He did not dream that this straight, slim, tailored, white-haired woman, bargaining so shrewdly with these men, was the Emma Byers of the old days. But he stopped there a moment, in frank curiosity, and the woman looked up. She looked up, and he knew those intelligent eyes and that serene brow. He had carried the picture of them in his mind for more than thirty years, so it was not so surprising.
There were stout women, thin women, white-haired women, women who ought to have been white-haired, but were not; sprightly and fashionable women; but besides Barbara, the only other young woman was Doria herself. She took us aside, as soon as we were released from the formal welcome of Mr. Jornicroft, a thickset man with a very bald head and heavy black moustache.
A civil guard was exhibiting the judge's warrant for my committal to a white-haired man, with a red face and blue eyes, that seemed to look through tumbled bushes of silver eyebrows the alcayde of the prison. He bowed, and rattled two farcically large keys. A practicable postern was ajar on the yellow wood of the studded gates. It was as if it afforded a glimpse of the other side of the world.
"What harm if he did?" muttered Hubert; but, before Miss Vane could reply, the door was opened and the General entered the room. He was a tall, white-haired man, with a stoop in his shoulders which had not been perceptible a year before.
The white-haired old widow who now represented the head of the Clayton family her kin somewhat removed, but none the less her "cousins," after the comprehensive Southern fashion had taken Mary Ellen to her bosom, upbraiding her for ever dreaming of going into the barbarian West, and listening but little to the plea of the girl that poverty had driven her to the company of those who, like herself, were poor.
He had always been, regarded as the most elegant gentleman in his territory, and it was conceded by all that no man thereabouts was anywhere near his equal in the telling of an obscene story except the venerable white-haired governor himself. The Hon. Higgins had not come to serve his country in Washington for nothing.
Then came a new experience of the eye that is blue a meeting with one who almost seemed to be less flesh than spirit. A middle-aged lady, frail, very frail; exceedingly pale from long ill-health, prematurely white-haired, with beautiful grey eyes, gentle but wonderfully bright.
They made a curious contrast, the pale, white-haired, feeble old lady, with her prim dress, high cap, knitting, and shaded eyes; and the child, rosy and round, quaint and sweet, a pretty little ornament for the old-fashioned room, as she sat among the tea-poys and samplers, ancient china and furniture, with the portraits of great grandfathers and grandmothers simpering and staring at her, as if pleased and surprised to see such a charming little descendant among them.
Glimpses here and there showed that we were pursuing a numerous flock of large white-plumed or white-haired creatures, standing at most some four feet in height; but what they were, even whether birds or quadrupeds, their movements left me in absolute uncertainty.
Joel didn't care what he was called so long as he was really going to see Jack Parish and carry him the wonderful invitation, and all the way down to the little grocer's on Common Street he just bubbled over with happiness, till everybody who passed the two felt a glow at the heart at the merry comrades: and many were the backward glances cast at the old, white-haired gentleman of stately mien, with a chubby-faced boy of the jolliest appearance hanging to his hand.