Nancy Ellen and Robert were sitting on the side porch, not seeming in the least sleepy, when Kate entered the house. As she stepped out to them, she found them laughing mysteriously.
“Take this chair, Kate,” said Nancy Ellen. “Come on, Robert, let’s go stand under the maple tree and let her see whether she can see us.”
“If you’re going to rehearse any momentous moment of your existence,” said Kate, “I shouldn’t think of even being on the porch. I shall keep discreetly in the house, even going at once to bed. Good-night! Pleasant dreams!”
“Now we’ve made her angry,” said Robert.
“I think there was ‘a little touch of asperity,’ as Agatha would say, in that,” said Nancy Ellen, “but Kate has a good heart. She’ll get over it before morning.”
“Would Agatha use such a common word as ’little’?” asked Robert.
“Indeed, no!” said Nancy Ellen. “She would say ‘infinitesimal.’ But all the same he kissed her.”
“If she didn’t step up and kiss him, never again shall I trust my eyes!” said the doctor.
“Hush!” cautioned Nancy Ellen. “She’s provoked now; if she hears that, she’ll never forgive us.”
Kate did not need even a hint to start her talking in the morning. The day was fine, a snappy tinge of autumn in the air, her head and heart were full. Nancy Ellen would understand and sympathize; of course Kate told her all there was to tell.
“And even at that,” said Nancy Ellen, “he hasn’t just come out right square and said ‘Kate, will you marry me?’ as I understand it.”
“Same here,” laughed Kate. “He said he had to be sure about his mother, and there was ‘one other thing’ he’d write me about this week, and he’d come again next Sunday; then if things were all right with me — the deluge!”
“And what is ‘the other thing?’” asked Nancy Ellen.
“There he has me guessing. We had six, long, lovely weeks of daily association at the lake, I’ve seen his home, and his inventions, and as much of his business as is visible to the eye of a woman who doesn’t know a tinker about business. His mother has told me minutely of his life, every day since he was born, I think. She insists that he never paid the slightest attention to a girl before, and he says the same, so there can’t be any hidden ugly feature to mar my joy. He is thoughtful, quick, kind, a self-made business man. He looks well enough, he acts like a gentleman, he seldom makes a mistake in speech —”
“He doesn’t say enough to make any mistakes. I haven’t yet heard him talk freely, give an opinion, or discuss a question,” said Nancy Ellen.