But now Metropolisville was coming in sight, and Albert’s attention was attracted by the conversation of Mr. Minorkey and the fat gentleman.
“Mr. Plausaby has selected an admirable site,” Charlton heard the fat gentleman remark, and as Mr. Plausaby was his own step-father, he began to listen. “Pretty sharp! pretty sharp!” continued the fat gentleman. “I tell you what, Mr. Minorkey, that man Plausaby sees through a millstone with a hole in it. I mean to buy some lots in this place. It’ll be the county-seat and a railroad junction, as sure as you’re alive. And Plausaby has saved some of his best lots for me.”
“Yes, it’s a nice town, or will be. I hold a mortgage on the best eighty—the one this way—at three per cent and five after maturity, with a waiver. I liked to have died here one night last summer. I was taken just after supper with a violent—”
“What a beauty of a girl that is,” broke in the fat gentleman, “little Katy Charlton, Plausaby’s step-daughter!” And instantly Mr. Albert Charlton thrust his head out of the coach and shouted “Hello, Katy!” to a girl of fifteen, who ran to intercept the coach at the hotel steps.
“Hurrah, Katy!” said the young man, as she kissed him impulsively as soon as he had alighted.
“P’int out your baggage, mister,” said Jim, interrupting Katy’s raptures with a tone that befitted a Superior Being.
In a few moments the coach, having deposited Charlton and the fat gentleman, was starting away for its destination at Perritaut, eight miles farther on, when Charlton, remembering again his companion on the front seat, lifted his hat and bowed, and Miss Minorkey was kind enough to return the bow. Albert tried to analyze her bow as he lay awake in bed that night. Miss Minorkey doubtless slept soundly. She always did.
ALBERT AND KATY.
All that day in which Albert Charlton had been riding from Red Owl Landing to Metropolisville, sweet Little Katy Charlton had been expecting him. Everybody called her sweet, and I suppose there was no word in the dictionary that so perfectly described her. She was not well-read, like Miss Minorkey; she was not even very smart at her lessons: but she was sweet. Sweetness is a quality that covers a multitude of defects. Katy’s heart had love in it for everybody. She loved her mother; she loved Squire Plausaby, her step-father; she loved cousin Isa, as she called her step-father’s niece; she loved—well, no matter, she would have told you that she loved nobody more than Brother Albert.