PART II. Neighboring Fields
10. CHAPTER X
While Emil and Carl were amusing themselves at the fair, Alexandra
was at home, busy with her account-books, which had been neglected
of late. She was almost through with her figures when she heard
a cart drive up to the gate, and looking out of the window she saw
her two older brothers. They had seemed to avoid her ever since
Carl Linstrum's arrival, four weeks ago that day, and she hurried
to the door to welcome them. She saw at once that they had come
with some very definite purpose. They followed her stiffly into
the sitting-room. Oscar sat down, but Lou walked over to the window
and remained standing, his hands behind him.
"You are by yourself?" he asked, looking toward the doorway into
"Yes. Carl and Emil went up to the Catholic fair."
For a few moments neither of the men spoke.
Then Lou came out sharply. "How soon does he intend to go away
"I don't know, Lou. Not for some time, I hope." Alexandra spoke
in an even, quiet tone that often exasperated her brothers. They
felt that she was trying to be superior with them.
Oscar spoke up grimly. "We thought we ought to tell you that people
have begun to talk," he said meaningly.
Alexandra looked at him. "What about?"
Oscar met her eyes blankly. "About you, keeping him here so long.
It looks bad for him to be hanging on to a woman this way. People
think you're getting taken in."
Alexandra shut her account-book firmly. "Boys," she said seriously,
"don't let's go on with this. We won't come out anywhere. I can't
take advice on such a matter. I know you mean well, but you must
not feel responsible for me in things of this sort. If we go on
with this talk it will only make hard feeling."