小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 儿童英文小说 » A Girl of Virginia » Chapter 4
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 4
Lawson rode with Frances home. The whole field followed. Never had he seen a madder frolic. For many a beast and many a rider crowding the country road, the noon sun shining down on them hotly, he had learned a wholesome respect. Some stiff jumping and hot riding he had seen on those rough mountain fields, and he was inordinately proud of himself for so holding his own and proud of the spirit of the girl by whose side he rode.

They went straight to the stables. Mr. Carver stood speechless at the remnant of the turnout he had sent to the professor's home early in the morning.

"Mr. Carver," announced Frances coolly, as she slipped from Starlight's back, "the trap is up the road, just this side of the fork. I wish you would send for it."

"What's the matter?"

[Pg 51]

"One wheel missing, that's all," as if that were a slight affair. "And Mr. Carver," coaxingly, "just have it fixed as soon as you can, and don't say too much about it. It's not a bad break, just one wheel!"

"Bless my soul!" Mr. Carver, with an innate love of beauty, gazed admiringly at flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes, "Of course, of course! Come into the office; let me brush your dress for you, it will never do to go home that way." The cloth skirt was covered with long black hairs from the rug.

"Starlight run away?" he asked, as they stood in the little office, while he was busily whisking her skirt.

"Oh, no!" Frances was looking through the open door at Lawson as he went down the stable aisle, his horse's bridle across his arm. He was walking with quick, confident step, shoulders well back, head carried high. She watched him out of sight.

"How did it happen?" asked Mr. Carver.

Frances told it as briefly as she could, winding up with her triumphant boast, "But I was first at the finish."

[Pg 52]

"Good Lord!" laughed her delighted listener. "What will your father say?"

Frances looked around at the open littered desk, the ink-crusted pen and splashed blotter and loose papers, at the thin oak partition of the walls covered with calendars and sporting prints. She was sobered. "I don't know," she said suddenly; "I am going to see. Good-by, thank you!"

She hurried out, she had just missed her car. She waited at the corner impatiently. It was long past the noon, the long string of carriages which had filled the street at an earlier hour was gone, the shops up and down looked deserted, some belated driver drove briskly past, an empty buggy or two waited here and there; the autumn sun blazed on houses and pavement.

"Were you going to leave me?" The tone was distinctly resentful.

"Why—" It nearly slipped her lips that, having started alone, she expected to return alone; and though she caught the words before their utterance, the look of her thought[Pg 53] showed so plainly on her face that the young man read it easily enough.

"We are at least going the same way," he said stiffly.

"Yes," said Frances weakly, making for the car which was at last in sight.

He assisted her in and seated himself by her side; and though the car was deserted save for motorman and conductor, he found he had nothing to say, nor had she either.

They rode silently up the street, over the high bridge spanning the railroad, between the twin guardians of the University's approach—Chancellor's and Anderson's—out to the University gates. But it was not in Lawson to be silent, a winsome young woman by his side, along any such road as the white, winding way under the scarlet maples and russet oaks, through the grounds to her father's door.

"What do you do on Sunday?" he began tentatively.

"Sunday! That's the busiest day in the week. We go to Sunday school, church—that's in the morning; school again in the[Pg 54] afternoon at the mission; then we go for a walk, father and I."

"You never go driving Sunday?"

"Driving! that's one thing father is emphatic about; he will never allow Starlight out of the stables on Sunday."

Lawson set his teeth. He had no thought of Starlight when he spoke of driving next day, and was half angered that she was so unconscious of his meaning.

"And in the evening?" he asked, for the sake of saying something.

"We go to church again."

He saw plainly there was not a moment for him unless it was made, and that the young woman had no thought of making it.

"Then I shall not see you for a day or two." Glimpses about quadrangle or doorway he counted as nothing. "Good-by!" He held out his hand with elaborate courtesy.

Frances laid her own, heavily gloved in his for an instant and looked him frankly in the eyes. "Good-by!" she said. "What a ride it was, but—" a little sigh was on her lips as she opened the heavy door.

[Pg 55]

Susan, watching for the young woman's approach, keeping her dinner warm and warming her own wrath as well, saw the leave-taking.

"Hm! hm!" grunted the old negress, "what Miss Frances doing comin' home dis way, dat man 'long her too?"

The Faculty might be cosmopolitan; Susan was Virginian to the backbone. "An' he a fur-away-er," which was Susan's term for people from anywhere except her own State. "An' he a fur-away-er," she muttered, as she betook herself to the kitchen.

Frances marched straight to the study, where the professor always lingered a short space after his dinner, and told her tale briefly. She expected many words. The professor, like many another man in an emergency, had none. His daughter was worse scared than if he had stormed. When he did speak she felt she had no idea what he would say. Would he forbid her riding altogether?

She went to her dinner, but he laid down his book and looked long at the glowing[Pg 56] coals, then got up and went his way. She was his motherless daughter, sweet, true, beloved. A girl must have some fad, he supposed. Sweethearts, or horses? He chose the latter. He never dreamed of both.


©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533