She paused. Galusha turned red. “I—I—” he stammered. “Oh, you mustn’t talk so, Miss Martha. It’s all nonsense, you know. Really it is.”
She shook her head and smiled once more.
“All right,” she argued. “Then we’ll call it nonsense; but it’s pretty glorious nonsense, seems to me. I do congratulate you, Mr. Bangs. And I congratulate the Institute folks a great deal more. Now tell me some more about it, please. Where is this place they want you to go to?”
That afternoon Galusha spent in wandering about the countryside. He went as far from home as the old graveyard in South Wellmouth. He took a long walk and it should have been a pleasant one, but somehow it was not, particularly. All he could think of was the two facts—one, that he had been offered a wonderful opportunity, for which he should be eagerly and hugely grateful; two, that he was not grateful at all, but resentful and rebellious. And what on earth was the matter with him?
Martha was setting the supper table when he came in. He went to his room and when he came down supper was almost ready. Primmie was in the kitchen, busy with the cooking.
“We’re having an early supper, Mr. Bangs,” said Martha. “That everlastin’ seance begins about half past seven, so Cap’n Jethro took pains to tell me, and he’ll be crosser’n a hen out in a rainstorm if we’re not on time.”
Galusha looked surprised. He had forgotten the seance altogether. Yes, he had quite forgotten it. And, up to that noon, he had thought of very little else the entire week. What was the matter with him?
“Lulie is goin’ to send Zach over to tell us when they’re ready to set sail for Ghost Harbor,” went on Martha. “That will save us watchin’ the clock. What say?”
But he had not said anything and she went on arranging the dishes. After an interval she asked a question.
“How soon—that is, when will you have to leave us—leave here, Mr. Bangs?” she asked. She was not looking at him when she asked it.
Galusha sighed. “In about two weeks, I—ah—suppose,” he said.
There was another silent interval. Then Martha turned her head to listen.
“Wasn’t that an automobile I heard then?” she asked. “Yes, it is. It can’t be the Spiritualist crowd comin’ so soon. No, it is stoppin’ here, at our gate. Is it Doctor Powers, I wonder?”
She went to the window, pulled aside the shade and looked out.
“It is a big car,” she said. “It isn’t the doctor, that’s sure. There’s a man gettin’ out, a big man in a fur coat. Who on earth—?”
Steps sounded without upon the walk, then there was a knock upon the side door, that of the dining room. Martha opened the door. A man’s voice, a brisk, businesslike voice, asked a question.
“Why, yes,” replied Miss Phipps, “he lives here. He’s right here now. Won’t you step in?”