“You mustn’t be uncharitable,” said she. “Mr. Gowdy is still hopeful of getting that property for Virginia Royall. He is working on that all the time. He came to get her signature to a paper this week. He is a changed man, Jacob—a changed man.”
I can’t tell how thunderstruck I was by this bit of news. Somehow, I could not see Buck Gowdy as a member of the congregation of the saints—I had seen too much of him lately: and yet, I could not now remember any of the old hardness he had shown in every action back along the Ridge Road in 1855. But Virginia must have changed toward him, or she would not have allowed him to approach her with any kind of paper, not even a patent of nobility.
But I rallied from my daze and took Grandma Thorndyke to see my live stock—birds and beasts. I discovered that she had been a farmer’s daughter in New England, and I began to suspect that it relieved her to drop into New England farm talk, like “I snum!” and “Hooraw’s nest.” I never saw a hooraw’s nest, but she seemed to think it a very disorderly place.
“This ain’t the last time, Jacob,” said she, as she climbed into Jim Boyd’s buggy that Henderson L. had borrowed. “You may expect to find your house red up any time when I can get a ride out.”
I was in a daze for some time trying to study out developments. Buck Gowdy and Mrs. Mobley; Rowena and Magnus Thorkelson; Gowdy’s calls on Rowena, or at least at her home; Rowena’s going to live in his house as a hired girl; her warmth to me; her nervousness, or fright, at Gowdy; Gowdy’s religious tendency in the midst of his entanglements with the fair sex; his seeming reconciliation with Virginia; his pulling of the wool over the eyes of Mrs. Thorndyke, and probably the elder’s—. Out of this maze I came to a sudden resolution. I would go to Waterloo and get me a new outfit of clothes, even to gloves and a pair of “fine boots.”
I RECEIVE A PROPOSAL—AND ACCEPT
Dogs and cats get more credit, I feel sure, for being animals of fine feeling and intelligence, than in justice they are entitled to; because they have so many ways of showing forth what they feel. A dog can growl or bark in several ways, and show his teeth in at least two, to tell how he feels. He can wag his tail, or let it droop, or curl it over his back, or stick it straight out like a flag, or hold it in a bowed shape with the curve upward, and frisk about, and run in circles, or sit up silently or with howls; or stand with one foot lifted; or cock his head on one side: and as for his eyes and his ears, he can almost talk with them.
As for a cat, she has no such rich language as a dog; but see what she can do: purring, rubbing against things, arching her back, glaring out of her eyes, setting her hair on end, swelling out her tail, sticking out her claws and scratching at posts, sneaking along as if ready to pounce, pouncing either in earnest or in fun, mewing in many voices, catching at things with nails drawn back or just a little protruded, or drawing the blood with them, laying back her ears, looking up pleadingly and asking for milk—why a cat can say almost anything she wants to say.