“Will I? I don’t believe I shall. That is very odd, I know, but I think it is true. I have been thinking about it a great deal of late and—ah—I—well, you know, I am very sure I shall be lonely.”
“Lonely? You! Lonesome over in Egypt, after all you’ve told me about your lovin’ it so, Mr. Bangs! Lonesome for what, for mercy sakes?”
“Why, for—for the Cape, you know; and this house and this pleasant room and—and the kindness which has been shown me here.”
“Don’t. What do what you call kindnesses amount to—the little things Primmie and I have been able to do for you—what do they amount to compared to what you did for me? I shouldn’t be in this house, I shouldn’t own it, if it wasn’t for the interest you took and the trouble you went to. Lonesome! I think I’m goin’ to be the real lonesome one this winter. Since you’ve been livin’ here, Mr. Bangs, I’ve had a chance to talk of somethin’ beside the little two-for-a-cent things that most of us Gould’s Bluffs people have to talk about from December to June. I’ve had the chance to talk about somethin’ besides Primmie’s foolishness or Cap’n Jethro’s ‘spirits,’ or the post office gossip. It has been wonderful for me. When father was alive no gale that ever blew could keep him from trampin’ up to the office after his mornin’ paper. He used to say that readin’ the paper was the only way he could keep enough canvas drawing to pull him out of the doldrums. More of his sea talk, that was, of course, but you understand what he meant.”
Galusha understood. “We all have our—ah—doldrums,” he observed.
“Yes, seems as if we did. But, there!” briskly picking up her knitting, “I don’t know as it does us much good to sit and talk about ’em. Primmie had a book around here last week, an old thing, one of Mrs. Southworth’s it was; Primmie borrowed it somewhere. I looked it over one afternoon, that was as much as I wanted to do with it, and I remember there was an old woman in it who seemed to spend most of her time dreamin’ of her ‘vanished past.’ She seemed to worry over that vanished past a good deal, but, so far as I could see, she didn’t gain much by it. She might have done some plain sewin’ and gained more. I can’t see that you and I gain much by sittin’ here and frettin’ about next winter, Mr. Bangs. I suppose when winter is really here you will be trottin’ around Egypt on a camel, or some sort of menagerie animal, and I shall be sweepin’ and dustin’ and makin’ pies. And we both will be too busy to remember we’re lonesome at all. I— Yes, Primmie, what is it?”
Miss Cash’s head and shoulders appeared between the door and the jamb.
“Miss Martha,” she whispered, hoarsely, “there’s somebody come to see you.”
“Come to see me? Who is it; Cap’n Jethro?”
“No’m. It’s Raish—I mean Mr. Pulcifer. And,” confidentially, “he won’t tell what he’s come for, neither.”