“Ah!” was the simple response.
“Yes. Don’t you remember,” and he took Mary’s unresisting hand—“the pledge of this hand which you made me, I cannot tell how many years ago?”
“That was a mere girlish pledge,” ventured Mary, with drooping eyes.
“But one that the woman will redeem,” said Edwards confidently, raising the hand to his lips at the same time, and kissing it.
Mary leaned involuntarily towards him; and he, perceiving the movement, drew his arm around her, and pressed his lips to her cheek.
It was no very long time afterwards before the pledge was redeemed.
“DON’T mention it again for your life.”
“No, of course not. The least said about such things the better.”
“Don’t for the world. I have told you in perfect confidence, and you are the only one to whom I have breathed it. I wouldn’t have it get out for any consideration.”
“Give yourself no uneasiness. I shall not allude to the subject.”
“I merely told you because I knew you were a friend, and would let it go no farther. But would you have thought it?”
“I certainly am very much surprised.”
“So am I. But when things pass right before your eyes and ears, there is no gainsaying them.”
“No. Seeing is said to be believing.”
“Of course it is.”
“But, Mrs. Grimes, are you very sure that you heard aright?”
“I am positive, Mrs. Raynor. It occurred only an hour ago, and the whole thing is distinctly remembered. I called in to see Mrs. Comegys, and while I was there, the bundle of goods came home. I was present when she opened it, and she showed me the lawn dress it contained. There were twelve yards in it. ’I must see if there is good measure,’ she said, and she got a yard-stick and measured it off. There were fifteen yards instead of twelve. ‘How is this?’ she remarked. ’I am sure I paid for only twelve yards, and here are fifteen.’ The yard-stick was applied again. There was no mistake; the lawn measured fifteen yards. ’What are you going to do with the surplus?’ I asked. ‘Keep it, of course,’ said Mrs. Comegys. ’There is just enough to make little Julia a frock. Won’t she look sweet in it?,’ I was so confounded that I couldn’t say a word. Indeed, I could hardly look her in the face. At first I thought of calling her attention to the dishonesty of the act; but then I reflected that, as it was none of my business, I might get her ill-will for meddling in what didn’t concern me.”
“And you really think, then, that she meant to keep the three yards without paying for them?
“Oh, certainly! But then I wouldn’t say anything about it for the world. I wouldn’t name it, on any consideration. Of course you will not repeat it.”
“No. If I cannot find any good to tell of my friends, I try to refrain from saying anything evil.”