“And so he may,” said the Judge, improving.
“That is for you,” said Julia, more gravely, and gave him the note.
Bart has come well nigh breaking down on my hands two or three times. I find him unmanageable. He is pitched too high and tuned too nicely for common life; and I am only too glad to get him off out of Newbury, to care much how he went. To say, however, that he went off cheerful and happy, would do the poor fellow injustice. He did his best to show himself that it was all right. But something arose and whispered that it was all wrong. Of course Julia and her love were not for him, and yet in his heart a cry for her would make itself heard.
Didn’t he go voluntarily, because he would? Who was to blame? Yet he despised himself as a huge baby, because there was a half conscious feeling of self-pity, a consciousness of injustice, of being beaten. Then he was lame from, over-exertion, and his heart was sore, and he had to leave his mother and Ed and George. Would it have been better to remain a day or two and meet Julia? He felt that he would certainly break down in her presence, and he had started, and shut her forever out. If she did not stay shut out it would be her own fault. And that was logical.
He got into the stage, and had the front seat, with wide soft cushions, to himself, and drawing his large camlet cloak about him, he would rest and sleep.
Not a bit of it. On the back seat was an old lady and a young one with her; and a man on the middle seat. At Parkers, where they changed horses, they had heard all about it, and had it all delightfully jumbled up. Barton Markham had rescued Miss Ridgeley from a gang of wolves, which had driven her into the Chagrin River, which froze over, etc., but it had all ended happily, and the wedding-day was fixed.
Miss Ridgeley was a lovely girl, but poor; and Bart was a hero, whom the ladies would be glad to see.
The old lady asked Bart if he knew the parties.
“Yes.” And he straightened out the tangle of names.
“Was Julia a beauty?”
Well, he didn’t think much of Bart and didn’t want to speak of him. He thought the performance no great shakes, etc. The ladies were offended.
“No matter, Julia would marry him?”
“She would never think of it.”
At Hiccox’s somebody recognized Bart and told the old lady who he was.
“Oh, dear!” He wished he had walked to Jefferson and had a good mind to get out.
A few years ago, when Jefferson had become famous throughout the United States as the residence of two men, a stranger, who met Senator Wade, “old Ben,” somewhere East, asked him what were the special advantages of Jefferson. “Political,” was the dry response.