The road they were on was a favorite drive with the two men, and at the point where they had now arrived David always halted for a look back and down upon the scene below them—to the south, beyond the intervening fields, bright with maturing crops, lay the village; to the west the blue lake, winding its length like a broad river, and the river itself a silver ribbon, till it was lost beneath the southern hills.
Neither spoke. For a few minutes John took in the scene with the pleasure it always afforded him, and then glanced at his companion, who usually had some comment to make upon anything which stirred his admiration or interest. He was gazing, not at the landscape, but apparently at the top of the dashboard. “Ho, hum,” he said, straightening the reins, with a “clk” to the horses, and they drove along for a while in silence—so long, in fact, that our friend, while aware that the elder man did not usually abandon a topic until he had “had his say out,” was moved to suggest a continuance of the narrative which had been rather abruptly broken off, and in which he had become considerably interested.
“Was your wife pleased?” he asked at last.
“Where was I?” asked the other in return.
“You were on your way home with your purchase,” was the reply.
“Oh, yes,” Mr. Harum resumed. “It was a little after tea time when I got to the house, an’ I thought prob’ly I’d find her in the settin’ room waitin’ fer me; but she wa’n’t, an’ I went up to the bedroom to find her, feelin’ a little less sure o’ things. She was settin’ lookin’ out o’ winder when I come in, an’ when I spoke to her she didn’t give me no answer except to say, lookin’ up at the clock, ’What’s kept ye like this?’
“‘Little matter o’ bus’nis,’ I says, lookin’ as smilin’ ’s I knew how, an’ holdin’ the box behind me.
“‘What you got there?’ she says, slewin’ her head ’round to git a sight at it.
“‘Little matter o’ bus’nis,’ I says agin, bringin’ the box to the front an’ feelin’ my face straighten out ’s if you’d run a flat iron over it. She seen the name on the paper.
“‘You ben spendin’ your time there, have ye?’ she says, settin’ up in her chair an’ pointin’ with her finger at the box. ’That’s where you ben the last half hour, hangin’ ‘round with them minxes in Mis’ Shoolbred’s. What’s in that box?’ she says, with her face a-blazin’.
“‘Now, Lizy,’ I says, ‘I wa’n’t there ten minutes if I was that, an’ I ben buyin’ you a bunnit.’
“‘You—ben—buyin’—me—a—bunnit?’ she says, stifnin’ up stiffer ’n a stake.
“‘Yes,’ I says, ‘I heard you say somethin’ ‘bout a spring bunnit, an’ I thought, seein’ how economicle you was, that I’d buy you a nicer one ’n mebbe you’d feel like yourself. I thought it would please ye,’ I says, tryin’ to rub her the right way.