“And crazy, too?” slily interrupted Edith, who was standing near him as he leaned against the marble mantel.
“No, no—oh, heavens, no! anything but that,” and the hand he placed in Edith’s shook nervously, but soon grew still between her soft, warm palms.
There was something life-giving in Edith’s touch, as well as soul-giving in her presence, and standing there with his cold, nervous hand in hers, the young man felt himself grow strong again, and full of courage to hope for a happier future than the past had been. He knew she could not share the future with him—but he would have as much of her as possible, and just as she was wondering if he would remember the lessons, he spoke of them and asked when she could come.
“Just when Mr. Harrington thinks best,” she replied, and thus appealed to, Richard, guided by Edith’s voice, came forward and joined them.
“Any time,” he said. “To-morrow, if you like,” adding that he believed he, too, was to be always present.
Edith’s eyes sought those of Arthur, reading there a reflection of her own secret thoughts, to wit, that three would he one too many, but they could not tell him so and Arthur responded at once, “Certainly, I shall expect you both, say to-morrow at ten o’clock; I am most at leisure then.”
The next morning, at the appointed time, Richard and Edith appeared at Grassy Spring, where they found Arthur waiting for them, his portfolio upon the table, and his pencils lying near, ready to be used.
“I am afraid you’ll find it tiresome, Mr. Harrington,” he said, as he assigned his visitor a chair, and then went back to Edith.
“I shall do very well,” answered Richard, and so he did for that lesson, and the next, and the next, but at last, in spite of his assertion to the contrary, he found it dull business going to Grassy Spring twice each week, and sitting alone with nothing to occupy his mind, except, indeed, to wonder how near Arthur was to Edith, and if he bent over her as he remembered seeing drawing teachers do at school.
Richard was getting very tired of it—very weary of listening to Arthur’s directions, and to Edith’s merry laughs at her awkward blunders, and he was not sorry when one lesson-day, the fifth since they began, Grace Atherton’s voice was heard in the hall without asking for admission. He had long since forgiven Grace for jilting him, and they were the best of friends; so when she suggested their going into the adjoining room, where it was pleasanter and she could play to him if he liked, he readily assented, and while listening to her lively conversation and fine playing, he forgot the lapse of time, and was surprised when Edith came to him with the news that it was 12 o’clock.
“Pray, don’t go yet,” said Arthur, who was loth to part with his pupil. “You surely do not dine till three, and I have already ordered lunch. Here it comes,” and he pointed to the door where Phillis stood, bearing a huge silver salver, on which were wine and cake and fruit of various kinds.