“I hope you will,” she said. She almost hated Ferdy Wickersham for having spoken of the place as Keith told her he had spoken.
When Keith reached home that evening he had a wholly new feeling for the girl with whom accident had so curiously thrown him. He was really in love with her. Hitherto he had allowed himself merely to drift with the pleasant tide that had been setting in throughout these last weeks. But the phases that she had shown that afternoon, her spirit, her courage, her capricious rebelliousness, and, above all, that glimpse into her heart which he had obtained as she sat on the rock overlooking the wide sweep where he had had his home, and where the civilization to which it belonged had had its home, had shown him a new creature, and he plunged into love. Life appeared suddenly to open wide her gates and flood him with her rosy light.
MR. KEITH IS UNPRACTICAL, AND MRS. YORKE GIVES HIM GOOD ADVICE
The strolls in the budding woods and the glimpses shown her of a spirit somewhat different from any she had known were beginning to have their influence on Alice. It flattered her and filled her with a certain content that the young school-teacher should like her so much; yet, knowing herself, it gave her a vague feeling that he was wanting in that quality of sound judgment which she recognized in some of her other admirers. It rather frightened her to feel that she was on a pedestal; and often he soared away from her with his poetry and his fancies, and she was afraid that he would discover it and think she was a hypocrite. Something that her mother had said remained in her mind.
“He knows so much, mamma,” said Alice one day. “Why, he can quote whole pages of poetry.”
“He is too romantic, my dear, to be practical,” said Mrs. Yorke, who looked at the young men who approached her daughter with an eye as cool as a physician’s glass. “He, perhaps, does know more about books than any boy of his age I am acquainted with; but poetry is a very poor thing to live on; and if he were practical he would not be teaching that wretched little school in the wilderness.”
“But, mamma, he will rise. You don’t know how ambitious he is, and what determination he has. They have lost everything. The place that Ferdy Wickersham told me about his father owning, with its old pictures and all that, was his old home. Old Mr. Keith, since he lost it, has been farming it for Mr. Wickersham. Think of that!”
“Just so,” said Mrs. Yorke. “He inherits it. They are all unpractical. Your father began life poor; but he was practical, and he had the ability to succeed.”
Alice’s face softened. “Dear old dad!” she said; “I must write to him.” Even as she thought of him she could not but reflect how absorption in business had prevented his obtaining the culture of which this young school-teacher had given her a glimpse, and had crushed, though it could not wholly quench, the kindliness which lived in his big heart.