Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/365

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CHAPTER XLVIII.


TWO ALTERNATIVES.


When Judith returned to Othello Cottage, she was surprised to see a man promenading around it, flattening his nose at the window, so as to bring his eyes against the glass, then, finding that the breath from his nostrils dimmed the pane, wiping the glass and again flattening his nose. At first he held his hands on the window-ledge, but being incommoded by the refraction of the light, put his open hands against the pane, one on each side of his face. Having satisfied himself at one casement, he went to another, and made the same desperate efforts to see in at that.

Judith coming up to the door, and putting the key in, disturbed him, he started, turned, and with a nose much like putty, but rapidly purpling with returned circulation, disclosed the features of Mr. Scantlebray, Senior.

"Ah, ha!" said that gentleman, in no way disconcerted; "here I have you, after having been looking for my orphing charmer in every direction but the right one. With your favor I will come inside and have a chat."

"Excuse me," said Judith, "but I do not desire to admit visitors."

"But I am an exception. I'm the man who should have looked after your interests, and would have done it a deal better than others. And so there has been a rumpus, eh? What about?"

"I really beg your pardon, Mr. Scantlebray, but I am engaged and cannot ask you to enter, nor delay conversing with you on the doorstep."

"Oh, Jimminy! don't consider me. I'll stand on the doorstep and talk with you inside. Don't consider me; go on with what you have to do and let me amuse you. It must be dull and solitary here, but I will enliven you, though I have not my brother's gifts. Now, Obadiah is a man with a genius for entertaining people. He missed