“I won’t go near that girl again,” said he, with a determined look upon his face. The next moment he had banished Lindy Putnam from his mind, and was thinking of that other girl who was sitting not six feet from him. He could hear Uncle Ike’s voice, and he knew that Alice’s letters were being read to her. Then he fell into a reverie as the twilight shadows gathered round him. As the room grew darker the fire grew brighter, and in it he could seem to see a picture of a fair-haired girl sitting in a chair and listening with evident interest to a young man who was reading to her from a newspaper.
The young girl placed her hand upon his arm and asked a question. The young man dropped the paper and gazed into the girl’s face with a look full of tenderness, and placing one of his hands upon that of the young girl clasped it fondly, and Quincy saw that the face of this young man was his own. He sat there until there came a loud rap upon the door and Mandy’s voice called out, “Supper’s ready.”
While Quincy was taking his first steps in Lover’s Lane, which steps so often lead to the high road of Matrimony, ’Zekiel Pettengill had reached the end of his lane, which had been very long with many devious turns, and he found himself at that point where the next important question was to fix the day.
’Zekiel was a strong-minded, self-willed, self-reliant young man, but in the presence of Huldy Mason he was as big a coward as the world ever saw. She had sent a little note to him, saying that she wished to see him that afternoon, and he knew their fates would be decided that day. He was hopeful, but the most hopeful lover has spasms of uncertainty until his lady love has said yes and yes again.
Dressed in his best, ’Zekiel knocked at Deacon Mason’s front door. For an instant he wished himself safe at home and debated whether he could get round the corner of the house before the door was opened. He turned his head to measure the distance, but at that moment the door was opened, and Mrs. Mason’s smiling face was before him, and her pleasant, cheery voice said, “Come in, ’Zekiel.”
He felt reassured by this, for he argued to himself that she would have called him Mr. Pettengill if there had been any change in her feelings towards him. They entered the parlor, and Mrs. Mason said, “Take off your things and leave them right here, and go right up and see Huldy. She is waitin’ for you. The doctor’s been and gone. He took that plaster thing off Huldy’s arm, says she’s all right now, only she must be keerful, not do any heavy liftin’ with it till it gets good and strong. He said it would be some time before she could help me much with the housework, so I am going to get a girl for a month or two. I heerd your sister got home, ’Zeke. They do say she’s blind. I am awful sorry, ’Zekiel.