And as Mrs. Mason looked up into her husband’s face she said, “I am glad on’t.”
Jim Sawyer’s funeral.
Quincy obeyed the call to supper with alacrity. Possibly he thought he would be the first one at the table, but Cobb’s twins were in their places when he entered the room. ’Zekiel came in next, and Quincy’s quick eye discerned that there was a look of quiet contentment on his face which had not been there before.
Uncle Ike came down with Alice, and for the first time since her arrival she sat beside Quincy. For some reason or other the conversation lagged. Quincy surmised that ’Zekiel was too happy with his own thoughts to wish to talk, and Uncle Ike rarely conversed during meal time. He said he could not talk and eat at the same time, and as meal time was for eating he proposed to give his attention to that exclusively.
Quincy ventured a few commonplace remarks to Alice, to which she replied pleasantly. He was at a loss for a topic, when he remembered his last visit to Mrs. Putnam’s and recalled his promise to bring Alice to see her some day.
He spoke of visiting Mrs. Putnam, and Alice’s face immediately shone with pleasure. “Dear old Aunt Heppy! I must go and see her as soon as I can.”
“If you can find no better escort than myself, I trust you will command my services, unless,” said Quincy, “your brother thinks it unsafe to trust you with me.”
“He won’t be likely to let you drive, Alice,” responded ’Zekiel dryly, “so I don’t think there will be any danger.”
Quincy knew by this remark that Huldy had told ’Zekiel the facts of the case, but he maintained his composure and said, “Any time you wish to go, Miss Pettengill, I am at your service.”
As they arose from the table ’Zekiel said to his uncle, “I am coming up in your room to-night, Uncle Ike, to see you.”
Quincy knew by this that the pleasant chat in the dining-room beside the fireplace was to be omitted that evening, so he went up to his own room and read until it was time to retire.
Quincy was up early next morning. He knew his uncle could not live long, but he wished to take the trained nurse to Eastborough Centre, so he might have the best of care during the short time left to him on earth.
He found ’Zekiel at the breakfast table, and beyond a few commonplace remarks the meal was eaten in silence.
“Are you going to Eastborough Centre to-day, Mr. Sawyer?” asked ’Zekiel.
“Yes,” said Quincy; “I intended to go just as soon as one of the boys could get the team ready.”
“I’ll speak to Jim about it,” said ’Zekiel. “If you will step into the parlor, Mr. Sawyer, I would like to have a few minutes’ talk with you.”
’Zekiel went out into the barn and Quincy walked into the parlor, where he found a bright fire burning on the hearth. He threw himself into an easy-chair and awaited ’Zekiel’s return. What was up? Could ’Zekiel and Huldy have parted, and was ’Zekiel glad of it? Quincy, as the saying is, passed a “bad quarter of an hour,” for he did not like suspense. The truth, however bitter or unpalatable, was better than uncertainty.