She did not see him; and he could only think of one thing to be done, which was to shout her name.
The words were uttered with a jerk and a look meant to imply to the cottages opposite that he was now simply one who liked shouting as a pleasant way of passing his time, without any reference to persons in gardens. The name died away, and the unconscious Miss Day continued digging and pulling as before.
He screwed himself up to enduring the cottage-windows yet more stoically, and shouted again. Fancy took no notice whatever.
He shouted the third time, with desperate vehemence, turning suddenly about and retiring a little distance, as if it were by no means for his own pleasure that he had come.
This time she heard him, came down the garden, and entered the school at the back. Footsteps echoed across the interior, the door opened, and three-quarters of the blooming young schoolmistress’s face and figure stood revealed before him; a slice on her left-hand side being cut off by the edge of the door. Having surveyed and recognized him, she came to the gate.
At sight of him had the pink of her cheeks increased, lessened, or did it continue to cover its normal area of ground? It was a question meditated several hundreds of times by her visitor in after-hours—the meditation, after wearying involutions, always ending in one way, that it was impossible to say.
“Your handkerchief: Miss Day: I called with.” He held it out spasmodically and awkwardly. “Mother found it: under a chair.”
“O, thank you very much for bringing it, Mr. Dewy. I couldn’t think where I had dropped it.”
Now Dick, not being an experienced lover—indeed, never before having been engaged in the practice of love-making at all, except in a small schoolboy way—could not take advantage of the situation; and out came the blunder, which afterwards cost him so many bitter moments and a sleepless night:-
“Good morning, Miss Day.”
“Good morning, Mr. Dewy.”
The gate was closed; she was gone; and Dick was standing outside, unchanged in his condition from what he had been before he called. Of course the Angel was not to blame—a young woman living alone in a house could not ask him indoors unless she had known him better—he should have kept her outside before floundering into that fatal farewell. He wished that before he called he had realized more fully than he did the pleasure of being about to call; and turned away.