“So I’m to marry a plain, sensible man?” asked the girl, apparently not much comforted by the observation.
“A plain, sensible man with ten million dollars, my dear,” said Aunt Polly, “who adores you and has nothing to do with his money but to let you make yourself happy and glorious with it? But don’t worry yourself, my child, because the first thing for you to feel is that if you don’t like him you need not take him. It all rests upon you; he won’t be here till after the rest, till the evening train, so you can have time to think it over and calculate whether ten million dollars will buy anything you want.” And Mrs. Roberts laughed.
Then the carriage having passed within the gates of her home, she kissed the girl upon her cheek. “By the way,” she added, “if you want to meet a romantic person to offset Mr. Harrison, I’ll tell you about Mr. Howard. I haven’t mentioned him, have I?”
“I never heard of him,” said Helen.
“It’s a real romance,” said the other. “You didn’t suppose that your sensible old auntie could have a romance, did you?”
“Tell me about it,” laughed Helen.
The carriage was driving up the broad avenue that led to the Roberts house; it was a drive of a minute or two, however, and so Aunt Polly had time for a hasty explanation.
“It was over twenty years ago,” she said, “before your mother was married, and when our family had a camp up in the Adirondacks; there were only two others near us, and in each of them there was a young man about my age. We three were great friends for three or four years, but we’ve never seen each other since till a short while ago.”
“And one of them is this man?”
“Yes,” said Mrs. Roberts; “his name is David Howard; I met him quite by accident the other day, and recognized him. He lives all alone, in the winter in New York somewheres, and in the summer up at the same place in the mountains; he’s the most romantic man you ever met, and I know you’ll find him interesting. He’s a poet, I fancy, or a musician at any rate, and he’s a very great scholar.”
“Is he rich too?” asked the girl, laughing.
“I fancy not,” was the reply, “but I can’t tell; he lives very plainly.”
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll fall in love with him, Auntie?”
“No,” said the other, smiling to herself; “I’m not worrying about that.”
“Wait till you see him, my dear,” was the reply; “if you choose him for a husband I’ll give my consent.”
“That sounds mysterious,” observed the girl, gazing at her aunt; “tell me, is he here now?”
“Yes,” said Aunt Polly; “he’s been here a day or two; but I don’t think you’ll see him at dinner, because he has been feeling unwell today; he may be down a while this evening, for I’ve been telling him about you, and he’s anxious to see you. You must be nice to him, Helen, and try to feel as sorry for him as I do.”