“I certainly do like wedding cake, Anna, but then, I like everything to eat. Some folks don’t like one thing, some folks don’t like another. Difference between them an’ me is, I like everything.”
Anna laughed in spite of herself.
“Yes, since I like everything, and I like it all the time, why, I ain’t more than swallowed the last buckwheat for breakfast, than I am ready for dinner. You don’t s’pose I’m sick or anything, do you, Anna?”
“I don’t think the symptoms sound alarming, Hi.”
“Well, you take a load off my mind, Anna, cause I was getting scared about myself.” Seeing the empty water-pail, Hi refilled it and carried it in the house for Anna. Dave was not the only one in that household who was miserable, owing to Cupid’s unaccountable antics. Professor Sterling, the well-paying summer boarder, continued to remain with the Bartletts, though summer, the happy season during which the rustic may square his grudge with the city man within his gates, had long since passed.
The professor had spared enough time from his bugs and beetles to notice how blue Kate’s eyes were, and how luxurious her hair; then he had also, with some misgivings, regarded his own in the mirror, with the unassuring result that his hair was thinning on top and his eyes looked old through his gold-bowed spectacles.
The discovery did not meet with the indifference one might have expected on the part of the conscientious entomologist. He fell even to the depths of reading hair-restoring circulars and he spent considerable time debating whether he should change his spectacles for a pince-nez.
The spectacles, however, continued to do their work nobly for the professor, not only assisting him to make his scientific observations on the habits of a potato-bug in captivity, but showing him with far more clearness that Kate Brewster and Lennox Sanderson contrived to spend a great deal of time in each other’s society, and that both seemed to enjoy the time thus spent.
The professor went back to his beetles, but they palled. The most gorgeous butterfly ever constructed had not one-tenth the charm for him that was contained in a glance of Kate Brewster’s eyes, or a glimpse of her golden head as she flitted about the house. And so the autumn waned.
THE QUALITY OF MERCY
“Teach me to feel another’s
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.”—Pope.
Sanderson, during his visits to the Bartlett farm—and they became more frequent as time went on—would look at Anna with cold curiosity, not unmixed with contempt, when by chance they happened to be alone for a moment. But the girl never displayed by so much as the quiver of an eye-lash that she had ever seen him before.
Had Lennox Sanderson been capable of fathoming Anna Moore, or even of reading her present marble look or tone, he would have seen that he had little to apprehend from her beyond contempt, a thing he would not in the least have minded; but he was cunning, and like the cunning shallow. So he began to formulate plans for making things even with Anna—in other words, buying her off.