As Quincy entered the room Huldy looked up and a faint smile lighted her face. Her usually rosy cheeks showed only a faint touch of pink. The helpless left arm, in its plaster of paris jacket, rested on the outside of the white quilt, the fingers on her little hand projecting beyond the covering.
Quincy advanced to the bedside and took a vacant chair. The nurse was sitting by the window. She glanced up at him and at Mrs. Mason, who followed close behind him, but continued the reading of her book.
Quincy said lightly, as he reached over and took the right hand and gave it a little shake, “You’re not shaking hands with the left, Miss Mason.”
“No,” said Huldy, “I wish I could shake it, but nurse says it will have to stay on for two or three weeks, and it is so heavy, Mr. Sawyer.”
Mrs. Mason went to the nurse and whispered to her, “Don’t let him stay too long.” The nurse nodded and Mrs. Mason left the room.
Quincy said in a low tone, as he sat in the chair by the bedside, “Miss Mason, I can’t express my sorrow for this unfortunate occurrence. Your mother says you have told her it was your fault. But I insisted it was my fault in allowing you to drive a strange horse.”
Huldy smiled. “It wasn’t the horse, Mr. Sawyer,” she said, and quickly changing the subject asked, “Where are you going to board now?”.
“Old Uncle Ike Pettengill has taken pity on me,” replied Quincy, thinking he would not say anything about going to Ezekiel Pettengill’s house.
“But,” said Huldy, “Zekiel called here this morning before he went to Boston for his sister and told me that Uncle Ike was coming to live with him. Didn’t I hear them take your trunk away a little while ago?”
Quincy saw it was useless to prevaricate, so he said, “My trunk was taken to Mr. Ezekiel Pettengill’s house.”
“I hope you and ’Zekiel will be good friends,” said Huldy, with a grave look on her face.
“I trust we may become so,” remarked Quincy. “I am afraid we are not now, and I am still more afraid it is my fault that we are not on the best of terms.”
Huldy turned her face towards him, a red flush coloring her cheeks and brow. “No,” she said, with vehemence, “it was my fault, and you know it, Mr. Sawyer. How you must hate me for having caused you so much trouble.” She gave a convulsive sob and burst into a flood of tears.
Quincy was on the point of assuring Huldy that he could never hate her and that they would always be good friends, but he had no opportunity to frame the words.
As Huldy sobbed and began to cry, the nurse jumped to her feet, dropped her book on the floor, and came quickly to the bedside. She said nothing, but the look upon her face convinced Quincy that he must wait for a more auspicious moment to declare his friendly sentiment. So with a “Good-by, Miss Mason, I’ll call again soon,” he quitted the apartment and left the victim to the ministrations of the nurse.