We'll call it a button-hole," laughed Mr. Dover. "Then you could peep; or perhaps the ladies will think better of it, and show that they pardon my ill treatment of Tabby by letting you come in and pick some cherries and roses now and then."
This charming proposal caused the little girl to clasp her hands and cry aloud,—
"That would be perfully splendid! I know Cousin Penny would like it, and let me. P'r'aps she'd come herself; she's so thin, she could, and she loves your mother and wants to see her. Only, Cousin Henny won't let us be nice and friendly. S'pose you send her some cherries; she loves good things to eat, and maybe she will say yes, if you send lots."
Mr. Dover laughed at this artless proposal, and Miss Henny smiled at the prospect of a gift of the luscious black-heart cherries she had been longing for. Roxy wisely repeated only the agreeable parts of the conversation; so nothing ruffled the lady's temper. Now, whether Mr. Dover's sharp eye caught a glimpse of the face among the gooseberry bushes, and suspected eavesdroppers, or whether the child's earnest desire to make peace touched him, who shall say? Certain it is that his eyes twinkled like a boy's, as he said rather loudly, in his most affable tone,—
"I shall be most happy to send Miss Henrietta a basket of fruit. She used to be a charming young woman. It's a pity she shuts herself up so much; but that sad little romance of hers has darkened her life, I suppose. Ah, well, I can sympathize with her!"