“Pardonnez moi, Monsieur,” said Victor, who for the sake of Edith, would sometimes stretch the truth, “I saw Mr. Floyd yesterday, and he is coming here this morning to talk with you about the west wood lot you offered for sale. Hadn’t you better stay home for once and let Miss Edith go alone.”
Edith gave a most grateful look t Victor, who had only substituted “this morning” for “some time to-day,” the latter being what Mr. Floyd had really said.
“Perhaps I had,” returned Richard. “I want so much to sell that lot, but if Edith—–”
“Never mind me, Mr. Harrington,” she cried; “I have not been on Bedouin’s back in so long a time that he is getting quite unmanageable, they say, and I shall be delighted to discipline him this morning; the roads are quite fine for winter, are they not Victor?”
“Never were better,” returned the Frenchman; smooth and hard as a rock. “You’ll enjoy it amazingly, I know. I’ll tell Jake not to get out the carriage,” and without waiting for an answer the politic victor left the room.
Richard had many misgivings as to the propriety of letting Edith go without him, and he was several times on the point of changing his mind, but Edith did not give him any chance, and at just a quarter before ten she came down equipped in her riding habit, and asking if he had any message for Mr. St. Claire.
“None in particular,” he answered, adding that she might come back through the village and bring the mail.
Once on the back of Bedouin, who danced for a few moments like a playful kitten, Edith felt sure she was going alone, and abandoning herself to her delight she flew down the carriage road at a terrific speed, which startled even Victor, great as was his faith in his young lady’s skill. But Edith had the utmost confidence in Bedouin, while Bedouin had the utmost confidence in Edith, and by the time they were out upon the main road they had come to a most amicable understanding.
“I mean to gallop round to the office now,” thought Edith; “and then I shall not be obliged to hurry away from Grassy Spring.”
Accordingly Bedouin was turned toward the village, and in an inconceivably short space of time she stood before the door of the post-office.
“Give me Mr. Harrington’s mail, please,” Edith said to the clerk who came out to meet her; “and—and Mr. St. Claire’s too, I’m going up there, and can take it as well as not.”
The clerk withdrew, and soon returned with papers for Richard, and a letter for Arthur. It was post-marked at Worcester, and Edith thought of Mr. Griswold, as she thrust it into her pocket, and started for Grassy Spring, where Arthur was anxiously awaiting her. Hastening out to meet her, he held her hand in his, while he led her up the walk, telling her by his manner, if by nothing else, how glad he was to see her.
“It has seemed an age since Tuesday,” he said. “I only live on lesson-days. I wish it was lesson-day always.”