There was a little smile on her lips as she said this, which Lawrence could not interpret.
“I decline being refused under any tree,” he said with vehemence.
“I prefer the cherry tree,” said she, “there is a very pretty one over there on the ridge of this hill, and its leaves are nearly all gone, which would make it quite appropriate—but what is the meaning of this? There comes Peggy. It isn’t possible that she thinks it’s time for me to give out something to Aunt Judy.”
Croft turned, and there was the wooden Peggy, marching steadily up the hill, and almost upon them.
“What do you want, Peggy?” asked Miss Roberta.
“Dar’s a man down to de house dat wants him,” pointing to Mr Croft.
Lawrence was very much surprised. “A man who wants me!” he exclaimed. “You must be mistaken.”
“No sah,” replied Peggy, “you’s de one.”
For a moment Lawrence hesitated. His disposition was to let any man in the world, be he president or king, wait until he had settled this matter with Miss March. But with Peggy present it was impossible to go on with the love-making. He might, indeed, send her back with a message, but the thought came to him that it would be well to postpone for a little the pressing of his suit, for the lady was certainly in a very untoward humor, and he was not altogether sorry to have an excuse for breaking off the interview at this point. He had not yet been discarded, and he would like to think over the matter, and see if he could discover any reason for the very disrespectful manner, to say the least of it, with which Miss March had received his amatory advances. “I suppose I must go and see the man,” he said, “though I can’t imagine who it can possibly be. Will you return to the house?”
“No,” said Miss Roberta, “I will stay here a little longer, and enjoy the view.”
As Lawrence Croft walked down Pine Top Hill his mind was in a good deal of a hubbub. The mind of almost any lover would be stirred up if he came fresh from an interview, in which his lady had pinned him, to use a cruel figure, in various places on the wall to see how he would spin and buzz in different lights. But the disdainful pin had not yet gone through a vital part of Lawrence’s hopes, and they had strength to spin and buzz a good deal yet. As soon as he should have an opportunity he would rack his brains to find out what it was that had put Roberta March into such a strange humor. No one who simply desired to decline the addresses of a gentleman would treat her lover as Miss March had treated him. It was quite evident that she wished to punish him. But what had been his crime?