Randy and Helen were much amused, but although Aunt Marcia’s eyes twinkled, she said,
“Poor boy! I wonder when and how he will outgrow his egotism? There surely is no chance for him to learn until he is made to realize how little he knows, and who would care to attempt the task of opening his eyes?”
“There are a plenty of persons in our town,” said Jotham, “who have repeatedly tried to enlighten him, but they have been obliged to relinquish the effort. It is useless to tell him that talented people think it necessary to obtain a fine education. He only insists that he is a genius, and that there is nothing left for him to learn.”
“We must not worry for Timotheus,” said Helen, “he is as happy as one could wish; rather we should remember the old adage, ’Where ignorance is bliss, etc.’” and the little company agreed that perhaps after all, Timotheus Simpkins should be congratulated rather than commiserated.
When the callers arose to depart, Jotham said,
“Then on two weeks from to-day, Randy, I may call for you, and together we will travel toward home?”
“Yes, oh yes,” Randy answered, an odd little note in her voice, “and how hard it will be to say good-bye to these two dear friends, how delightful to know that late in the afternoon I shall greet the dear ones whose faces I so long to see. How I wish you both were going back with me, then I should not say good-bye at all.”
“And since we cannot accompany you,” said Aunt Marcia, laying her hand gently upon Randy’s arm, “we count ourselves fortunate that we are going to our summer home soon after you leave us. You have been a ray of sunlight in our home, Randy, and we could not easily or quickly become used to your absence.”
“Oh, is it unkind to be glad that you will miss me?” asked Randy looking quickly from Aunt Marcia to Helen. “I am puzzled, for I know that I would do anything to make you happy; then why, when I love you so truly, am I glad to have you grieved when I go?”
She glanced at Professor Marden who, while apparently answering her questioning, looked fixedly at Helen Dayton as he said, “That is not an unkind thought, Miss Randy; if we can be assured that when absent we are missed, we are then doubly sure that our presence is welcome.”
“No one should have so faint a heart as to for a moment doubt that he is welcome,” said Aunt Marcia, receiving in return a grateful smile from Professor Marden, who bowed low over Miss Dayton’s hand, and then with Jotham walked briskly down the avenue.
“Professor Marden is a most charming young man,” said Aunt Marcia, as she stood at the window watching his receding figure. “He is very like his father, who was once my most valued friend.”
Helen turned quickly to look at her aunt, expecting that she was about to tell more of the elder Marden, but she had left the window and stood by a large jar of roses, rearranging the blossoms with infinite care, and when she again spoke it was not of the Mardens, father or son, but of their engagements and the weather for the morrow.