"I've always loved him--and I want to thank you, Mr. Brainard," she said with her simple directness. And before Larry could make response of any kind, she shifted the subject.
"I really came in to see you on business, Mr. Brainard. I hope I made my attitude toward you clear enough last night. If I did not, let me say now that I think you have made good in every particular--and that I trust you in every particular. What I wished especially to say now," she went on briskly, giving Larry no chance to stammer out his appreciation, "is that I wish to go ahead without any delay with your proposition for developing the Sherwood properties in New York City which we discussed some time ago. A former objection you raised is now removed: you are cleared, and are free to work in the open. I want you to take charge of affairs, with Dick working beside you. I think it will be Dick's big chance. I've talked it over with him this morning, and he's eager for the arrangement. I hope you are not going to refuse the offer this time."
"I can't--not such an offer as that," Larry said huskily. "But, Miss Sherwood, I didn't expect--"
"Then it's settled," she interrupted with her brisk tone. "There'll be a lot of details, but we'll have plenty of time to talk them over later." She stood up. "There are some changes here at Cedar Crest which I want begun at once and which I want you to supervise. If you don't mind we'll look things over now."
He followed beside her along the curving, graveled walks. She headed toward the cliff, but he had no idea where she was leading until a sharp turn brought them almost upon the low cottage which these last few weeks had been Joe Ellison's home.
"Here is where we start our changes," said the business-like Miss Sherwood. "The door's open, so we might as well go right in."
They stepped into a tiny entry, and from thence into a little sitting- room. The room was filled with cut flowers, but Larry did not even see them. For as they entered, Maggie sprang up, startled, from a chair, and, whiter than she had been before in all her life, gazed at him as if she wanted to run away. She stood trembling and slender in a linen frock of most simple and graceful lines. It was Miss Sherwood's frock, though Larry did not know this; already it had been decided that all those showy Grantham gowns were never to be worn again.
Once more Miss Sherwood came to the rescue of a stupendous situation, just as her tact had rescued a situation too great for words the night before.