“Oh, I have already outstayed my time. I thought of going yesterday, and my partner, Mr. Ray, will be expecting me,” Wilford replied, involuntarily laying his hand upon Katy’s shining hair, while Morris and Helen stole quietly from the room.
Thus left to himself, Wilford continued:
“Maybe I’ll come again some time. Would you like to have me?”
“Yes,” and Katy’s blue eyes were lifted pleadingly to the young man, who had never loved her so well as that very moment when resolving to cast her off.
And as for Katy, she mentally called herself a fool for suffering Wilford Cameron to see what was in her heart; but she could not help it, for she loved him with all the strength of her impulsive nature, and to have him leave her so suddenly hurt her cruelly.
For a moment Wilford was strongly tempted to throw all family pride aside, and ask that young girl to be his; but thoughts of his mother, of Juno and Bell, and more than all, thoughts of Uncle Ephraim and his Sister Betsy, arose in time to prevent it, and so he only kissed her forehead caressingly as he said good-by, telling her that he should not soon forget his visit to Silverton, and then as the carriage drove up, going out to where the remainder of the family were standing together and commenting upon his sudden departure.
It was not sudden, he said, trying to explain. He really had thought seriously of going yesterday, and feeling that he had something to atone for, he tried to be unusually gracious as he shook their hands, thanking them for their kindness, but seeming wholly oblivious to Aunt Betsy’s remark that “she hoped to see him again, if not at Silverton, in New York, where she wanted dreadfully to visit, but never had on account of the ’bominable prices charged to the taverns, and she hadn’t no acquaintances there.”
This was Aunt Betsy’s parting remark, and after Katy, simple-hearted Aunt Betsy liked Wilford Cameron better than any one of the group which watched him as he drove rapidly from their door. Aunt Hannah thought him too much stuck up for farmer’s folks, while Mrs. Lennox, whose ambition would have accounted him a most desirable match for her daughter, could not deny that his manner toward them, though polite in the extreme, was that of a superior to people greatly beneath him; while Helen, who saw clearer than the rest, read him tolerably aright, and detected the struggle between his pride and his love for poor little Katy, whom she found sitting on the floor, just where Wilford left her standing, her head resting on the chair and her face hidden in her hands as she sobbed quietly, hardly knowing why she cried or what to answer when Helen asked what was the matter.
“It was so queer in him to go so soon,” she said; “just as if he were offended about something.”
“Never mind, Katy,” Helen said, soothingly. “If he’s for you he will come back again. He could not stay here always, of course; and I must say I respect him for attending to his business, if he has any. He has been gone from home for weeks, you know.”