“He feels young to-night,” said Galusha. “It must be the—ah— moonlight, I think. Really, I—ah—I feel surprisingly young, myself. I do, indeed!”
Martha laughed blithely. They came to the abrupt little slope at the southwestern edge of the government property and when he offered to help her down she took his hand and sprang down herself, almost as lightly and easily as Lucy could have done it. Galusha laughed, too, light-heartedly as a boy. His spectacles fell off and he laughed at that.
The minute afterward they arrived at the crest of the knoll. Another moment and the silhouetted figures of Lulie Hallett and Nelson Howard appeared from behind the clump of bayberry bushes and walked onward together, his arm about her waist. The pair on the knoll saw the parting.
Lulie ran up the path and the door of the light keeper’s cottage closed behind her. Howard disappeared around the bend of the hill. Martha and Galusha turned hastily and began walking toward home. Neither spoke until they were almost there. Then Miss Phipps, apparently feeling that something should be said, observed: “The moon was—was real pretty, wasn’t it, Mr. Bangs?”
Galusha started. “Eh?” he queried. “Oh, yes! yes, indeed! Ah— quite so.”
He made the next remark also; it was quite irrelevant.
“Youth,” he said, musingly. “Youth is a wonderful thing, really it is.”
Possibly his companion understood his thought, or had been thinking along the same line herself. At all events she agreed. “Yes, it is,” she said. “It is so. And most of us don’t realize how wonderful until it’s gone.”
From the shadows by the gate Lucy Larcom sprang aloft to knock another beetle galley-west. Lucy was distinctly a middle-aged cat, but he did not allow the fact to trouble him. He gathered his June bugs while he might and did not stop to dream vain dreams of vanished youth.
Early June came to Gould’s Bluffs. The last of the blossoms fell from the apple and pear trees in the Phipps’ orchard, there were young swallows in the nests beneath the eaves of the shed, and tulips and hyacinths gave color and fragrance to the flower beds in the front yard. Down in the village Ras Beebe began his twice-a-year window dressing, removing the caps, candy, sweaters, oil heaters, patent medicines and mittens to substitute bathing suits, candy, straw hats, toy shovels, patent medicines and caps. Small boys began barefoot experiments. Miss Tamson Black departed for Nantucket to visit a cousin. Mr. Raish Pulcifer had his wife resurrect his black-and-white striped flannel trousers from the moth chest and hang them in the yard. “No use talkin’,” so Zach Bloomer declared, “summer is headin’ down our way. She’ll be here afore we know it.”