The Tempting of Tavernake
II.4. Pritchard's Good News
Late in the afternoon of the following day, Ruth came home from the village and found
Tavernake hard at work on his boat. She put down her basket and stopped by his side.
"So you are back again," she remarked.
"Yes, I am back again."
"And nothing has happened?"
"Nothing has happened," he assented, wearily. "Nothing ever will happen now."
"You mean that you will stay here and build boats all your life?"
"That is what I mean to do," he announced.
She laid her hand upon his shoulder.
"Don't believe it, Leonard," she said. "There is other work for you in the world
somewhere, just as there is for me."
He shook his head and she picked up her basket again, smiling.
"Your time will come as it comes to the rest of us," she declared, cheerfully. "You won't
want to sit here and bury your talents in the sands all your days. Have you heard what is
going to happen to me?"
"No! Something good, I hope."
"My father's favorite niece is coming to live with us--there are seven of them altogether,
and farming doesn't pay like it used to, so Margaret is coming here. Father says that if she
is as handy as she used to be I may go back to the schools almost at once."
Tavernake was silent for a moment. Then he got up and threw down his tools.
"Great Heavens!" he exclaimed. "If I am not becoming the most selfish brute that ever
breathed! Do you know, the first thought I had was that I should miss you? You are right,
young woman, I must get out of this."
She disappeared into the house, smiling, and Tavernake called out to Nicholls, who was
sitting on the wall.