When Keith left that study, quaint and old-fashioned as were it and its occupant, he felt as though he had been in a rarer atmosphere. He had not dreamed that such a man could be found in a great city. He seemed to have the heart of a boy, and Keith felt as if he had known him all his life. He asked Gordon to return and dine with him, but Gordon had a vision of sitting beside Alice Yorke at dinner that evening and declined.
KEITH IN NEW YORK
Keith and Norman Wentworth had, from time to time, kept up a correspondence, and from Dr. Templeton’s Keith went to call on Norman and his mother.
Norman, unfortunately, was now absent in the West on business, but Keith saw his mother.
The Wentworth mansion was one of the largest and most dignified houses on the fine old square—a big, double mansion. The door, with its large, fan-shaped transom and side-windows, reminded Keith somewhat of the hall door at Elphinstone, so that he had quite a feeling of old association as he tapped with the eagle knocker. The hall was not larger than at Elphinstone, but was more solemn, and Keith had never seen such palatial drawing-rooms. They stretched back in a long vista. The heavy mahogany furniture was covered with the richest brocades; the hangings were of heavy crimson damask. Even the walls were covered with rich crimson damask-satin. The floor was covered with rugs in the softest colors, into which, as Keith followed the solemn servant, his feet sank deep, giving him a strange feeling of luxuriousness. A number of fine pictures hung on the walls, and richly bound books lay on the shirting tables amid pieces of rare bric-a-brac.
This was the impression received from the only glance he had time to give the room. The next moment a lady rose from behind a tea-table placed in a nook near a window at the far end of the spacious room. As Gordon turned toward her she came forward. She gave him a cordial hand-shake and gracious words of welcome that at once made Keith feel at home. Turning, she started to offer him a chair near her table, but Keith had instinctively gone behind her chair and was holding it for her.
“It is so long since I have had the chance,” he said.
As she smiled up at him her face softened. It was a high-bred face, not always as gentle as it was now, but her smile was charming.
“You do not look like the little, wan boy I saw that morning in bed, so long ago. Do you remember?”
“I should say I did. I think I should have died that morning but for you. I have never forgotten it a moment since.” The rising color in his cheeks took away the baldness of the speech.
She bowed with the most gracious smile, the color stealing up into her cheeks and making her look younger.
“I am not used to such compliments. Young men nowadays do not take the trouble to flatter old ladies.”