"Maybe you don't fancy me?" Mr. Ramy suggested, discountenanced by Ann Eliza's silence.
A word of assent was on her tongue, but her lips refused it. She must find some other way of telling him.
"Well, I always kinder thought we was suited to one another," Mr. Ramy continued, eased of his momentary doubt. "I always liked de quiet style--no fuss and airs, and not afraid of work." He spoke as though dispassionately cataloguing her charms.
Ann Eliza felt that she must make an end. "But, Mr. Ramy, you don't understand. I've never thought of marrying."
Mr. Ramy looked at her in surprise. "Why not?"
"Well, I don't know, har'ly." She moistened her twitching lips. "The fact is, I ain't as active as I look. Maybe I couldn't stand the care. I ain't as spry as Evelina--nor as young," she added, with a last great effort.
"But you do most of de work here, anyways," said her suitor doubtfully.
"Oh, well, that's because Evelina's busy outside; and where there's only two women the work don't amount to much. Besides, I'm the oldest; I have to look after things," she hastened on, half pained that her simple ruse should so readily deceive him.