“No doubt,” said the elder woman, a little confused and dismayed, though she presently rallied her forces and justly observed that the rules of the church were a means to the end of good living, and happily, before any existing differences of opinion could be discovered, they were interrupted by a pleasant-faced young man, who lifted his hat and gracefully accepted his introduction to the younger Miss Prince.
“This is Mr. George Gerry, Anna, one of my young friends,” smiled Aunt Nancy, and saying, as she walked more slowly, “You must come to see us soon, for I shall have to depend upon the younger people to make my niece’s stay agreeable.”
“I was looking forward to my Sunday evening visit,” the wayfarer said hesitatingly; “you have not told me yet that I must not come;” which appeal was only answered by a little laugh from all three, as they separated. And Miss Prince had time to be quite eloquent in her favorite’s praise before they reached home. Nan thought her first Dunport acquaintance very pleasant, and frankly said so. This seemed to be very gratifying to her aunt, and they walked toward home together by a roundabout way and in excellent spirits. It seemed more and more absurd to Nan that the long feud and almost tragic state of family affairs should have come to so prosaic a conclusion, and that she who had been the skeleton of her aunt’s ancestral closet should have dared to emerge and to walk by her side through the town. After all, here was another proof of the wisdom of the old Spanish proverb, that it takes two to make a quarrel, but only one to end it.
A JUNE SUNDAY
It was Miss Prince’s custom to indulge herself by taking a long Sunday afternoon nap in summer, though on this occasion she spoke of it to her niece as only a short rest. She was glad to gain the shelter of her own room, and as she brushed a little dust from her handsome silk gown before putting it away she held it at arm’s length and shook it almost indignantly. Then she hesitated a moment and looked around the comfortable apartment with a fierce disdain. “I wonder what gives me such a sense of importance,” she whispered. “I have been making mistakes my whole life long, and giving excuses to myself for not doing my duty. I wish I had made her a proper allowance, to say the least. Everybody must be laughing at me!” and Miss Prince actually stamped her foot. It had been difficult to keep up an appearance of self-respect, but her pride had helped her in that laudable effort, and as she lay down on the couch she tried to satisfy herself with the assurance that her niece should have her rights now, and be treated justly at last.
Miss Fraley had come in to pay a brief visit on her way to Sunday-school just as they finished dinner, and had asked Nan to tea the following Wednesday, expressing also a hope that she would come sooner to call, quite without ceremony. Finding the state of affairs so pleasant, Miss Eunice ventured to say that Nan’s father had been a favorite of her mother, who was now of uncommon age. Miss Prince became suddenly stern, but it was only a passing cloud, which disturbed nobody.