“He is not the only one who is angry, I can assure you,” Sammie Dingle remarked. “We have been furious with you for leaving us this afternoon when we needed your company so much in the car. I cannot understand how you can enjoy yourself alone out on the river in that nasty boat.”
“No, I suppose you cannot,” Lois replied, and so infatuated was Sammie with the young woman that he did not notice the slightest sarcasm in her words.
“Hurry up, Lois,” her brother ordered, “I’m almost starved. Dad’s got it in for you.”
“All right, Dick,” was her reply. “I shall be down in a few minutes. Why did you wait for me? You had better go to dinner at once, if you are so hungry.”
It took Lois but a short time upstairs, and when she came down she found the three men in the dining-room. Her father was in one of his surly moods, and this she could tell at the first glance. He was a short man, somewhat stout, and pompous both in appearance and manner. Fortunate it was that his only daughter had inherited none of his qualities, but was more like her mother, whose memory she cherished with undying affection. Since her death home had been more of a prison to her than anything else. Neither her father nor her only brother had understood her, and she was forced to depend more and more upon her own reliant self.
“What kept you so late, Lois?” her father asked as soon as she had taken her place at the table. “You know very well that I do not like to wait for dinner.”
“I am very sorry, father,” was the reply, “but I became so greatly interested in an old man and a girl out on the river that I had no idea how time was passing.”
“Who were they, Lois?” her brother enquired.
“What new creatures have you picked up now? You haven’t run out of homeless cats and dogs, have you?”
The colour mounted to Lois’ temples at these words, for it was not the first time she had been sneered at for her tenderness of heart for all suffering creatures. With difficulty she restrained an angry reply, and went on calmly with her dinner.
“Come, Lois,” Sammie urged, “never mind Dick. He must have his little joke, don’t you know. He was only in fun.”
“A joke with a sharp thorn in it isn’t much fun,” and Lois looked Sammie full in the eyes. “One might do far worse than take an interest in such people as I met this afternoon out upon the river. They appealed to me very much and I am not ashamed to confess it. The man is a perfect gentleman, while the girl is so pretty, and full of life and fun.”
“What’s her name?” Dick asked. “I’m getting quite excited over her.”
“She’s Betty Bean, so she told me, and the old man is David Findley.”
“What, Crazy David, that miserable pauper?” Mr. Sinclair asked. “And you call such a creature a gentleman?”
“Certainly, and why not? His face is so beautiful, and his whole manner shows that he has moved much in refined society.”