“I’ve got to carry these eggs down to the store and get some sugar,” said Rebecca.
Rose assented, absently. She was full of the thought of her talk with Barney.
“It’s a pleasant day, ain’t it?” said Rebecca.
“Yes, it’s real pleasant. Say, Rebecca, I’m awful afraid I made Barney mad just now.”
“Why, what did you do?”
“I stopped in the field when I was going by. I’d been up to see Charlotte, and I said something about it to him.”
“How much do you know about it?” Rebecca asked, abruptly.
“Charlotte told me this mornin’, and last night when I was going to her house across lots I saw Barney going, and heard her calling him back. I thought I’d see if I couldn’t coax him to make up with her, but I couldn’t.”
“Oh, he’ll come round,” said Rebecca.
“Then you think it’ll be made up?” Rose asked, quickly.
“Of course it will. We’re having a terrible time about poor Barney. He didn’t come home last night, and it’s much as ever he’s spoken this morning. He wouldn’t eat any breakfast. He just went into his room, and put on his other clothes, and then went out in the field to work. He wouldn’t tell mother anything about it. I never saw her so worked up. She’s terribly afraid he’s done something wrong.”
“He hasn’t done anything wrong,” returned Rose. “I think your mother is terrible hard on him. It’s Uncle Cephas; he just picked the quarrel. He hasn’t never more’n half liked Barney. So you think Barney will make up with Charlotte, and they’ll get married, after all?”
“Of course they will,” Rebecca replied, promptly. “I guess they won’t be such fools as not to for such a silly reason as that, when Barney’s got his house ’most done, and Charlotte has got all her wedding-clothes ready.”
“Ain’t Barney terrible set?”
“He’s set enough, but I guess you’ll find he won’t be this time.”
“Well, I’m sure I hope he won’t be,” Rose said, and she walked along silently, her face sober in the depths of her bonnet.
They came to Richard Alger’s house on the right-hand side of the road, and Rebecca looked reflectively at the white cottage with its steep peak of Gothic roof set upon a ploughed hill. “It’s queer how he’s been going with your aunt Sylvy all these years,” she said.
“Yes, ’tis,” assented Rose, and she too glanced up at the house. As they looked, a man came around the corner with a basket. He was about to plant potatoes in his hilly yard.
“There he is now,” said Rose.
They watched Richard Alger coming towards them, past a great tree whose new leaves were as red as flowers.
“What do you suppose the reason is?” Rebecca said, in a low voice.
“I don’t know. I suppose he’s got used to living this way.”
“I shouldn’t think they’d be very happy,” Rebecca said; and she blushed, and her voice had a shamefaced tone.