“Poor blind man,” he whispered aloud. “How like that was to Petrea, when she said of my father, ‘Poor, soft old man;’” and then he wondered again who his visitor had been, and why she had left him so abruptly.
It was a child, he knew, and he prized her gift the more for that, for Richard Harrington was a dear lover of children and he kissed the fair bouquet as he would not have kissed it had he known from whom it came. Rising at last from his seat, he groped his way back to the house, and ordering one of the costly vases in his room to be filled with water, he placed the flowers therein, and thought how carefully he would preserve them for the sake of his unknown friend.
Meantime Edith kept on her way, pausing once and looking back just in time to see Mr. Harrington kiss the flowers she had brought.
“I’m glad they please him,” she said; “but how awful it is to be blind;” and by way of trying the experiment, she shut her eyes, and stretching out her arms, walked just as Richard, succeeding so well that she was beginning to consider it rather agreeable than otherwise, when she unfortunately ran into a tall rose-bush, scratching her forehead, tangling her hair, and stubbing her toes against its gnarled roots. “’Taint so jolly to be blind after all,” she said, “I do believe I’ve broken my toe,” and extricating herself as best she could from the sharp thorns, she ran on as fast as her feet could carry her, wondering what Mrs. Atherton would say when she heard Richard was blind, and feeling a kind of natural delight in knowing she should be the first to communicate the bad news.