she found Keswick there looking a little tired.
“Has your friend gone?” he asked, in a very quiet tone.
“He has not come yet,” she answered.
“Not come!” exclaimed Keswick. “That’s odd! However, there are two hours yet before dinner.”
The two hours passed and no Lawrence Croft appeared; nor came he at all that day. About dusk the man at the Green Sulphur Springs rode over with a note from Mr Croft. The note was to Miss March, of course, and it simply stated that the writer was very sorry he could not keep the appointment he had made with her, but that it had suddenly become necessary for him to return to the North without continuing the journey he had planned; that he was much grieved to be deprived of the opportunity of seeing her again; but that he would give himself the pleasure, at the earliest possible moment, of calling on Miss March when she arrived in New York.
When Miss Roberta had read this note she handed it to Keswick, who, when he returned it, asked: “Does that suit you?”
“No,” said she, “it does not suit me at all.”