Oh, well, people will gossip so! Never mind. But these Tapps are so
pushing." "I think Mrs. Tapp is a very pleasant woman; and the girls are
quite nice," Louise said demurely. "You need not have displayed your
liking for them in quite this way," objected Aunt Euphemia. "You could
easily have excused yourself--the uncertainty about your poor father
would have been reason enough. I don't know--I am not sure, indeed, but
that we should go into mourning. Of course, it would spoil the
summer----" "Oh! Aunt Euphemia!" "Yes. Well, I only mentioned it. For my
own part I look extremely well in crepe." Louise was shocked by this
speech; yet she knew that its apparent heartlessness did not really
denote the state of her aunt's mind. It was merely bred of the lady's
shallowness, and of her utterly self-centered existence. That evening,
long after supper and after the store lights were out, and while Cap'n
Amazon and Louise were sitting as usual in the room behind the store, a
hasty step on the porch and a rat-tat-tat upon the side door announced a
caller than whom none could have been more unexpected. "Aunt Euphemia!"
cried Louise, when the master mariner ushered the lady in. "What has
happened?" "Haven't you heard? Did you not get a letter?" demanded Mrs.
Conroth. But she kept a suspicious eye on the captain. "From
daddy-prof?" exclaimed Louise, jumping up. "Yes. Mailed at Gibraltar.
Nothing has happened to that vessel he is on. That was all a ridiculous
story. But there is something else, Louise."