Susan, seeing she could be of no further use, was about to leave the house, when at the door she met Mr. Case coming in. Now, since his second visit to the Abbey, the Attorney had been thinking things over. It was clear that both Sir Arthur and Miss Somers thought highly of the Price family, so perhaps it was a mistake on his part not to be on friendly terms with them too. He felt sure that if the story of Susan’s lamb ever reached the Abbey, Sir Arthur would have no more to do with him. It would therefore be well to get into the good graces of the farmer and his family. So when Mr. Case met Susan at the door he smiled and said, “How is your mother? Have you called for something that may be of use to her? Barbara, Barbara—Bab, come downstairs, child, and see what you can do for Susan Price.” But no Barbara answered, and her father stalked upstairs to her room. There he stood still, amazed at the sight of his daughter’s swollen face.
Before Mr. Case could speak, Betty began to tell the story of Barbara’s mishap in her own way. Barbara spoke at the same time, giving quite another account of what had happened. The Attorney turned the maid away on the spot, and turning to Barbara asked how she dared to treat Susan Price so ill, “when,” as he said, “she was kind enough to give you some of her honey. I will not let you treat her so.” Susan, who could not but hear all that was said, now went to beg the angry father to forgive his daughter.
“You are too good to her, as indeed you are to everybody,” he said. “I forgive her for your sake.”
Susan courtesied in great surprise, but she could not forget the Attorney’s treatment of Daisy, and she left his house as soon as she could to get ready her mother’s breakfast. Mr. Case saw that Simple Susan was not to be taken in by a few simple words, and when he tried in the same way to approach her father, the blunt, honest farmer looked at him with disdain.
So matters stood on the day of the long-expected prize-giving and ball. Miss Barbara Case, stung by Susan’s bees, could not, after all her efforts, go with Mrs. Strathspey to the ball. The ballroom was filled early in the evening. There was a large gathering. The harpers who tried for the prize were placed under the music-gallery at the lower end of the room. Among them was our old blind friend, who, as he was not so well clad as the others, seemed to be looked down upon by many of the onlookers. Six ladies and six gentlemen were chosen to be judges of the performance. They were seated opposite to the harpers. The Misses Somers, who were fond of music, were among the ladies, and the prize was in the hands of Sir Arthur.
There was now silence. The first harp sounded, and as each harper tried his skill, those who listened seemed to think that he deserved the prize. The old blind man was the last. He tuned his harp, and such a simple, sad strain was heard as touched every heart. All were delighted, and when the music ceased there was still silence for some moments.