“I wish that I could settle down to something definite,” Lois sighed. “I have never been so restless in all my life as I have to-day. I have the feeling that something wonderful is about to happen, and that a great change is to take place in my life. If I were superstitious I should be quite uneasy.”
“Is it a feeling of dread?” Margaret asked.
“No, not at all. I cannot explain it, for I never experienced anything like it before.”
This conversation was suddenly interrupted by a long succession of raucous honks up the road, and in a few seconds a car swung around the corner of the house and stopped before the verandah.
Lois had risen and stepped forward. But she stopped short in amazement when she saw Jasper in the car, seated by Mr. Westcote’s side. Her father and Dick were in the front seat, but she hardly noticed them. Jasper was free! That was the one idea which filled her mind. It seemed almost too good to be true. Just what happened next she was not altogether certain. She welcomed them all and listened to their voices, but she seemed to be living in a dream from which she would suddenly awaken. She took her place as usual at the head of the table, but made so many mistakes that Dick laughed at her.
“What’s the matter, Lois?” he enquired. “You’re surely strong on hot water. You’ve given me a cup of it instead of tea, and the rest you poured into the milk pitcher.”
“Did I do that?” Lois asked in surprise. “Well, I guess I’m rattled, anyway. You have told me so many things during the last half hour that my brain is all in a whirl.”
Jasper was as much excited as Lois, though outwardly he remained calm. He said very little, and let Mr. Westcote tell how their car had broken down and but for the timely arrival of Mr. Sinclair and Dick they would not have been able to reach their destination. He recalled his feeling of dismay when they were stalled, and he feared that he would not be able to see Lois that night. He did want to tell her how grateful he was for what she had done for him. But now he was near her and yet he had not told her. He had thought over the proper words he would say, but when he had taken her hand as she met him at the verandah steps, he did not utter them.
After dinner they all went out upon the verandah, and what a delightful time that was. It was a happy company, and for a while all cares were banished. It was a balmy evening, the wind of the afternoon having subsided, and all nature was hushed in repose as the shades of night began to steal over the land. It was the hour of enchantment, and while Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Westcote discussed matters relating to the work at the falls, Dick and Margaret strolled slowly down to the river.
Jasper and Lois thus found themselves sitting alone on the verandah steps.
“Suppose we pay a visit to the Haven,” Jasper suggested. “It is a perfect night for a walk, and I know the captain and his wife will be glad to hear the news. Your father won’t mind our leaving him, will he?”