Rupert Ames was a “rising young man,” lacking the finished polish of a higher education, no doubt, but still, he was no “green-horn.” Even Miss Wilton had to acknowledge that, when she became acquainted so that she could speak freely with him. He was a shrewd business man and knew how to invest his growing bank account. It was no secret that city lots and business property were continually being added to his possessions.
As to home life at the farm, Miss Wilton was always charmed with the kind hearted mother, the bright, cheerful Nina, and the handsome, sober head of the family. Such a beautiful spirit of harmony brooded over the place! Even within the year, the observant young woman could see signs of culture and coming wealth. The repairing of old buildings, and the erecting of the new ones; the repainting and decorating of rooms; the addition of costly pictures and furniture; the beautifying of the outside surroundings—all this was observed, and a mental note taken.
For a time Rupert Ames was quite reserved in the presence of the young school teacher. Naturally reticent, he was more than ever shy in the company of an educated lady from the East. Rupert never saw her but he thought of the day of her arrival on Dry Bench and the time when he held her in his arms. Never had he referred to the latter part of the episode, though she often talked of her peculiar introduction to them.
At the end of the first year, Miss Wilton had so far shown that she was but common flesh and blood that Rupert had been in her company to a number of socials, and they had walked from church a few times together. Dame gossip at once mated the two, and pronounced it a fine match.
Early in September they had a peach party at the Ames farm. Willowby’s young folks were there, and having a good time. When the sun sank behind the hills on the other side of the valley, and the cool air came from the eastern mountains, Chinese lanterns were hung on the trees, and chairs and tables were placed on the lawn. There were cake and ice-cream and peaches—peaches of all kinds, large and small, white and yellow, juicy and dry; for this was a peach party, and everybody was supposed to eat, at least, half a dozen.
The band, with Volmer Holm as leader, furnished the music; and beautiful it was, as it echoed from the porch out over the assembly on the lawn. When the strains of a waltz floated out, a dozen couples glided softly over the velvety grass.
“That’s fine music, Volmer,” Rupert was saying to the bandmaster, as the music ceased.
“Do you think so? We’ve practiced very much since our new organization was effected. Will it do for a concert?”
“You know I’m no judge of music. I like yours, though, Volmer. What do you say about it, Miss Wilton? Mr. Holm wishes to know if his music is fit for a concert?”
“Most certainly it is,” answered the young lady addressed, as she stepped up with an empty peach basket. “Mr. Holm, I understand that last piece is your own composition? If so, I must congratulate you; it is most beautiful.”