can do them all just her way, though I dont know the law of any of them. But she knows the law. She knows the why and the how both; but I dont know the why; I only know the how.
He took me into a bedroom so that I might wash my hands; such a bedroom as I had not seen for years: white counterpane, white pillows, carpeted floor, papered walls, pictures, dressing-table, with mirror and pin- cushion and dainty toilet things; and in the corner a wash-stand, with real china-ware bowl and pitcher, and with soap in a china dish, and on a rack more than a dozen towelstowels too clean and white for one out of practice to use without some vague sense of profanation. So my face spoke again, and he answered with gratified words:
All her work; she did it all herselfevery bit. Nothing here that hasnt felt the touch of her hand. Now you would thinkBut I mustnt talk so much.
By this time I was wiping my hands and glancing from detail to detail of the rooms belongings, as one is apt to do when he is in a new place, where everything he sees is a comfort to his eye and his spirit; and I became conscious, in one of those unaccountable ways, you know, that there was something there somewhere that the man wanted me to discover for myself. I knew it perfectly, and I knew he was trying to help me by furtive indications with his eye, so I tried hard to get on the right track, being eager to gratify him. I failed several times, as I could see out of the corner of my eye without being told; but at last I knew I must be looking straight at the thingknew it from the pleasure issuing in invisible waves from him. He broke into a happy laugh, and rubbed his hands together, and cried out:
Thats it! Youve found it. I knew you would. Its her picture.
I went to the little black-walnut bracket on the farther wall, and did find there what I had not yet noticeda daguerreotype-case. It contained the sweetest girlish face, and the most beautiful, as it seemed to me, that I had ever seen. The man drank the admiration from my face, and was fully satisfied.
Nineteen her last birthday, he said, as he put the picture back; and that was the day we were married. When you see herah, just wait till you see her!
Where is she? When will she be in?
Oh, shes away now. Shes gone to see her people. They live forty or fifty miles from here. Shes been gone two weeks to-day.
When do you expect her back?
This is Wednesday. Shell be back Saturday, in the eveningabout nine oclock, likely.
I felt a sharp sense of disappointment.
Im sorry, because Ill be gone then, I said, regretfully.
Gone? Nowhy should you go? Dont go. Shell be so disappointed.
She would be disappointedthat beautiful creature! If she had said the words herself they could hardly have blessed me more. I was feeling a deep, strong longing to see hera longing so supplicating, so insistent, that it made me afraid. I said to myself: I will go straight away from this place, for my peace of minds sake.
You see, she likes to have people come and stop with uspeople who know things, and can talkpeople like you. She delights in it; for she knowsoh, she knows nearly everything herself, and can talk, oh, like a birdand the books she reads, why, you would be astonished. Dont go; its only a little while, you know, and shell be so disappointed.
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