But amid all the contending emotions, Sedgwick kept a furtive watch upon the two old men. They were exceedingly gracious, but they gave Sedgwick the impression that they were striving too hard to be agreeable.
Jack was in the seventh heaven. He tried to conceal his joy, but every moment he would glance at Rose Jenvie with a look in his eyes which was enough to show any miner where his bonanza was. Sedgwick was wildly smitten, himself, but he kept his wits about him enough to watch and try to fathom what in the bearing of the old men for some inexplainable reason disturbed him.
When the company separated and sought their respective apartments, Jack went to his own room, threw off his coat, put on slippers and lighted a cigar, crossed the hall, first tapped upon the door of Sedgwick’s room, then pushed it open, walked in, closed the door, and then burst out with “Jim, is she not a glory of the earth?”
“I think she is, indeed,” was the reply. Sedgwick was thinking of Grace.
“Is there another such girl in all the world, Jim?” said Jack.
“I don’t believe there is, old boy; not another one,” said Sedgwick.
“What a queenly head she has! What a throat of snow! What an infinite grace! ‘Whether she sits or stands or walks or whatever thing she does,’ she is divine,” said Jack.
“She impressed me just that way,” said Sedgwick.
“Not too short, not too tall, with just enough flesh and blood to keep one in mind that while she is divine, she is still a woman,” said Jack.
“Only base metal enough to hold the precious metal in place,” said Sedgwick.
So Jack rattled on in the very ecstasy of his love, and so Sedgwick, quite as deeply involved, replied; the one talking of Rose, the other of Grace.
At length, however, Sedgwick roused himself and said: “Jack, old boy, tell me how the old men received you.”
“With open arms,” said Jack. “My step-father grasped both my hands, said he was hasty in banishing me as he did, that his heart had been filled with remorse ever since, that he had sought in vain to find me. And old man Jenvie, with a hearty welcome and jolly laugh, declared that I served him exactly right when I floored him; that it had made a better man of him ever since, and that he was glad to welcome me back to England.”
Sedgwick listened, and when Jack ceased speaking there was silence for a full minute, until Jack said:
“What are you thinking of, Jim?”
“Nothing much,” said Sedgwick; “only, Jack, I have changed my mind. I will stay and help you through the wedding; only hurry it along as swiftly as you conveniently can.”
“There is something on your mind, Jim,” said Jack. “What is it, old friend?”
“Nothing, Jack; nothing but a mean suspicion, for which I can give myself no tangible excuse for entertaining,” asked Sedgwick.
“Suspicion, Jim! Which way do the indications lead?” asked Jack.