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not bear that Mr. Carleton should think she disliked to go with him, so she answered yes, in her usual sober manner.
Just then the door opened and a man unceremoniously walked in, his entrance immediately following a little sullen knock that had made a mockery of asking permission. An ill-looking man, in the worst sense; his face being a mixture of cunning, meanness, and insolence. He shut the door and came with a slow leisurely step into the middle of the room without speaking a word. Mr. Carleton saw the blank change in Fleda’s face. She knew him.
“Do you wish to see me, Mr. McGowan ?" said Mr. Ringgan, not without something of the same change. 66 ] guess
I ha’n't come here for nothing," was the gruff retort.
6 Wouldn't another time answer as well ?"
“I don't mean to find you here another time," said the man chuckling,---- I have given you notice to quit, and now I have come to tell you you'll clear out. I ain't a going to be kept out of my property for ever.
If I can't get my money from you, Elzevir Ringgan, I'll see you don't get no inore of it in your hands.
* Very well, sir," said the old gentleman ;-"You have said all that is necessary."
“You have got to hear a little more, though,” returned the other, "- I've an idee that there's a satisfaction in speaking one's mind. I'll have that much out of you! Mr. Ringgan, a man hadn't ought to make an agreement to pay what he doesn't mean to pay, and what he has made an agreement to pay he ought to meet and be up to, if he sold his soul for it! You call yourself a Christian, do you, to stay in another man's house, month after month, when
you you ha’n’t got the means to give him the rent for it! That's what I call stealing, and it's what I'd live in the County House before I'd demean myself to do! and so ought you.
Well, well! neighbour," said Mr. Ringgan, with patient dignity,--“it's no use calling names. You know as well as I do how all this came about. I hoped to be able to pay you, but I haven't been able to make it out, without having more time."
6 Time !" said the other. 6. Time to cheat me out of a little more houseroom. If I was agoing to live on charity,
Mr. Ringgan, I'd come out and say so, and not put my hand in a man's pocket this way. You'll quit the house by the day after to-morrow, or if you don't I'll let you hear a little more of me that you won't like!"
He stalked out, shutting the door after him with a bang. Mr. Carleton had quitted the room a moment before him.
Nobody moved or spoke at first, when the man was gone, except Miss Cynthia, who as she was taking something from the table to the pantry remarked, probably for Mr. Rossitur's benefit, that “ Mr. Ringgan had to have that man punished for something he did a few years ago when he was justice of the peace, and she guessed likely that was the reason he had a grudge agin him ever since.” Beyond this piece of dubious information nothing was said. Little Fleda stood beside her grandfather with a face of quiet dis. tress; the tears silently running over her flushed cheeks, and her eyes fixed upon Mr. Ringgan with a tender touching look of sympathy, most pure from self-recollection.
Mr. Carleton presently came in to take leave of the disturbed family. The old gentleman rose and returned his shake of the hand with even a degree more than usual of his manly dignity, or Mr. Carleton thought so.
“Good day to you, sir!” he said heartily. “We have had a great deal of pleasure in your society, and I shall al ways be very happy to see you---wherever I am.” And then following him to the door and wringing his hand with a force he was not at all aware of, the old gentleman added in a lower tone, " I shall let her go with you!"
Mr. Carleton read his whole story in the stern self-com. mand of brow, and the slight convulsion of feature which all the self-command could not prevent. He returned warmly the grasp of the hand answering merely, "I will see you again.
Fleda wound her arms round her grandfather's neck when they were gone, and did her best to comfort him, assuring him that they would be just as happy somewhere else." And aunt Miriam earnestly proffered her own home. But Fleda knew that her grandfather was not comforted. He stroked her head with the same look of stern gravity and troubled emotion which had grieved her so much the other day. She could not win him to a smile, and went to bed at last feeling desolate. She had no heart to look out at the night. The wind was sweeping by in wintry gusts; and Fleda cried herself to sleep thinking how it would whistle round the dear old house when their ears would not be there to hear it.
He from his old hereditary nook
R. CARLETON came the next day, but not early, to
take Fleda to Montepoole. She had told her grandfather that she did not think he would come, because after last night he must know that she would not want to go. About twelve o'clock however he was there, with a little wagon, and Fleda was fain to get her sun-bonnet and let him put her in. Happily it was her maxim never to trust to uncertainties, so she was quite ready when he came and they had not to wait a minute.
Though Fleda had a little dread of being introduced to a party of strangers and was a good deal disappointed at being obliged to keep her promise, she very soon began to be glad. She found her fear gradually falling away before Mr. Carleton's quiet kind reassuring manner; he took such nice care of her; and she presently made up her mind that he would manage the matter so that it would not be awkward. They had so much pleasant talk too. Fleda had found before that she could talk to Mr. Carleton, nay she could not help talking to him; and she forgot to think about it. And besides, it was a pleasant day, and they drove fast, and Fleda's particular delight was driving; and though the horse was a little gay she had a kind of intuitive perception that Mr. Carleton knew how to manage him. So she gave up every care and was very happy.
Vhen Mr. Carleton asked after her grandfather, Fleda apsvered with great animation, “O he's very well! and such a happy thing--You heard what that man said last, night. Mr. Carleton, didn't you ?"
“Well it is all arranged ;-this morning M. Jolly--he's a friend of grandpa's that lives over at Queechy Run and knew about all this--he's a lawyer-he came this morning and told grandpa that he had found some one that could lend him the money he wanted and there was no trouble about it; and we are so happy, for we thought we should have to go away from where we live now, and I know grandpa would have felt it dreadfully. If it hadn't been for that, I mean, for Mr. Jolly's coming;-I couldn't have gone to Montepoole to-day."
** Then I am very glad Mr. Jolly made his appearance,” said Mr. Carleton.
“So am I," said Fleda ;- but I think it was a little strange that Mr. Jolly wouldn't tell us who it was that he had got the money from. Grandpa said he never saw Mr. Jolly so curious."
When they got to the Pool Fleda's nervousness returned a little; but she went through the dreaded introduction with great demureness and perfect propriety. And throughout the day Mr. Carleton had no reason to fear rebuke for the judgment which he bad pronounced upon his little paragon. All the fiattering attention which was shewn her, and it was a good deal, could not draw Fleda a line beyond the dignified simplicity which seemed natural to her; any more than the witty attempts at raillery and endeavours to amuse themselves at her expense, in which some of the gentlemen shewed their wisdom, could move her from her modest self-possession. Very quiet, very modest, as she invariably was, awkwardness could not fasten upon her; her colour might come and her timid eye fall; it often did; but Fleda's wits were always in their place and within call. She would shrink from a stranger's eye, and yet when spoken to her answers were as ready and acute as they were marked for simplicity and gentleness. She was kept to dinner; and though the arrangement and manner of the service must have been strange to little Fleda, it was impossible to guess from word or look that it was the first time within her recollection that she had ever seen the like. Her native instincts took it all as quietly as any old liberalized traveller looks upon the customs of a new country.