“Let me see,” soliloquized he, as he read aloud, “this is Friday; Saturday, expect war records from Adjutant-General; Monday, hear from Ernst, surprise party in the evening; Tuesday, get money at express office; Tuesday afternoon, buy Hill’s grocery and give Strout his first knock-out; Wednesday, see Stackpole and Smith and arrange to knock Strout out again; Thursday, Dr. Tillotson.” He laughed and closed the book. Then he said, “And the city fellows think it must be dull down here because there is nothing going on in a country town in the winter.”
Some plain facts and inferences.
The next day was Saturday; the sun did not show itself from behind the clouds till noon, and Quincy put off his trip to the Eastborough Centre post office with the hope that the afternoon would be pleasant. His wish was gratified, and at dinner he said he was going to drive over to Eastborough Centre, and asked Miss Pettengill if she would not like to accompany him. Alice hesitated, but Uncle Ike advised her to go, telling her that she stayed indoors too much and needed outdoor exercise. Ezekiel agreed with his uncle, and Alice finally gave what seemed to Quincy to be a somewhat reluctant consent.
He saw that the sleigh was amply supplied with robes, and Mandy, at his suggestion, heated a large piece of soap-stone, which was wrapped up and placed in the bottom of the sleigh.
Alice appeared at the door equipped for her journey. Always lovely in Quincy’s eyes, she appeared still more so in her suit of dark blue cloth. Over her shoulders she wore a fur cape lined with quilted red satin, and on her head a fur cap, which made a strong contract with her light hair which crept out in little curls from underneath.
They started off at a smart speed, for Old Bill was not in the shafts this time. Alice had been familiar with the road to Eastborough before leaving home, and as Quincy described the various points they passed, Alice entered into the spirit of the drive with all the interest and enthusiasm of a child. The sharp winter air brought a rosy bloom to her cheeks, and as Quincy looked at those wonderful large blue eyes, he could hardly make himself believe that they could not see him. He was sure he had never seen a handsomer girl.
As they passed Uncle Ike’s little house, Quincy called her attention to it. Alice said:
“Poor Uncle Ike, I wish I could do more for him, he has done so much for me. He paid for my lessons in bookkeeping and music, and also for my board until I had finished my studies and obtained a position. He has been a father to me since my own dear father died.”