The next morning before coffee he wrote to Dr. Johnston, the great specialist in alcoholic diseases, urging him to come to Ravenel at his earliest convenience. “There is a man to be helped,” he wrote, “and neither money nor brains are to be spared in the helping.”
Through the breakfast the memory of Katrine was vividly with him. He recalled, with the approval of an aristocrat in taste, the daintiness of her movements, the delicacy of her hands as they lay open on the fence, even her indifference to him, to him, who was in no wise accustomed to indifference in women.
At twilight he went to the Chestnut Ridge, but Katrine was not there, nor did she come. The following day he went again with a similar resulting. The third day he saw her about noon on the river-bank, and she waved her hand to him in a cavalier fashion, disappearing into a small copse of dogwood, not to reappear. The thing had become amusing.
During this time he saw neither Dermott McDermott nor the new overseer, whom he learned was at Marlton on affairs concerning a sawmill.
The fourth day after his meeting with Katrine a message from the great doctor gave him the dignity of a mission, and he rode to the old lodge to show her the letter, which said that Dr. Johnston would be at Ravenel soon.
There was eagerness in his gait and eyes as he mounted his horse, and as he rode down the carriageway standing in his stirrups, waving his cap to his mother with a “Tallyho to the hounds,” he had never looked handsomer nor had more of an air of carrying all before him, as was right, she thought, for a Ravenel.
The old gate-lodge on the Ravenel place stands on the north branch of the road which leads to Three Poplar Inn. It is built of pale-colored English brick and gray stones, and runs upward to the height of two stories, with broad doorways and wide windows peeping through ivy which covers the place from foundation to roof.
Frank remembered it as a drear-looking, lonesome place during the occupancy of the former incumbent. Instead, he found a reclaimed garden; hedges of laurel, trim and straight; old-fashioned flowers, snowballs, gillybells, great pink-and-white peonies; and over the front on trellises, by the gate and doorway, scrambles of scarlet roses against the green and the ivied walls.
In the doorway Nora O’Grady, a short, wide woman of fifty or thereabout, was singing at a spinning-wheel. She had a kind, yellow face with high cheek-bones, and dark eyes which seemed darker by reason of the snowy hair showing under a mob cap. Her chin was square and pointed upward like old Mother Hubbard’s, and she could talk of batter-cakes or home rule with humorous volubility, and smoke a pipe with the manner of a condescending duchess.
She had, as Frank found afterward, an excellent gift at anecdote, but a clipping pronunciation of English by reason of having spoken nothing but the Erse until she was grown. Added to this was an entirely illogical ignorance of certain well-known words, and Katrine told him later that once when Nora was asked if the dinner was postponed, she answered: “It was pork.”