“I may have thought so, but when I saw her I knew I couldn’t; didn’t want to even,” she answered him in a low voice that hinted of close-lying tears.
“Child, Matilda has had a heart trap ready for you ever since you were born, in case she sighted you in the open. It’s baited with a silver rattle, doll babies, sugar plums, the ashes of twenty years’ roses, the fragrance of every violet she has seen, and lately an aggregation of every eligible masculine heart in this part of the country has been added. She caught you fair—walk in and help yourself; it’s all yours!”
“Well, it’s a sensation all right, Major,” said David as he stood in front of the major’s fire early in the morning after the ceremonies of the presentation of sketches of the statue out at the Temple of Arts. “Mrs. Matilda told me the news and helped me sandwich it into my speech between that time and the open-up talk. People had asked so often who was giving the statue, laid it on so many different people, and wondered over it to such an extent all fall that they had got tired and forgot that they didn’t know all about it. When I presented it in the name of Caroline Darrah Brown in memory of her mother and her grandfather, General Darrah, you could have heard a pin drop for a few seconds, then the applause was almost a sob. It was as dramatic a thing as has been handed this town in many a day. Still it was a bit sky-rockety, don’t you think—keeping it like that and—”
“David,” interrupted the major quickly, “she never intended to tell it. She had done the business part of it through her solicitors. She never wanted us to know. I persuaded her to let it be presented in her name, myself, just before Matilda went out with you. She shrinks—”
“Wait a minute, Major, don’t get the two sides of my brain crossed. You persuaded her—she isn’t in town is she?—don’t tell me she’s here herself!” And David ruffled his auburn forelock with a gesture of perplexity.
“Yes,” answered the major, “Caroline Darrah Brown is here and is, I hope, going to stay for a time at least. I wanted to tell you about it yesterday but I hadn’t seen her and I—”
“And, David dear,” interrupted Mrs. Buchanan who had been standing by with shining eyes waiting for an opening to break in on Kildare’s astonishment with some of the details of her happiness over her discovery. “I didn’t tell you last night for the major didn’t want me to, but she is so lovely! She’s your inherited friend, for your mother and hers were devoted to each other. I do want you to love her and everybody help me to make her feel at home. Don’t mind about her father being a—you know a—a carpetbagger. Three of her Darrah grandfathers have been governors of this state; just think about them and don’t talk about her father or any carpet—you know. Please be good to her!”