Perhaps she would not have been so sure if she could have looked into his mind. The day that Becky had ridden away, hidden by the flaps of the old surrey, the spark of his somewhat fickle interest had been lighted, and the glimpse that he had had of her this morning had fanned the spark into a flame.
“Did you say the old man’s name is Bannister?” he asked Oscar as the Judge’s party passed them later on their way to their seats.
“Yes. Judge Bannister. I tried to buy his place before I decided on Hamilton Hill. But he wouldn’t sell. He said he wouldn’t have any place for his stuffed birds.”
“His hobby is the game birds of Virginia. He has a whole room of them. I offered him a good price, but I suppose he’d rather starve than take it.”
The Judge’s box was just above Oscar Waterman’s. Becky, looking up, saw Dalton’s eyes upon her.
“It’s the man who came with you on the train,” she told Randy.
“What’s he wearing a pink coat for?” Randy demanded. “He isn’t riding.”
“He probably knows that he looks well in it.”
“That isn’t a reason.”
Becky took another look. “He has a head like the bust of Apollo in our study hall.”
“I’d hate to have a head like that.”
“Well, you haven’t,” she told him; “you may hug that thought to yourself if it is any consolation, Randy.”
Caroline Paine’s boarders sat high up on the grandstand. If the boarders seem in this book to be spoken of collectively, like the Chorus in a Greek play, or the sisters and aunts and cousins in “Pinafore,” it is not because they are not individually interesting. It is because, en Massey only, have they any meaning in this history.
Now as they sat on the grandstand, they discerned Mrs. Paine in the Judge’s box. They waved at her, and they waved at Randy, they waved also at Major Prime. They demanded recognition—some of the more enthusiastic detached themselves finally from the main group and came down to visit Caroline. The overflow straggled along the steps to the edge of the Waterman box. One genial gentleman was forced finally to sit on the rail, so that his elbow stuck straight into the middle of the back of George’s huntsman’s pink.
George moved impatiently. “Can’t you find any other place to sit?”
The genial gentleman beamed on him. “I have a seat over there. But we came down to see Mrs. Paine. She is in Judge Bannister’s box and we board with her—at King’s Crest. And say, she’s a corker!”
George, surveying Becky with increasing interest, decided that she was a bit above her surroundings. She sat as it were with—Publicans. George may not have used the Scriptural phrase, but he had the feeling. He was Pharisaic ally thankful that he was not as that conglomerate group in the Bannister box. A cheap crowd was his estimate. It would be rather nice to give the little girl a good time!