“What are you here for, Jeff? Not to complain of Mrs. Vostrand?”
Jeff gave a short, shamefaced laugh. “No, it’s this you’re such an old friend of Mrs. Vostrand’s that I thought she’d be pretty sure to tell you about it; and I wanted to ask—to ask—that you wouldn’t say anything to mother.”
“You are a boy! I shouldn’t think of meddling with your affairs,” said Westover; he got up again, and Jeff rose, too.
Before noon the next day a district messenger brought Westover a letter which he easily knew, from, the now belated tall, angular hand, to be from Mrs. Vostrand. It announced on a much criss-crossed little sheet that she and Genevieve were inconsolably taking a very sudden departure, and were going on the twelve-o’clock train to New York, where Mr. Vostrand was to meet them. “In regard to that affair which I mentioned last night, he withdraws his objections (we have had an overnight telegram), and so I suppose all will go well. I cannot tell you how sorry we both are not to see you again; you have been such a dear, good friend to us; and if you don’t hear from us again at New York, you will from the other side. Genevieve had some very strange news when she came in, and we both feel very sorry for the poor young fellow. You must console him from us all you can. I did not know before how much she was attached to Gigi: but it turned out very fortunately that she could say she considered herself bound to him, and did everything to save Mr. D.’s feelings.”
Westover was not at Lion’s Head again till the summer before Jeff’s graduation. In the mean time the hotel had grown like a living thing. He could not have imagined wings in connection with the main edifice, but it had put forth wings—one that sheltered a new and enlarged dining-room, with two stories of chambers above, and another that hovered a parlor and ball-room under a like provision of chambers. An ell had been pushed back on the level behind the house; the barn had been moved farther to the southward, and on its old site a laundry built, with quarters for the help over it. All had been carefully, frugally, yet sufficiently done, and Westover was not surprised to learn that it was all the effect of Jackson Durgin’s ingenuity and energy. Mrs. Durgin confessed to having no part in it; but she had kept pace, with Cynthia Whitwell’s help, in the housekeeping. As Jackson had cautiously felt his way to the needs of their public in the enlargement and rearrangement of the hotel, the two housewives had watchfully studied, not merely the demands, but the half-conscious instincts of their guests, and had responded to them simply and adequately, in the spirit of Jackson’s exterior and structural improvements. The walls of the new rooms were left unpapered and their floors uncarpeted; there were thin rugs put down; the wood-work was merely stained. Westover found that he need not to ask especially for some hot dish at night; there was almost the abundance of a dinner, though dinner was still at one o’clock.