A quiet evening.
After the somewhat exciting termination of his interview with Miss Mason, Quincy left the house quickly and walked down to Ezekiel Pettengill’s. Uncle Ike was there and he told Mandy to show Mr. Sawyer to his room, which proved to be the big front one upstairs.
When he was alone, Quincy sank into the capacious rocking chair and fell to thinking. His mind went back to his parting with Miss Mason. She had said that it wasn’t the horse, so it must have been what he said to her. Was she angry because he had decided to go in order to stop village gossip, or had she really cared for him? Well, it was over now. He would never know what her real feelings were, and after all it was best for him not to know. He would drop the whole matter where it was. Then he began to think about his present position. Here he was located in the house of the man who would naturally be considered the last one to desire his company.
Uncle Ike had told him that he would make it all right. If he failed in this and Ezekiel objected to his remaining he could move again. He was determined not to leave Mason’s Corner till he got ready, and he felt sure he would not be ready to go until he had squared accounts with Strout.
Presently he heard the sound of wheels. The Pettengill house faced the south and Eastborough Centre lay west of Mason’s Corner, so he could not see the team when it arrived, as it drove up to the back door, but he knew that Ezekiel had arrived with his sister. Uncle Ike and Cobb’s twins went down stairs quickly; there was a jumble of voices, and then the party entered the house. A short time after he heard persons moving in the room adjoining his, and guessed that Ezekiel’s sister was to occupy it.
Then he fell to imagining the conversation that was doubtless going on between Uncle Ike and his nephew. Quincy was not naturally nervous, but he did not like suspense; almost unconsciously he arose and walked back and forth across the room several times. Then it occurred to him that probably the uncle and nephew were having their conversation in the parlor, which was right under him, and he curbed his impatience and threw himself into the armchair, which stood near the open fireplace.
As he did so there came a sharp rap at the door. In response to the quick uttered “Come in,” the door opened and Uncle Ike entered. He came forward, took a seat in the rocking chair near Quincy and passed him two letters.
Quincy looked up inquiringly. He had had his mail sent to Eastborough Centre, where he had hired a box. At the Mason’s Corner post office the letters were stuck upon a rack, where every one could see them, and Quincy did not care to have the loungers at Hill’s grocery inspecting his correspondence.
Uncle Ike saw the look and understood it. Then he said, “’Zekiel brought these over from Eastborough Centre. He didn’t want to, but the postmaster said one of them was marked ‘In haste,’ and he had been over to the hotel and found that you had gone to Mason’s Corner, and probably wouldn’t be back to-day, and so he thought ’Zekiel better bring it over.”