“I’ll call round for my young friend about nine to-morrow morning,” said Abner Holden, with an ingratiating smile.
“We will endeavor to have him ready,” said the doctor.
After they went away Herbert wandered about in not the best of spirits. He was convinced that he should not be happy with Mr. Holden, against whom he had conceived an aversion, founded partly upon the occurrences of the morning, and partly on the disagreeable impression made upon him by Abner Holden’s personal appearance.
Herbert woke up early the next morning, and a feeling of sadness came over him as he reflected that it was his last morning in Waverley. He was going out into the world, and, as he could not help thinking, under very unfavorable auspices. New scenes and new experiences usually have a charm for a boy, but Mr. Holden’s disagreeable face and unpleasant smile rose before him, and the prospect seemed far from tempting.
When he came downstairs, he found Mrs. Kent in the kitchen.
“You are up early, Mrs. Kent,” said Herbert.
“Yes, Herbert; I want you to have a good breakfast before you go.”
It certainly was a nice breakfast. Tender beefsteak, warm biscuit, golden butter, potatoes fried crisp and brown, and excellent coffee, might have tempted any appetite. Herbert, in spite of his sadness, did full justice to the bountiful meal.
The family had hardly risen from breakfast when the sound of wheels was heard outside, and directly there was a knock at the door.
“It’s Mr. Holden,” said the doctor, looking from the front window.
“Must we part from you so soon, Herbert?” said Mrs. Kent, affectionately.
“Where oo goin’, Herbert?” asked little Mary, clinging to his knee,
“Herbert’s going away, Mary,” said he, stooping and kissing his little friend.
“Herbert mustn’t go ’way,” said the little girl, in discontent.
“Herbert come back soon, and bring candy for Mary,” he said, wishing that his words might come true.
By that time Mr. Holden had entered, and was surveying the scene with his disagreeable smile.
“Little Mary is quite attached to Herbert,” said the doctor.
“I am sorry,” said Mr. Holden, “that I have no little girls, as Herbert seems fond of them.”
Herbert doubted if he could become attached to anyone related to Mr. Holden.
“I’m a bachelor,” said Mr. Holden, “though perhaps I ought to be ashamed to say so. If I had had the good fortune early in life to encounter a lady like your good wife here, it might have been different.”
“It isn’t too late yet, Mr. Holden,” said the doctor.
“Well, perhaps not. If Mrs. Kent is ever a widow, I may try my luck.”
“What a disagreeable man,” thought the doctor’s wife, not propitiated by the compliment. “Herbert,” she said, “here are a couple of handkerchiefs I bought in the village yesterday. I hope you will find them useful.”