“Well, I guess I must run home,” she said. And with one lift of her eyes to his and a shy laugh—laughter being a rare thing for Jane—she scampered quickly to the corner and was gone.
But though she cared for no reward, the extraordinary restlessness of William, that evening, after dinner, must at least have been of great interest to her. He ascended to his own room directly from the table, but about twenty minutes later came down to the library, where Jane was sitting (her privilege until half after seven) with her father and mother. William looked from one to the other of his parents and seemed about to speak, but did not do so. Instead, he departed for the upper floor again and presently could be heard moving about energetically in various parts of the house, a remote thump finally indicating that he was doing something with a trunk in the attic.
After that he came down to the library again and once more seemed about to speak, but did not. Then he went up-stairs again, and came down again, and he was still repeating this process when Jane’s time-limit was reached and she repaired conscientiously to her little bed. Her mother came to hear her prayers and to turn out the light; and—when Mrs. Baxter had passed out into the hall, after that, Jane heard her speaking to William, who was now conducting what seemed to be excavations on a serious scale in his own room.
“Oh, Willie, perhaps I didn’t tell you, but—you remember I’d been missing papa’s evening clothes and looking everywhere for days and days?”
“Ye—es,” huskily from William.
“Well, I found them! And where do you suppose I’d put them? I found them under your window-seat. Can you think of anything more absurd than putting them there and then forgetting it? I took them to the tailor’s to have them let out. They were getting too tight for papa, but they’ll be all right for him when the tailor sends them back.”
What the stricken William gathered from this it is impossible to state with accuracy; probably he mixed some perplexity with his emotions. Certainly he was perplexed the following evening at dinner.
Jane did not appear at the table. “Poor child! she’s sick in bed,” Mrs. Baxter explained to her husband. “I was out, this afternoon, and she ate nearly all of a five-pound box of candy.”
Both the sad-eyed William and his father were dumfounded. “Where on earth did she get a five-pound box of candy?” Mr. Baxter demanded.
“I’m afraid Jane has begun her first affair,” said Mrs. Baxter. “A gentleman sent it to her.”
“What gentleman?” gasped William.
And in his mother’s eyes, as they slowly came to rest on his in reply, he was aware of an inscrutability strongly remindful of that inscrutable look of Jane’s.
“Mr. Parcher,” she said, gently.
PROGRESS OF THE SYMPTOMS