They said they would be glad to come in, though, of course, with not as much joy as they felt later, when they saw that I meant to leave them to themselves for a time.
I stayed at Mrs. Jones’ until I knew that Louisa would be home if I waited any longer, and I thought, besides, that the young people had been alone long enough. Then I went home. I suppose that they were sorry to see me so soon, but they looked up at me very gratefully when I bade them good-night and thanked them. I said quite meaningly that it was a cold night and there would be a frost, and Harriet must be careful and not take cold. I thought that would be enough for Harry Liscom, unless being in love had altered him and made him selfish. I did not think he would keep his sweetheart out, even if it were his last chance of seeing her alone for so long, if he thought she would get any harm by it, especially after he had visited her for a reasonable length of time.
I was right in my opinion. They did not turn about directly and go home—I did not expect that, of course—but they walked only to the turn of the road the other way; then I saw them pass the house, and presently poor Harry returned alone.
I did pity Harry Liscom when I met him on the street a few days after the Jamesons had left. I guessed at once that he was missing his sweetheart sorely, and had not yet had a letter from her. He looked pale and downcast, though he smiled as he lifted his hat to me, but he colored a little as if he suspected that I might guess his secret.
I met him the next day, and his face was completely changed, all radiant and glowing with the veritable light of youthful hope upon it. He bowed to me with such a flash of joy in his smile that I felt quite warmed by it, though it was none of mine. I thought, though I said nothing, “Harry Liscom, you have had a letter.”
THEIR SECOND SUMMER
The Jamesons returned to Linnville the first of June. For some weeks we had seen indications of their coming. All through April and May repairs and improvements had been going on in their house. Some time during the winter the Jamesons had purchased the old Wray place, and we felt that they were to be a permanent feature in our midst.
The old Wray house had always been painted white, with green blinds, as were most of our village houses; now it was painted red, with blinds of a darker shade. When Louisa and I saw its bright walls through the budding trees we were somewhat surprised, but thought it might look rather pretty when we became accustomed to it. Very few of the neighbors agreed with us, however; they had been so used to seeing the walls of their dwellings white that this startled them almost as much as a change of color in their own faces would have done.
“We might as well set up for red Injuns and done with it,” said Mrs. Gregg one afternoon at the sewing circle. “What anybody can want anything any prettier than a neat white house with green blinds for, is beyond me.”