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Jewel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 241 pages of information about Jewel.

CHAPTER XXIII

MRS. EVRINGHAM’S CALLER

Mrs. Evringham was busily chewing the cud of sweet fancies only, that afternoon.  Following the equestrians in their leafy woodland path, she pictured them as talking of their future, and herself built many castles in the air.  “Ah,” she thought sentimentally, leaning back in her reclining chair, “how charming is youth—­with plenty of money!”

She was roused from these luxurious meditations by the appearance of Sarah, bearing a card on a salver.

“A man!” she exclaimed with annoyance.  “I’m not dressed.”

Lifting the card, she read it with a start.

“Mr. Nathan Wycliffe Bonnell.”

“Tell him I’ll be down soon,” was all she said; but her thoughts ran swiftly as she hurriedly slipped into her gown.  “How in the world comes the boy out here?  Just as well that Eloise is away.  It would only be painful to her, all the old associations.”  But old associations cropped up more and more enticingly for Mrs. Evringham as she made her swift toilet, and by the time she reached the drawing-room her eagerness lent her cordiality a very genuine tone.

“Nat, dear boy, how are you?”

The young man who rose eagerly to meet her would have been noticeable in any crowd.  She gazed up into his smooth-shaven, frank face, with its alert eyes and strong chin, and felt a yearning affection for all which he represented to her.  “What are you doing out here?”

“Visiting you and Eloise,” he answered, with the hearty relish which always characterized his manner when circumstances were agreeable.  “Where is she?”

“Riding.  I don’t know when they will come home, either.  It’s such a charming day, isn’t it?  So good of you to hunt us up, Nat.  We’ve been out of the world so long.  I can’t tell you what a rush of memories comes over me at sight of you, you nice, big boy.  I do believe you’ve been growing.”  She gave a glance of approval at the young man’s stalwart proportions.

“Oh, don’t humiliate me,” he laughed, as she drew him to a divan, where they seated themselves.

“How could you get away at this hour?”

“I’m changing my business, and get a week’s vacation thereby.  Great luck, isn’t it?”

“I hope so.  Are you going to do better?”

“Much better.  It’s only a little matter of time now, Mrs.
Evringham—­automobiles, steam yachts, and all the rest of it.”

“Ah, the optimism of youth!” she sighed, gazing at the dancing lights in his eyes.  “It’s very beautiful, and usually entirely unfounded.  You look so radiant, my dear.  Perhaps you have come out here to let us congratulate you.  Have you found that desirable girl?  I certainly should be the first to be told, for I always talked to you very plainly, didn’t I?”

“Indeed you did, Mrs. Evringham.  You always kept my ineligibility before me strenuously.”

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