Explanations of her presence sprang to her lips, but she put them from her as subterfuges unworthy of him. She would not attempt to deceive him in the least. She had wished to see him again--nor did she analyze her motives. Once more beside him, the feeling of confidence, of belief in him, rose within her and swept all else away--burned in a swift consuming flame the doubts of absence. He took her hand, but she withdrew it quickly.
"This is a fortunate accident," he said, "fortunate, at least, for me."
"Perhaps Mr. Jenney will not agree with you," she retorted.
But Mr. Jenney was hitching the horse and throwing a blanket over him. Suddenly, before they realized it, the farmer had vanished into the storm, and this unexplained desertion of their host gave rise to an awkward silence between them, which each for a while strove vainly to break. In the great moments of life, trivialities become dwarfed and ludicrous, and the burden of such occasions is on the woman.
"So you've taken to farming," she said,-"isn't it about haying time?"
"We begin next week. And you--you've come back in season for it. I hope that your mother is better."
"Yes," replied Victoria, simply, "the baths helped her. But I'm glad to get back,--I like my own country so much better,--and especially this part of it," she added. "I can bear to be away from New York in the winter, but not from Fairview in the summer."
At this instant Mr. Jenney appeared at the barn door bearing a huge green umbrella.