The elder nodded slowly. His gaze did not leave Sheila's face.
"I think I can promise that in her name. Indeed, I had already
extracted such a promise before I would undertake to come up here. I
have warned Mrs. Pauling not to repeat a word the girl said to her.
And Zebedee is a prudent young man."
"I told Zeb myself to keep his hatch battened," growled Cap'n Ira.
"But, I swan, Ida May! I don't see how you can bear to have the
crazy critter here. And Prudence--"
"If Ida May says she is willing," sighed the old woman, glad to be
able to set a course not opposed to her minister's advice.
"Thank you, young woman," Elder Minnett said, speaking grimly enough
to Sheila. "Those who have nothing to fear can afford to be
generous. You have done right."
The subject was dropped--to the relief of all of them. Tea was
poured from the marble-topped, black-walnut table, and Sheila passed
biscuit, jam, cakes, and other delicacies. She performed her part of
the ceremony with apparent calm. She did not speak to the elder
again, nor he to her, save when she ran out to carry forgotten
gloves to him when he had climbed into the automobile.
The grim old man shot her through with the keenest of keen glances
as he accepted the gloves.