BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.
57. CHAPTER LVII.
But the centre of interest was changed for all by the arrival
of Fred Vincy. When, seating himself on a garden-stool, he said
that he was on his way to Lowick Parsonage, Ben, who had thrown
down his bow, and snatched up a reluctant half-grown kitten instead,
strode across Fred's outstretched leg, and said "Take me!"
"Oh, and me too," said Letty.
"You can't keep up with Fred and me," said Ben.
"Yes, I can. Mother, please say that I am to go," urged Letty,
whose life was much checkered by resistance to her depreciation
as a girl.
"I shall stay with Christy," observed Jim; as much as to say
that he had the advantage of those simpletons; whereupon Letty
put her hand up to her head and looked with jealous indecision
from the one to the other.
"Let us all go and see Mary," said Christy, opening his arms.
"No, my dear child, we must not go in a swarm to the parsonage.
And that old Glasgow suit of yours would never do. Besides, your
father will come home. We must let Fred go alone. He can tell
Mary that you are here, and she will come back to-morrow."
Christy glanced at his own threadbare knees, and then at Fred's
beautiful white trousers. Certainly Fred's tailoring suggested
the advantages of an English university, and he had a graceful way
even of looking warm and of pushing his hair back with his handkerchief.
"Children, run away," said Mrs. Garth; "it is too warm to hang
about your friends. Take your brother and show him the rabbits."
The eldest understood, and led off the children immediately.
Fred felt that Mrs. Garth wished to give him an opportunity of saying
anything he had to say, but he could only begin by observing--
"How glad you must be to have Christy here!"