“Yes. The New England type,” murmured the mother.
“They all have the same look, a good deal,” said the girl, glancing over the room where the waitresses stood ranged against the wall with their hands folded at their waists. “They have better faces than figures, but she is beautiful every way. Do you suppose they are all schoolteachers? They look intellectual. Or is it their glasses?”
“I don’t know,” said the mother. “They used to be; but things change here so rapidly it may all be different. Do you like it?”
“I think it’s charming here,” said the younger lady, evasively. “Everything is so exquisitely clean. And the food is very good. Is this corn-bread—that you’ve told me about so much?”
“Yes, this is corn-bread. You will have to get accustomed to it.”
“Perhaps it won’t take long. I could fancy that girl knowing about everything. Don’t you like her looks?”
“Oh, very much.” Mrs. Vostrand turned for another glance at Cynthia.
“What say?” Their smiling waitress came forward from the wall where she was leaning, as if she thought they had spoken to her.
“Oh, we were speaking—the young lady to whom Mr. Durgin was talking—she is—”
“She’s the housekeeper—Miss Whitwell.”
“Oh, indeed! She seems so young—”
“I guess she knows what to do-o-o,” the waitress chanted. “We think she’s about ri-i-ght.” She smiled tolerantly upon the misgiving of the stranger, if it was that, and then retreated when the mother and daughter began talking together again.
They had praised the mountain with the cloud off, to Jeff, very politely, and now the mother said, a little more intimately, but still with the deference of a society acquaintance: “He seems very gentlemanly, and I am sure he is very kind. I don’t quite know what to do about it, do you?”
“No, I don’t. It’s all strange to me, you know.”
“Yes, I suppose it must be. But you will get used to it if we remain in the country. Do you think you will dislike it?”
“Oh no! It’s very different.”
“Yes, it’s different. He is very handsome, in a certain way.” The daughter said nothing, and the mother added: “I wonder if he was trying to conceal that he had come second-cabin, and was not going to let us know that he crossed with us?”
“Do you think he was bound to do so?”
“No. But it was very odd, his not mentioning it. And his going out on a cattle-steamer?” the mother observed.
“Oh, but that’s very chic, I’ve heard,” the daughter replied. “I’ve heard that the young men like it and think it a great chance. They have great fun. It isn’t at all like second-cabin.”
“You young people have your own world,” the mother answered, caressingly.
Westover met the ladies coming out of the dining-room as he went in rather late to breakfast; he had been making a study of Lion’s Head in the morning light after the cloud lifted from it. He was always doing Lion’s Heads, it seemed to him; but he loved the mountain, and he was always finding something new in it.