Martha Phipps had been standing by the window of the sitting room in her home looking out. She had been standing there for some minutes. Galusha Bangs, in the rocking-chair by the center table, was looking at her. Suddenly Martha spoke.
“I declare!” she exclaimed. “I do believe that’s the loveliest moon I ever saw. I presume likely,” she added, with a laugh, “it’s the same moon I’ve always seen; it just looks lovelier, that’s all, seems to me. It will be beautiful to look at from the top of the bluff, the light on the water, I mean. You really ought to walk over and see it, Mr. Bangs.”
Galusha hesitated, rubbed his spectacles, and then was seized with an inspiration.
“I—I will if you will go, too,” he said.
Martha turned to see if he was in earnest.
“Mercy me!” she exclaimed. “Why should I go? I’ve seen that moon on that same water more times than I like to count.”
“But you haven’t seen it—ah—recently. Now have you?”
“Why, no, I don’t know as I have. Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve been over to the top of the bank to see the moonlight since—well, since father died. Father loved to look at salt water by sunlight or moonlight—or no light. But, good gracious,” she added, “it seems awfully foolish, doesn’t it, to go wading through the wet grass to look at the moon—at my age?”
“Why, not at all, not at all,” persisted Galusha. “I must be—ah— vastly older than you, Miss Phipps, and—”
“Oh, but I am, really. One has only to look at me to see. And there are times when I feel—ah—incredibly ancient; indeed, yes. Now in your case, Miss Martha—”
“In my case I suppose I’m just a slip of a girl. For mercy sakes, don’t let’s talk ages, no, nor think about ’em, either. . . . Do you want to go out to-night to look at that moon, Mr. Bangs?”
“Why, yes—I—if you—”
“Then get your rubbers and cap. I’ll be ready in a minute.”
The moon was well up now and land and sea were swimming in its misty radiance. There was not a breath of wind and the air was as mild as if the month had been June and not May. Under their feet the damp grass and low bushes swished and rustled. An adventurous beetle, abroad before his time, blundered droning by their heads. From the shadow of a bunch of huckleberry bushes by the path a lithe figure soared lightly aloft, a furry paw swept across, and that June bug was knocked into the vaguely definite locality known as the “middle of next week.”
Martha uttered a little scream. “Goodness gracious me!” she exclaimed. “Lucy Larcom, you bad cat, how you did scare me!”
Lucy leaped soundlessly over the clump of huckleberry bushes and galloped gayly into the distance, his tail waving like a banner.
“Well!” observed his mistress; “for a cat as old as you are I must say!”