"You rich folks certainly do have strange notions," declared Mrs. Fitch, fingering the flounce on Victoria's skirt, which formed the subject of conversation for the next few minutes.
"How are you getting on?" Victoria asked at length.
A look of pain came into the woman's eyes.
"You've be'n so good to us, and done so much gettin' Eben a job on your father's place, that I don't feel as if I ought to lie to you. He done it again--on Saturday night. First time in three months. The manager up at Fairview don't know it. Eben was all right Monday."
"I'm sorry," said Victoria, simply. "Was it bad?"
"It might have be'n. Young Mr. Vane is stayin' up at Jabe Jenney's--you know, the first house as you turn off the hill road. Mr. Vane heard some way what you'd done for us, and he saw Eben in Ripton Saturday night, and made him get into his buggy and come home. I guess he had a time with Eben. Mr. Vane, he came around here on Sunday, and gave him as stiff a talkin' to as he ever got, I guess. He told Eben he'd ought to be ashamed of himself goin' back on folks who was tryin' to help him pay his mortgage. And I'll say this for Eben, he was downright ashamed. He told Mr. Vane he could lick him if he caught him drunk again, and Mr. Vane said he would. My, what a pretty colour you've got to-day "
Victoria rose. "I'm going to send you down some washing," she said.
Mrs. Fitch insisted upon untying the horse, while Victoria renewed her promises to the children.