“He stopped in Savannah,” Beverly answered. “He’s coming over by the train. Kitty—Charley’s sister, Mrs. Bleecker—did the chaperoning for us.
“Very expertly, I should guess,” I said.
“Perfectly; invisibly,” said Beverly. And he returned to his thoughts and his chuckles.
“After all, it’s simple,” he presently remarked.
“Doesn’t that depend on what she’s here for?”
“Oh, to break it.”
“Why come for that?”
He took another turn among his cogitations. I took a number of turns among my own, but it was merely walking round and round in a circle.
“When will she announce it, then?” he demanded.
“Ah!” I murmured. “You said she was a good player.”
“But a fire-eater!” he resumed. “For her. Oh, hang it! She’ll let him go!”
“Then why hasn’t she?”
He hesitated. “Well, of course her game could be spoiled by—”
His speech died away into more cogitation, and I had to ask him what he meant.
“By love getting into it somewhere.”
We walked on through Worship Street, which we had reached some while since, and the chief features of which I mechanically pointed out to him.
“Jolly old church, that,” said Beverly, as we reached my favorite corner and brick wall. “Well, I’ll not announce it!” he murmured gallantly.
“My dear man,” I said, “Kings Port will do all the announcing for you to-morrow.”
XV: What She Came to See
But in this matter my prognostication was thoroughly at fault; yet surely, knowing Kings Port’s sovereign habit, as I had had good cause to know it, I was scarce beyond reasonable bounds in supposing that the arrival of Miss Rieppe would heat up some very general and very audible talk about this approaching marriage, against which the prejudices of the town were set in such compact array. I have several times mentioned that Kings Port, to my sense, was buzzing over John Mayrant’s affairs; buzzing in the open, where one could hear it, and buzzing behind closed doors, where one could somehow feel it; I can only say that henceforth this buzzing ceased, dropped wholly away, as if Gossip were watching so hard that she forgot to talk, giving place to a great stillness in her kingdom. Such occasional words as were uttered sounded oddly and egregiously clear in the new-established void.
The first of these words sounded, indeed, quite enormous, issuing as it did from Juno’s lips at our breakfast-table, when yesterday’s meeting on the New Bridge was investing my mind with many thoughts. She addressed me in one of her favorite tones (I have met it, thank God! but in two or three other cases during my whole experience), which always somehow conveyed to you that you were personally to blame for what she was going to tell you.
“I suppose you know that your friend, Mr. Mayrant, has resigned from the Custom House?”