Joshua continued to sort potatoes.
“Or, s’posin’ you wanted to marry her?”
Joshua looked up quickly.
“Which one?” he said.
“Oh,” he said in a relieved tone.
“Why did you say ’oh,’—did you think I meant her?”
“I didn’t know who you meant.”
“Why, you wouldn’t think o’ marryin’ her, would you?”
“No,” said Joshua emphatically. “I’d as soon think o’ marryin’ you yourself.”
Lucinda deliberated for a minute or so as to whether to accept this insult in silence or not, and finally decided to make just one more remark.
“I wonder if she’ll send any word to Arethusa ‘n’ Mary.”
“They’ll know soon enough,” said Joshua oracularly.
“How’ll they know, I’d like to know?”
“You’ll write ’em.”
Lucinda was dumb. The fact that the letter was already written only made the serpent-tooth of Joshua’s intimate knowledge cut the deeper.
She has it all made up for him to marry her, and she is certainly as happy as she is and he is themselves. She is making plans at a great rate and she has consented to have her wedding here because she wants to be there herself. The day is set for Thanksgiving and the Lord be with us for everything has got to be just so and she is no more good at helping now that he’s come. They are all going back to New York as soon as possible after it’s over and I hope to be forgiven for stating plainly that it will be the happiest day’ of my life.
Upon receipt of this astounding news Arethusa took the train and flew to the scene where such momentous happenings were piling up on one another. Her arrival was unexpected and the changes which she found ensued and ensuing were of a nature bewildering in the extreme. Aunt Mary had quit her regime of soup and sleep and was not only more energetically vigorous as to mind than ever, but strengthening daily as to bodily force. It might have been the excitement, for Burnett was there, Clover was en route, and Mitchell was expected within twenty-four hours. Other great changes were visible everywhere. A corps of servants from town had fairly swamped Lucinda and twenty carpenters were putting up an extra addition to the house in which to give the wedding room to spread. Nor was this all, for Aunt Mary had turned a furniture man and an upholsterer loose with no other limit than that comprised by the two words “carte blanche.”
Mrs. Rosscott still continued to wait upon Aunt Mary, but another maid had arrived to await upon Mrs. Rosscott. The latter had shed her black uniform and bloomed forth in rose-hued robes. Mr. Stebbins was kept on tap from dawn to dark and the checks flowed like water. Emissaries had been despatched to New York to buy the young couple a suitable house and furnish that also from top to bottom.