Nancy Ellen and Robert each began making suggestions, but Kate preferred to solve her own problems.
“I think,” she said, “that I shall hide the telescope under the privet bush, there isn’t going to be rain to-night; and then I will go down to Hiram’s and stay all night and watch for Adam when he passes in the morning. Hiram always grumbles because we don’t come oftener.”
“Then we will go with you,” said Nancy Ellen. “It will be a pleasant evening walk, and we can keep you company and pacify my twin brother at the same time.”
So they all walked to the adjoining farm on the south and when Nancy Ellen and Robert were ready to start back, Kate said she was tired and she believed she would stay until morning, which was agreeable to Hiram and his wife, a girlhood friend of Kate’s. As Nancy Ellen and Robert walked back toward home: “How is this going to come out?” he asked, anxiously.
“It will come out all right,” said Nancy Ellen, serenely. “Kate hasn’t a particle of tact. She is Father himself, all over again. It will come out this way: he will tell me that Kate has gone back on him and I shall have to teach the school, and I will say that is the only solution and the best thing to do. Then I shall talk all evening about how provoking it is, and how I hate to change my plans, and say I am afraid I shall lose you if I have to put off our wedding to teach the school, and things like that,” Nancy Ellen turned a flushed sparkling face to Robert, smiling quizzically, “and to-morrow I shall go early to see Serena Woodruff, who is a fine scholar and a good teacher, but missed her school in the spring by being so sick she was afraid to contract for it. She is all right now, and she will be delighted to have the school, and when I know she will take it then I shall just happen to think of her in a day or two and I’ll suggest her, after I’ve wailed a lot more; and Father will go to see her of his own accord, and it will all be settled as easy as falling off a chunk, only I shall not get on so fast with my sewing, because of having to help Mother; but I shall do my best, and everything will be all right.”
The spot was secluded. Robert Gray stopped to tell Nancy Ellen what a wonderful girl she was. He said he was rather afraid of such diplomacy. He foresaw clearly that he was going to be a managed man. Nancy Ellen told him of course he was, all men were, the thing was not to let them know it. Then they laughed and listened to a wood robin singing out his little heart in an evening song that was almost as melodious as his spring performances had been.
THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER
Early in the morning Kate set her young nephew on the gate-post to watch for his cousin, and he was to have a penny for calling at his approach. When his lusty shout came, Kate said good-bye to her sister-in-law, paid the penny, kissed the baby, and was standing in the road when Adam stopped. He looked at her inquiringly.