Judge Pike recovered his voice. “He’ll get a warm welcome,” he promised, huskily, “if he sets foot on my premises!”
“You mean you prefer I shouldn’t receive him here?” She nodded pleasantly. “Then certainly I shall not. Such things are much better for offices; you are quite right.”
“You’ll not see him at all!”
“Ah, Judge Pike,” she lifted her hand with gentle deprecation, “don’t you understand that we can’t quite arrange that? You see, Mr. Louden is even an older friend of mine than you are, and so I must trust his advice about such things more than yours. Of course, if he too should think it better for me not to see him—”
The Judge advanced toward her. “I’m tired of this,” he began, in a loud voice. “I’m—”
She moved as if to rise, but he had come very close, leaning above her, one arm out-stretched and at the end of it a heavy forefinger which he was shaking at her, so that it was difficult to get out of her chair without pushing him away—a feat apparently impossible. Ariel Tabor, in rising, placed her hand upon his out-stretched arm, quite as if he had offered it to assist her; he fell back a step in complete astonishment; she rose quickly, and released his arm.
“Thank you,” she said, beamingly. “It’s quite all my fault that you’re tired. I’ve been thoughtless to keep you so long, and you have been standing, too!” She swept lightly and quickly to the door, where she paused, gathering her skirts. “I shall not detain you another instant! And if Mr. Louden comes, this afternoon, I’ll remember. I’ll not let him come in, of course. It will be perhaps pleasanter to talk over my proposition as we walk!”
There was a very faint, spicy odor like wild roses and cinnamon left in the room where Martin Pike stood alone, staring whitely at the open doorway,
THE WATCHER AND THE WARDEN
There was a custom of Canaan, time-worn and seldom honored in the breach, which put Ariel, that afternoon, in easy possession of a coign of vantage commanding the front gate. The heavy Sunday dinner was finished in silence (on the part of Judge Pike, deafening) about three o’clock, and, soon after, Mamie tossed a number of cushions out upon the stoop between the cast-iron dogs,—Sam Warden having previously covered the steps with a rug and placed several garden chairs near by on the grass. These simple preparations concluded, Eugene sprawled comfortably upon the rug, and Mamie seated herself near him, while Ariel wandered with apparent aimlessness about the lawn, followed by the gaze of Mr. Bantry, until Miss Pike begged her, a little petulantly, to join them.
She came, looking about her dreamily, and touching to her lips, now and then, with an absent air, a clover blossom she had found in the longer grass against the fence. She stopped to pat the neck of one of the cast-iron deer, and with grave eyes proffered the clover-top first for inspection, then as food. There were those in the world who, seeing her, might have wondered that the deer did not play Galatea and come to life.