“Dat’s it,” answered Isham.
“Reckon dat country’s better fur ’bacca dan fur par’bles,” grunted Aunt Patsy.
Lawrence Croft had no idea of leaving the neighborhood of Howlett’s until Keswick had made up his mind what he was going to do, and until he had had a private talk with Mrs Null; and, as it was quite evident that the family would be offended if a visitor to them should lodge at Peckett’s store, he accepted the invitation to spend the night at the Keswick house; and in the afternoon Junius rode with him to Howlett’s, where he got his valise, and paid his account.
But no opportunity occurred that day for a tete-a-tete with Mrs Null. Keswick was with him nearly all the afternoon; and in the evening the family sat together in the parlor, where the conversation was a general one, occasionally very much brightened by some of the caustic remarks of the old lady in regard to particular men and women, as well as society at large. Of course he had many opportunities of judging, to the best of his capacity, of certain phases of character appertaining to Mr Candy’s cashier; and, among other things, he came to the conclusion that probably she was a young woman who would get up early in the morning, and he, therefore, determined to do that thing himself, and see if he could not have a talk with her before the rest of the family were astir.
Early rising was not one of Croft’s accustomed habits, but the next morning he arose a good hour before breakfast time. He found the lower part of the house quite deserted, and when he went out on the porch he was glad to button up his coat, for the morning air was very cool. While walking up and down with his hands in his pockets, and looking in at the front door every time he passed it, in hopes that he might see Mrs Null coming down the stairs, he was greeted with a cheery “good morning,” by a voice in the front yard. Turning hastily, he beheld Mrs Keswick, wearing her purple sun-bonnet, but without her umbrella.
“Glad you like to be up betimes, sir,” said she. “That’s my way, and I find it pays. Nobody works as well, and I don’t believe the plants and stock grow as well, while we are asleep.”
Lawrence replied that in the city he did not get up so early, but that the morning air in the country was very fine.
“And pretty sharp, too,” said Mrs Keswick. “Come down here in the sunshine, and you will find it pleasanter. Step back a little this way, sir,” she said, when Lawrence had joined her, “and give me your opinion of that locust tree by the corner of the porch. I am thinking of having it cut down. Locusts are very apt to get diseased inside, and break off, and I am afraid that one will blow over some day and fall on the house.” Lawrence said he thought it looked like a very good tree, and it would be a pity to lose the shade it made.