“Me? Lord, yes! I ust to fret about everything—fretted for fear it would blow and for fear it wouldn’t blow.” His eyes were on the shifting green waves. “I never put down a net nor a lobster-pot that I didn’t see ’em bein’ chewed up or knocked to pieces. I’d see a shark a-swimmin’ right through a big hole—rip-p—tear. I could see it as plain as if I was down there under the water—all kind o’ green and cool, and things swimmin’ through it. I can see it jest the same now if I shut my eyes, only it’s fishes I see swimmin’ into my net now—shoals of ’em. The’ ain’t a shark in sight.” He was looking down at her, smiling.
She nodded. “You’re an optimist now.”
He stared a little. “No, I don’t reckon I’m anything that sounds like that, but I do take life comf’tabul. The’ ain’t a place anywheres ‘round to set and rest, is the’? You look to me kind o’ used up.”
“I am tired—a little. Come. There won’t be any one here.” She led the way into a small room beyond. A bench facing the large room was vacant, and they sat down on it. Through the vista of the open door they could see two of Alan’s pictures. They sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the crowd come and go in front of the pictures. She turned to him at last with a little smile. “They are making a hit,” she said.
“Be they?” He peered at them intently. His face softened. “They’d o’t to. They’re nice picters.”
“Yes.” She had started forward a little, her breath coming swiftly. “Do you see that man—the tall one with the gray hair and pointed beard?”
Uncle William adjusted his spectacles. “That kind o’ peaked one, you mean, that dips along some like a government lighter?”
She laughed out, her hands moving with little gestures of pleasure. “That’s the one. I know him.”
“Do you?” Uncle William looked at him again politely. “He has a good deal o’ trimmin’ on, but he looks like a nice sort o’ man.”
“He is—he is—if he’s the one I think—”
The man, who wore on his coat the decoration of several orders, had turned a little and was looking back over the crowd.
The girl clasped her hands tightly. “Oh, it is,” she said under her breath. “It is.”
Uncle William looked down almost jealously. “You set a good deal o’ store by seein’ him,” he said.
“It isn’t that. I like him, yes, but he knows good work. If he really takes them in, he’ll not let them go.”
Uncle William adjusted his spectacles again. “You mean—”
“He will buy them, yes. Hush!” She held out her hand.
The man had turned back to the pictures. He lifted a pair of eyeglasses that swung at the end of a long chain and placed them on his nose. He looked again at the picture before him. The glasses dropped from his nose, and he dipped to the catalogue he held in his hand.
Uncle William’s glance followed him a little uneasily. “You mean he’ll buy my house?” he asked.