“He thought that if he were not standing guard there, we might stop in the road and at least call Mother out. He wanted to be seen, and seen at his best; but as always, in command, showing his authority.”
“Don’t mind,” said John Jardine. “It’s easy to understand the situation.”
“Thank you,” said Kate. “I hope you’ll tell your mother that. I can’t bear her to think that the trouble is wholly my fault.”
“No danger of that,” he said. “Mother thinks there’s nobody in all the world like you, and so do I.”
Nancy Ellen kicked Robert’s shin, to let him know that she heard. Kate was very depressed for a time, but she soon recovered and they spent a final happy evening together. When John had parted from Robert and Nancy Ellen, with the arrangement that he was to come again the following Saturday evening and spend Sunday with them, he asked Kate to walk a short distance with him. He seemed to be debating some proposition in his mind, that he did not know how to approach. Finally he stopped abruptly and said: “Kate, Mother told me that she told you how I grew up. We have been together most of every day for six weeks. I have no idea how a man used to women goes at what I want, so I can only do what I think is right, and best, and above all honest, and fair. I’d be the happiest I’ve ever been, to do anything on earth I’ve got the money to do, for you. There’s a question I’m going to ask you the next time I come. You can think over all you know of me, and of Mother, and of what we have, and are, and be ready to tell me how you feel about everything next Sunday. There’s one question I want to ask you before I go. In case we can plan for a life together next Sunday, what about my mother?”
“Whatever pleases her best, of course,” said Kate. “Any arrangement that you feel will make her happy, will be all right with me; in the event we agree on other things.”
He laughed, shortly.
“This sounds cold-blooded and business-like,” he said. “But Mother’s been all the world to me, until I met you. I must be sure about her, and one other thing. I’ll write you about that this week. If that is all right with you, you can get ready for a deluge. I’ve held in as long as I can. Kate, will you kiss me good-bye?”
“That’s against the rules,” said Kate. “That’s getting the cart before the horse.”
“I know it,” he said. “But haven’t I been an example for six weeks? Only one. Please?”
They were back at Dr. Gray’s gate, standing in the deep shelter of a big maple. Kate said: “I’ll make a bargain with you. I’ll kiss you to-night, and if we come to an agreement next Sunday night, you shall kiss me. Is that all right?”
The reply was so indistinct Kate was not sure of it; but she took his face between her hands and gave him exactly the same kind of kiss she would have given Adam, 3d. She hesitated an instant, then gave him a second. “You may take that to your mother,” she said, and fled up the walk.