As he quitted the room and closed the door he met Miss Rosa Very in the entry.
“I did not know,” said she, “but I am so glad to know it. She is the sweetest, purest, loveliest woman I have ever known, and your love is what she needed to complete her happiness. She will be a saint now. I will take good care of her, Mr. Sawyer, until you come again, for I love her, too.”
Quincy pressed her hand warmly, and the next moment was in the little street. He was a rich man, as the world judges riches, but to him his greatest treasure was Alice’s first kiss, still warm upon his lips.
Then they were married.
When he bade Alice good-by for a week, Quincy was keeping a promise he had made to his father. The second evening before he had spent with his family at Nahant, and while he was smoking an after-dinner cigar upon the veranda, the Hon. Nathaniel had joined him.
“Quincy,” said the latter, “I must ask you when you intend to resume your professional duties. You are now restored to health, and it is my desire that you do so at once.”
“While I would not wilfully show disrespect to your wishes, father,” said Quincy, calmly, “I must say frankly that I do not care to go back to the office. The study of law is repugnant to me, and its practice would be a daily martyrdom.”
“What!” cried the Hon. Nathaniel, starting in his chair. “Perhaps, sir, you have fixed upon a calling that is more elevated and ennobling than the law.”
“One more congenial, at any rate,” remarked Quincy.
“Then you have chosen a profession,” said his father with some eagerness. “May I inquire what it is?”
“It can hardly be called a profession,” he answered. “I’ve bought a third interest in a country grocery store.”
If the Hon. Nathaniel started before, this last piece of information fairly brought him to his feet. “And may I inquire, sir,” he thundered, “if this special partnership in a country grocery store is the summit of your ambitions? I suppose I shall hear next that you are engaged to some farmer’s daughter, and propose to marry her, regardless of the wishes of your family, and despite the terrible example supplied by your Uncle James.”
“It hasn’t come to that yet,” remarked Quincy, calmly, “but it may if I find a farmer’s daughter who comes up to my ideal of a wife and to whom I can give an honest love.”
The Hon. Nathaniel sank back in his chair. Quincy continued, “I will not try to answer your sarcastic reference to the grocery store. It is a good investment and an honorable business, fully as honorable as cheating the prison or the gallows of what is due them; but the summit of my ambition is by no means reached. I am young yet and have plenty of time to study the ground before expanding my career, but I will tell you, privately and confidentially, that my friends have asked me to run for the General Court, and I have about decided to stand as a candidate for nomination as representative from our district.”