But if you've made me question the propriety of applying the blessing in all cases, you have done a very good thing." Miss Rasmith was silent and apparently serious. After a moment she said, "And I, for my part, promise to let poor little Boyne alone." Breckon laughed. "Don't burlesque it! Besides, I haven't promised anything." "That is very true," said Miss Rasmith, and she laughed, too.
"I wouldn't care if it never ended," said the girl, with such a note of dire sincerity that Breckon instantly changed his first mind as to her words implying a pose. She took any deeper implication from them in adding, "I didn't know I should like being at sea." "Well, if you're not sea-sick," he assented, "there are not many pleasanter things in life."
She disputed Boyne's impressions of the Dutch people, whom he found looking more like Americans than any foreigners he had seen, and she snubbed Breckon from his supposed charge of the party. But after the start, when she declared that Ellen could not go, and that it was ridiculous for her to think of it, she was very good to her, and looked after her safety and comfort with a despotic devotion.
The judge had risen and pushed back his chair, and Breckon did the same. "And I shall hear from you?" "Why, certainly," said the judge in his turn. "It isn't possible that you put him off!" his wife reproached him, when he told what had passed between him and Breckon. "Oh, you couldn't have let him think that we didn't want him for her! Surely you didn't!"
"You look as if you laughed with your whole heart when you did laugh." She glanced about, and Breckon decided that she had found him too personal. "I wonder if I could walk, with the ship tipping so?" she asked. "Well, not far," said Breckon, with a provisional smile, and then he was frightened from his irony by her flinging aside her wraps and starting to her feet.
"I hope you wouldn't think I could be so pert." "I wouldn't think anything that wasn't to your praise," said Breckon, and a pause ensued, after which the words he added seemed tame and flat. "I suspect Miss Rasmith has been idealizing the situation. At any rate, I shouldn't advise you to trust her report implicitly.
He even smiled a little, in accepting the explanation which Breckon was able to make him from Boyne, but he thought his duty to give the boy a fatherly warning for the future.
Did Breckon suppose that the matter could be turned off in that way? he stupidly demanded; and when he was extricated from this error by his wife's representation that Breckon had not changed at all, but had never told Ellen that he wished to speak with him of anything but his returning to his society, Kenton still could not accept the fact.
Lottie herself, except in her most lurid moments, was good to her brother and sister, and almost invariably kind to her parents. She would not, Breckon saw, have brooked much meddling with her flirtations from them, but as they did not offer to meddle, she had no occasion to grumble on that score.
He laughed in retreat from the serious proposition. "But it wouldn't do to try making each other cry instead of laugh, would it? I suppose your sister would rather have me cry." "I don't believe Lottie thought much about it," said Ellen; and at this point Mr. Breckon yielded to an impulse. "I should think I had really been of some use if I had made you laugh, Miss Kenton." "Me?"