“Judy,” she said, at last, “it seems to me I must have seen you somewhere before, though where, I don’t know.”
“Like enough, honey,” returned Judy. “Your voice sounds mighty nateral, and them black eyes shine an’ glisten like some oder eyes I seen somewhar. Has you been in Floridy, chile?”
“No,” returned Edith; “I was born in New York City, I believe.”
“Then ’taint likely we’s met afore,” said Judy, “though you do grow on me ‘mazin’ly. You’re the very spawn o’ somebody. Phillis, who does the young lady look like?”
Phillis, who had been rummaging the closets and cupboards, now came forward, and scrutinizing Edith’s features, said, “She favors Master Ber-nard’s last wife, only she’s taller and plumper.”
But with the querulousness of old age Judy scouted the idea.
“Reckoned she knowed how Marster Bernard’s last wife looked. ’Twan’t no more like the young lady than ’twas like Uncle Abe,” and with her mind thus brought back to Abel, she commenced an eulogy upon him, to which Edith did not care to listen, and she gladly followed Phillis into the pantry, explaining to her the use of such conveniences as she did not fully understand.
“Two o’clock!” she exclaimed, as she heard the silver bell from the library clock. “Richard’ll think I’m lost,” and bidding her new acquaintances good bye, she hurried to the gate, having first given orders for Bedouin to be brought from the stable.
“Shan’t I go home wid you, Miss?” asked the negro, who held the pony; “it’s hardly fittin’ for you to go alone.”
But Edith assured him she was not afraid, and galloped swiftly down the road, while the negro John looked admiringly after, declaring to his father, who joined him, that “she rode mighty well for a Yankee girl.”
Arthur St. Claire had returned from Worcester, but it was several days ere he presented himself at Collingwood; and Edith was beginning to think he had forgotten her and the promised drawing lessons, when he one evening was ushered by Victor into the parlor, where she was singing to Richard his favorite songs. He was paler than when she saw him before, and she fancied that he seemed weary and worn, as if sleep and himself had been for a long time strangers.
“Did you leave your friend better?” she asked.
“Yes, better,” he answered hurriedly, changing the conversation to topics evidently more agreeable.
One could not be very unhappy in Edith’s presence. She possessed so much life, vivacity and vigor, that her companions were sure to become more or less imbued with her cheerful spirit; and as the evening advanced, Arthur became much like the Arthur of Brier Hill memory, and even laughed aloud on several occasions.
“I wish I was sure of finding at Grassy Spring somebody just like you,” he said to Edith when at last he arose to go. “Yon have driven away a whole army of blues. I almost believe I’d be willing to be blind, if, by that means, I could be cared for as Mr. Harrington is.”