The boy’s tears were dropping upon the paper. He dashed them hastily away, and went on writing.
“I am dreadfully, dreadfully sorry, papa! I think I was never so sorry for anything in all my life, because—because it was so wicked and ungrateful to God. I’ve asked Him to forgive me for Jesus’ sake, and Grandma Elsie has asked Him for me, too, and Mamma Vi told me she had been praying for me. And I’ve tried to give myself to the dear Saviour, and I hope I’ll be His servant all the rest of my life.
“I think He has forgiven me, and will you forgive me, too, papa? I’m to stay alone here in my room for a week. Mamma Vi says you said that was the way I should be punished, if I ever did that wicked thing again, and it isn’t a bit worse than I deserve.”
“There are that raise up
strife and contention.”
“Only by pride cometh contention.”
While Zoe was at Max’s door, something took Edward to their rooms. He was there but a moment—just long enough to pick up the article he wanted—and hurrying down the hall again, caught the sound of her voice as he reached the head of the stairway.
For an instant he stood still, debating with himself whether to interfere or not; then deciding in the negative, passed on down the stairs more angry with her than ever.
She was defying riot only his authority, but also that of his grandfather and mother, and interfering with their management of the children committed to their care by their own father. Truly, he feared he had made a sad mistake in putting such a child into a woman’s position, where she felt herself entitled to rights, for whose proper exercise she had not yet sufficient judgment or self-control.
As he entered the drawing-room, Miss Deane, who was seated at a table looking over a portfolio of drawings and engravings, called him to her side.
“You have visited these places, Mr. Travilla,” she said, “and I want the benefit of your explanations, and your opinion whether the pictures are true to nature. They are European views, I see.”
Of course he could not, without great rudeness, refuse to take a seat by her side and give her the information she requested.
So it happened that when Zoe came in presently after, her anger was intensely aroused by seeing her husband and Miss Deane seated at a distant table, apart from the rest of the occupants of the room, laughing and talking with their heads very close together over an engraving.
Edward lifted his just in time to catch her look of mingled amazement, scorn, and indignation. He flushed hotly, and remembering what he had just overheard up-stairs, and what had passed between them in the apple-orchard, gave her an angry glance in return.
She drew her slight, girlish figure up to its full height, and turning away, crossed the room toward a sofa where Mrs. Dinsmore and a bachelor gentleman of the neighborhood sat conversing together.