It was nearly an hour before Kate and Mr. Newcombe returned, and when they came back they did not look happy. Dickory observed their sad visages, but the sight did not make him sad. Kate took Dame Charter by the hand and led her to the bench.
“You have been so kind to me,” she said, “that I have almost come to look upon you as a mother, even though I have known you such a little while, and I want to tell you what I have been talking about, and what I think I am going to do.”
Mr. Newcombe now stood by, and Dickory also. His mother was not quite sure that this was the right place for him, but as he had already done so much for the young lady, there was, perhaps, no reason why he should be debarred from hearing what she had to say.
“This gentleman,” said Kate, indicating Martin Newcombe, “sympathizes with me very greatly in my present unfortunate position: having no home to which I can go, and having no relative belonging to this island but my father, who is sailing upon the seas, I know not where; and therefore, in his great kindness, has offered to marry me and to take me to his home, which thereafter would be my home, and in which I should have all comforts and rights.”
Now Dickory’s face was like the sky before a shower. His mother saw it out of the corner of her eye, but the others did not look at him.
“This was very kind and very good,” continued Kate.
“Not at all, not at all,” interrupted Master Newcombe, “except that it was kind and good to myself; for there is nothing in this world which you need and want as much as I need and want you.”
At this Dickory’s brow grew darker.
“I believe all you say,” said Kate, “for I am sure you are an honest and a true man, but, as I told you, I cannot marry you; for, even had I made up my mind on the subject, which I have not, I could not marry any one at such a time as this, not knowing my father’s will upon the subject or where he is.”
The sun broke out on Dickory’s countenance without a shower; his mother noticed the change.
“But as I must do something,” Kate went on, “a plan came to me while Mr. Newcombe was talking to me, and I have been thinking of it ever since, and now, as I speak, I am becoming fully determined in regard to it; that is, if I can carry it out. It often happens,” she said, with a faint smile, “that when people ask advice they become more and more strengthened in their own opinion. My opinion, and I may say my plan, is this: When my father told me he was going away in his ship, he agreed to take me with him on a little voyage, leaving me with my mother’s brother at the island of Jamaica, not far from Spanish Town. In purposing this he thought, no doubt, that it would be far better for me to be with my own blood, if his voyage should be long, rather than to live with one who is no relative