Im sorry you should have been here so long without our knowing it.
Your mother told me that in England people arrived very quietly; so I thought it was all right. Is one of those gentlemen your father?
Yes, the elder onethe one sitting down, said Ralph.
The girl gave a laugh. I dont suppose its the other. Whos the other?
Hes a friend of oursLord Warburton.
Oh, I hoped there would be a lord; its just like a novel! And then, Oh you adorable creature! she suddenly cried, stooping down and picking up the small dog again.
She remained standing where they had met, making no offer to advance or to speak to Mr Touchett, and while she lingered so near the threshold, slim and charming, her interlocutor wondered if she expected the old man to come and pay her his respects. American girls were used to a great deal of deference, and it had been intimated that this one had a high spirit. Indeed Ralph could see that in her face.
Wont you come and make acquaintance with my father? he nevertheless ventured to ask. Hes old and infirmhe doesnt leave his chair.
Ah, poor man, Im very sorry! the girl exclaimed, immediately moving forward. I got the impression from your mother that he was ratherrather intensely active.
Ralph Touchett was silent a moment. She hasnt seen him for a year.
Well, he has a lovely place to sit. Come along, little hound.
Its a dear old place, said the young man, looking sidewise at his neighbour.
Whats his name? she asked, her attention having again reverted to the terrier.
My fathers name?
Yes, said the young lady with amusement; but dont tell him I asked you.
They had come by this time to where old Mr Touchett was sitting, and he slowly got up from his chair to introduce himself.
My mother has arrived, said Ralph, and this is Miss Archer.2
The old man placed his two hands on her shoulders, looked at her a moment with extreme benevolence and then gallantly kissed her. Its a great pleasure to me to see you here; but I wish you had given us a chance to receive you.
Oh, we were received, said the girl. There were about a dozen servants in the hall. And there was an old woman curtseying at the gate.
We can do better than thatif we have notice! And the old man stood there smiling, rubbing his hands and slowly shaking his head at her. But Mrs Touchett doesnt like receptions.
She went straight to her room.
Yesand locked herself in. She always does that. Well, I suppose I shall see her next week. And Mrs Touchetts husband slowly resumed his former posture.
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