“Did that bold thing go to call on him alone?” cried Miss Maud, thoroughly aroused by this supposed offence against the proprieties of life.
“Why, no, Mattie,” said Sam, a little disconcerted. “Her ma was along.”
“Why didn’t you say so, then?” asked the unappeased beauty.
“I forgot all about the old lady, though she was more chinny than the young one. She just seemed like she was a-practisin’ the mother-in-law, so as to do it without stumblin’ when the time come.”
“Hullo! Do you think they are strikin’ a match?” cried Saul, in high glee. “That would be first-rate. Keep the money and the property all together. There’s too many of our rich girls marryin’ out of the State lately—keeps buildin’ dull.”
“I don’t believe a word of it,” Maud interposed. “He ain’t a man to be caught by a simperin’ schoolgirl. And as to money, He’s got a plenty for two. He can please himself when he marries.”
“Yes, but may be he won’t please you, Mattie, and that would be a pity,” said the ironical Saul.
The old man laughed loudly at his own sarcasm, and pushed his chair back from the table, and Maud betook herself to her own room, where she sat down, as her custom was, by the window, looking over the glowing lake, and striving to read her destiny as she gazed into the crimson and golden skies. She did not feel at all so sure as she pretended that there was no danger of the result that Sleeny had predicted; and now that she was brought face to face with it, she was confounded at discovering how much it meant to her. She was carrying a dream in her heart which would make or ruin her, according as it should prove true or false. She had not thought of herself as the future wife of Farnham with any clearness of hope, but she found she could not endure the thought of his marrying any one else and passing forever out of her reach. She sat there, bitterly ruminating, until the evening glow had died away from the lake and the night breeze spread its viewless wings and flapped heavily in over the dark ridge and the silent shore. Her thoughts had given her no light of consolation; her chin rested on her hands, her elbows on her knees; her large eyes, growing more luminous in the darkness, stared out at the gathering night, scarcely noting that the sky she gazed at had changed from a pompous scene of red and yellow splendor to an infinite field of tender and dark violet, fretted with intense small stars.