“Allow me to cancel part of my indebtedness to you,” said Rosa, in a low, sweet voice, and Quincy again thought how pleasant that voice would be to Alice when Miss Very was reading to her.
As Rosa spoke she handed Quincy a two-dollar bill and seventy-five cents in currency.
“I owe you an explanation,” she continued. “Mr. Ernst told me that I must be ready to accompany you the moment you called, so I packed and strapped my trunk last evening. When I returned from breakfast this morning I looked through my pocketbook, and found to my surprise that I lacked a quarter of a dollar of enough to pay for my week’s lodging. In my haste I had put my jewel case, which contained the greater part of my money, in my trunk, and I realized that there would not be time to unpack and pack it again before your arrival. I offered Mrs. Colby the two seventy-five, and told her I would send her the balance in a letter as soon as I arrived at my destination. To my astonishment, she refused to take it, saying that she would have the three dollars or nothing.”
“If I had known that,” said Quincy, “she would have got nothing.”
“Oh! it’s all right,” remarked Rosa, with a smile. “I know the poor woman has hard work to make a living, and I also know that she has lost considerable money from persons failing to pay at all or paying part of their bills and then not sending the balance, as they promised to do.”
“And did she get up all that ugliness for a quarter of a dollar?” inquired Quincy.
“Oh! that wasn’t the reason at all,” replied Rosa; “I’ve always paid her promptly and in advance. She was mad because I was going away. If she lets the room right off she will get double rent this coming week, for it so happened my week ended last night.”
“Lodging-house keepers,” said Quincy, “seem to be a class by themselves, and to have peculiar financial and moral codes. Here we are at the station,” he added, as the carriage came to a stop.
As Quincy handed Rosa from the carriage, his observant eye noticed that the hand placed in his was small and well-gloved, while the equally small feet were encased in a pair of dainty boots. “She is true to her French origin,” he soliloquized, as they entered the station,—“well-booted, well-gloved. I am glad she is a lady.”
The train was soon on its way to Eastborough. It was an accommodation, and Quincy had plenty of time to point out the objects of interest on the way. Rosa was not a lover of the country. She acknowledged this to Quincy, saying that she was born and educated in the country, but that she preferred paved streets and brick sidewalks to green lanes and dusty roads.
Alice had not waited for Quincy’s return to broach the matter of the gift of the Putnam house to Ezekiel and Huldy. She had simply asked Quincy, so as to assure herself that there was no legal objection or reason why she should not make the transfer.