Part 2 out of 4
a flush of indignation upon her cheek she replied to her stepfather:
"Very well, sir, I can pay for my board, if you like; but boarders,
you know, never trouble themselves with the affairs of the kitchen."
The doctor was confounded. He knew he could not well dispense with
Maude's services, and it had not before occurred to him that a
housekeeper and boarder were two different persons.
"Ah--yes--just so," said he, "I see I'm laboring under a mistake;
you prefer working for your board--all right," and feeling a good
deal more disconcerted than he ever supposed it possible for him to
feel, he gave up the contest.
Maude was at this time nearly sixteen years of age, and during the
next year she was to all intents and purposes the housekeeper,
discharging faithfully every duty and still finding time to pursue
her own studies and superintend the education of little Louis, to
whom she was indeed a second mother. She was very fond of books, and
while Janet was with them she had with Nellie attended the seminary
at Laurel Hill, where she stood high in all her classes, for
learning was with her a delight, and when at last it seemed
necessary for her to remain at home, she still devoted a portion of
each day to her studies, reciting to a teacher who came regularly to
the house and whom she paid with her own money. By this means she
was at the age of seventeen a far better scholar than Nellie, who
left every care to her stepsister, saying she was just suited to the
kitchen work and the tiresome old books with which she kept her
chamber littered. This chamber to which Nellie referred was Maude's
particular province. Here she reigned joint sovereign with Louis,
who thus early evinced a degree of intellectuality wonderful in one
so young, and who in some things excelled even Maude herself.
Drawing and painting seemed to be his ruling taste, and as Dr.
Kennedy still cherished for his crippled boy a love almost
idolatrous, he spared neither money nor pains to procure for him
everything necessary for his favorite pursuit. Almost the entire day
did Louis pass in what he termed Maude's library, where, poring over
books or busy with his pencil, he whiled the hours away without a
sigh for the green fields and shadowy woods, through which he could
never hope to ramble. And Maude was very proud of her artist
brother--proud of the beautiful boy whose face seemed not to be of
earth, so calm, so angel-like was its expression. All the softer,
gentler virtues of the mother, and all the intellectual qualities of
the father were blended together in the child, who presented a
combination of goodness, talent, beauty, and deformity such as this
is seldom seen. For his sister Maude, Louis possessed a deep,
undying love which neither time nor misfortune could in any way
abate. She was part and portion of himself--his life--his light--his
all, in all--and to his childlike imagination a purer, nobler being
had never been created than his darling sister Maude. And well might
Louis Kennedy love the self-sacrificing girl who devoted herself so
wholly to him, and who well fulfilled her mother's charge, "Care for
my little boy."
Nellie, too, was well beloved, but he soon grew weary of her
company, for she seldom talked of anything save herself and the
compliments which were given to her youthful beauty. And Nellie, at
the age of eighteen, was beautiful, if that can be called beauty
which is void of heart or soul or intellect. She was very small, and
the profusion of golden curls which fell about her neck and
shoulders gave her the appearance of being younger than she really
was. Her features were almost painfully regular, her complexion
dazzlingly brilliant, while her large blue eyes had in them a
dreamy, languid expression exceedingly attractive to those who
looked for nothing beyond--no inner chamber where dwell the graces
which make a woman what she ought to be. Louis' artist eye,
undeveloped though it was, acknowledged the rare loveliness of
Nellie's face. She would make a beautiful picture, he thought; but
for the noble, the good, the pure, he turned to the dark-eyed Maude,
who was as wholly unlike her stepsister as it was possible for her
to be. The one was a delicate blonde, the other a decided brunette,
with hair and eyes of deepest black. Her complexion, too, was dark,
but tinged with a beautiful red, which Nellie would gladly have
transferred to her own paler cheek. It was around the mouth,
however, the exquisitely shaped mouth, and white even teeth, that
Maude's principal beauty lay, and the bright smile which lit up her
features when at all animated in conversation would have made a
plain face handsome. There were some who gave her the preference,
saying there was far more beauty in her clear, beautiful eyes and
sunny smile than in the dollish face of Nellie, who treated such
remarks with the utmost scorn. She knew that she was beautiful. She
had known it all her life--for had she not been told so by her
mirror, her father, her schoolmates, her Aunt Kelsey, and more than
all by J.C. De Vere, the elegant young man whom she had met in
Rochester, where she had spent the winter preceding the summer of
which we are writing, and which was four and one-half years after
Greatly had the young lady murmured on her return against the dreary
old house and lonely life at Laurel Hill, which did indeed present a
striking contrast to the city gayeties in which she had been
mingling. Even the cozy little chamber which the kind-hearted Maude
had fitted up for her with her own means was pronounced heathenish
and old-fashioned, while Maude herself was constantly taunted with
being countryfied and odd.
"I wish J.C. De Vere could see you now," she said one morning to her
sister, who had donned her working dress, and with sleeves rolled up
and wide checked apron tied around her waist was deep in the
mysteries of bread making.
"I wish he could see her too," said Louis, who had rolled his chair
into the kitchen so that he could be with Maude. "He would say he
never saw a handsomer color than the red upon her cheeks."
"Pshaw!" returned Nellie. "I guess he knows the difference between
rose-tint and sunburn. Why, he's the most fastidious man I ever saw.
He can't endure the smell of cooking, and says he would never look
twice at a lady whose hands were not as soft and white as--well, as
mine," and she glanced admiringly at the little snowy fingers, which
were beating a tune upon the window-sill.
"I wants no better proof that he's a fool," muttered old Hannah, who
looked upon Nellie as being what she really was, a vain, silly
"A fool, Hannah," retorted Nellie; "I'd like to have Aunt Kelsey
hear you say that. Why, he's the very best match in Rochester. All
the girls are dying for him, but he don't care a straw for one of
them. He's out of health now, and is coming here this summer with
Aunt Kelsey, and then you'll see how perfectly refined he is. By the
way, Maude, if I had as much money at my command as you have I'd fix
up the parlor a little. You know father won't, and that carpet, I'll
venture to say, was in the ark. I almost dread to have J.C. come,
he's so particular; but then he knows we are rich, and beside that,
Aunt Kelsey has told him just how stingy father is, so I don't care
so much. Did I tell you J.C. has a cousin James, who may possibly
come too. I never saw him, but Aunt Kelsey says he's the queerest
man that ever lived. He never was known to pay the slightest
attention to a woman unless she was married or engaged. He has a
most delightful house at Hampton, where he lives with his mother;
but he'll never marry, unless it is some hired girl who knows how to
work. Why, he was once heard to say he would sooner marry a good-
natured Irish girl than a fashionable city lady who knew nothing but
to dress, and flirt, and play the piano--the wretch! "
"Oh! I know I should like him," exclaimed Louis, who had been an
"I dare say you would, and Maude, too," returned Nellie, adding,
after a moment: "And I shouldn't wonder if Maude just suited him,
particularly if he finds her up to her elbows in dough. So, Maude,
it is for your interest to improve the old castle a little. Won't
you buy a new carpet?" and she drew nearer to Maude, who made no
The three hundred and fifty dollars interest money which she had
received the year before had but little of it been expended on
herself, though it had purchased many a comfort for the household,
for Maude was generous, and freely gave what was her own to give.
The parlor carpet troubled even her, but she would not pledge
herself to buy another until she had first tried her powers of
persuasion upon the doctor, who, as she expected, refused outright.
"He knew the carpet was faded," he said, "but 'twas hardly worn at
all, and 'twas a maxim of his to make things last as long as
It was in vain that Nellie, who was present, quoted Aunt Kelsey and
J.C. De Vere, the old doctor didn't care a straw for either, unless
indeed, J.C. should some time take Nellie off his hands, and pay her
bills, which were altogether too large for one of his maxims. That
this would probably be the result of the young man's expected visit
had been strongly hinted by Mrs. Kelsey, and thus was he more
willing to have him come. But on the subject of the carpet he was
inexorable, and with tears of anger in her large blue eyes Nellie
gave up the contest, while Maude very quietly walked over to the
store and gave orders that a handsome three-ply carpet which she had
heard her sister admire should be sent home as soon as possible.
"You are a dear good girl, after all, and I hope James De Vere will
fall in love with you," was Nellie's exclamation as she saw a large
roll deposited at their door, but not a stitch in the making of the
carpet did she volunteer to take. "She should prick her fingers or
callous her hand," she said, "and Mr. De Vere thought so much of a
"Nonsense!" said John, who was still a member of the family,
"nonsense, Miss Nellie. I'd give a heap more for one of Miss Maude's
little fingers, red and rough as they be, than I would for both them
soft, sickish feeling hands of yourn;" and John hastily disappeared
from the room to escape the angry words which he knew would follow
his bold remark.
Nellie was not a favorite at home, and no one humored her as much as
Maude, who, on this occasion, almost outdid herself in her endeavors
to please the exacting girl, and make the house as presentable as
possible to the fashionable Mrs. Kelsey and the still more
fashionable J.C. De Vere. The new carpet was nicely fitted to the
floor, new curtains hung before the windows, the old sofa was
recovered, the piano was tuned, a hat-stand purchased for the hall,
the spare chamber cleaned, and then very impatiently Nellie waited
for the day when her guests were expected to arrive.
The time came at last, a clear June afternoon, and immediately after
dinner Nellie repaired to her chamber, so as to have ample time to
try the effect of her different dresses, ere deciding upon any one.
Maude, too, was a good deal excited, for one of her even
temperament. She rather dreaded Mrs. Kelsey, whom she had seen but
twice in her life, but for some reason, wholly inexplicable to
herself, she felt a strange interest in the wonderful J.C., of whom
she had heard so much. Not that he would notice her in the least,
but a man who could turn the heads of all the girls in Rochester
must be somewhat above the common order of mortals; and when at last
her work was done, and she, too, went up to dress, it was with an
unusual degree of earnestness that she asked her sister what she
should wear that would be becoming.
"Wear what you please, but don't bother me," answered Nellie,
smoothing down the folds of her light blue muslin, which harmonized
admirably with her clear complexion.
"Maude," called Louis, from the adjoining room, "wear white. You
always look pretty in white."
"So does every black person!" answered Nellie, feeling provoked that
she had not advised the wearing of some color not as becoming to
Maude as she knew white to be.
Maude had the utmost confidence in Louis' taste, and when fifteen
minutes later she stood before the mirror, her short, glossy curls
clustering about her head, a bright bloom on her cheek, and a
brighter smile upon her lip, she thought it was the dress which made
her look so well, for it had never entered her mind that she was
"Wear your coral earrings," said Louis, who had wheeled himself into
the room, and was watching her with all a fond brother's pride.
The earrings were a decided improvement, and the jealous Nellie,
when she saw how neat and tasteful was her sister's dress, began to
cry, saying, "she herself looked a fright, that she'd nothing fit to
wear, and if her father did not buy her something she'd run away."
This last was her usual threat when at all indignant, and as after
giving vent to it she generally felt better, she soon dried her
tears, saying, "she was glad anyway that she had blue eyes, for J.C.
could not endure black ones."
"Maybe James can," was the quick rejoinder of Louis, who always
defended Maude from Nellie's envious attacks.
By this time the clock was striking five. Half an hour more and they
would be there, and going through the rooms below Nellie looked to
see if everything was in order, then returning to her chamber above
she waited impatiently until the sound of wheels was heard in the
distance. A cloud of dust was visible next, and soon a large
traveling carriage stopped at the gate, laden with trunks and boxes,
as if its occupants had come to spend the remainder of the summer. A
straight, slender, dandified-looking young man sprang out, followed
by another far different in style, though equally as fine looking.
The lady next alighted, and scarcely were her feet upon the ground
when she was caught around the neck by a little fairy figure in
blue, which had tripped gracefully down the walk, seemingly
unconscious, but really very conscious of every step she took, for
the black-mustached young man, who touched his hat to her so
politely, was particular about a woman's gait.
A little apart from the rest stood the stranger, casually eyeing the
diminutive creature, of whose beauty and perfections he had heard so
much both from her partial aunt and his half-smitten cousin: There
was a momentary thrill--a feeling such as one experiences in gazing
upon a rare piece of sculpture--and then the heart of James De Vere
resumed its accustomed beat, for he knew the inner chamber of the
mind was empty, and henceforth Nellie's beauty would have no
attraction for him. Very prettily she led the way to the house, and
after ushering her guests into the parlor ran upstairs to Maude,
bidding her to order supper at once, and telling her as a piece of
important news which she did not already know, that "Aunt Kelsey,
James, and J.C. had come."
JAMES AND J.C.
James and J.C. De Vere were cousins, and also cousins of Mrs.
Kelsey's husband; and hence the intimacy between that lady and
themselves, or rather between that lady and J.C., who was undeniably
the favorite, partly because he was much like herself and partly
because of his name, which she thought so exclusive--so different
from anyone's else. His romantic young mother, who liked anything
savoring at all of "Waverly," had inflicted upon him the cognomen of
Jedediah Cleishbotham, and repenting of her act when too late had
dubbed him "J.C.," by which name he was now generally known. The
ladies called him "a love of a man," and so he was, if a faultless
form, a wicked black eye, a superb set of teeth, an unexceptionable
mustache, a tiny foot, the finest of broadcloth, reported wealth,
and perfect good humor constitute the ingredients which make up "a
love of a man." Added to this, he really did possess a good share of
common sense, and with the right kind of influence would have made a
far different man from what he was. Self-love was the bane of his
life, and as he liked dearly to be flattered, so he in turn became a
most consummate flatterer; always, however, adapting his remarks to
the nature of the person with whom he was conversing. Thus to Nellie
Kennedy he said a thousand foolish things, just because he knew he
gratified her vanity by doing so. Although possessing the reputation
of a wealthy man, J.C. was far from being one, and his great object
was to secure a wife who, while not distasteful to him, still had
money enough to cover many faults, and such a one he fancied Nellie
Kennedy to be. From Mrs. Kelsey he had received the impression that
the doctor was very rich, and as Nellie was the only daughter, her
fortune would necessarily be large. To be sure, he would rather she
had been a little more sensible, but as she was not he resolved to
make the best of it, and although claiming to be something of an
invalid in quest of health, it was really with the view of asking
her to be his wife that he had come to Laurel Hill. He had first
objected to his cousin accompanying him--not for fear of rivalry,
but because he disliked what he might say of Nellie, for if there
was a person in the world whose opinion he respected, and whose
judgment he honored, it was his Cousin James.
Wholly unlike J.C. was James, and yet he was quite as popular, for
one word from him was more highly prized by scheming mothers and
artful young girls than the most complimentary speech that J.C. ever
made. He meant what he said; and to the kindest, noblest of hearts
he added a fine commanding person, a finished education, and a
quiet, gentlemanly manner, to say nothing of his unbounded wealth,
and musical voice, whose low, deep tones had stirred the heart-
strings of more than one fair maiden in her teens, but stirred them
in vain, for James De Vere had never seen the woman he wished to
call his wife; and now, at the age of twenty-six, he was looked upon
as a confirmed old bachelor, whom almost anyone would marry, but
whom no one ever could. He had come to Laurel Hill because Mrs.
Kelsey had asked him so to do, and because he thought it would be
pleasant to spend a few weeks in that part of the country.
Of Maude's existence he knew nothing, and when at last supper was
announced, and he followed his cousin to the dining room, he started
in surprise as his eye fell on the dark-eyed girl who, with a
heightened bloom upon her cheek, presided at the table with so much
grace and dignity. Whether intentionally or not, we cannot say, but
Nellie failed to introduce her stepsister, and as Mrs. Kelsey was
too much absorbed in looking at her pretty niece, and in talking to
her brother, to notice the omission, Maude's position would have
been peculiarly embarrassing but for the gentlemanly demeanor of
James, who, always courteous, particularly to those whom he thought
neglected, bowed politely, and made to her several remarks
concerning the fineness of the day and the delightful view which
Laurel Hill commanded of the surrounding country. She was no menial,
he knew, and looking in her bright, black eyes he saw that she had
far more mind than the dollish Nellie, who, as usual, was provoking
J.C. to say all manner of foolish things.
As they were returning to the parlor J.C. said to Nellie: "By the
way, Nell, who is that young girl in white, and what is she doing
"Why, that's Maude Remington, my stepsister," answered Nellie. "I'm
sure you've heard me speak of her."
J.C. was sure he hadn't; but he did not contradict the little lady,
whose manner plainly indicated that any attention paid by him to the
said Maude would be resented as an insult to herself. Just then Mrs.
Kelsey went upstairs, taking her niece with her; and as Dr. Kennedy
had a patient to visit he, too, asked to be excused, and the young
men were left alone. The day was warm, and sauntering out beneath
the trees they sat down upon a rustic seat which commanded a view of
the dining room, the doors and windows of which were open,
disclosing to view all that was transpiring within.
"In the name of wonder, what's that?" exclaimed J.C., as he saw a
curiously shaped chair wheeling itself, as it were, into the room.
"It must be Dr. Kennedy's crippled boy," answered James, as Louis
skipped across the floor on crutches and climbed into the chair
which Maude carefully held for him.
Louis did not wish to eat with the strangers until somewhat
acquainted, consequently he waited until they were gone, and then
came to the table, where Maude stood by his side, carefully
ministering to his wants, and assisting him into his chair when he
was through. Then, pushing back her curls, and donning the check
apron which Nellie so much abhorred, she removed the dishes herself,
for old Hannah she knew was very tired, having done an unusual
amount of work that day.
"I tell you what, Jim, I wouldn't wonder if that's the very one for
you," said J.C., puffing leisurely at his cigar, and still keeping
his eyes fixed upon the figure in white, as if to one of his
fastidious taste there was nothing very revolting in seeing Maude
Remington wash the supper dishes, even though her hands were brown
and her arms a little red.
James did not answer immediately, and when he did he said: "Do you
remember a little girl we met in the cars between Springfield and
Albany, several years ago when we were returning from school? She
was a funny little black-eyed creature, and amused us very much with
"I wouldn't wonder if I remembered her," returned J.C., "for didn't
she say I looked as if I didn't mean for certain? I tell you what it
is, Jim, I've thought of the speech more than a thousand times when
I've been saying things I did not mean to foolish girls and their
mammas. But what reminded you of her?"
"If I mistake not, that child and the young lady yonder are one and
the same. You know she told us her name was Maude Remington, and
that the naughty man behind us wasn't her father, and she didn't
like him a bit, or something like that."
"And I honor her judgment both in his case and mine," interrupted
J.C., continuing, after a moment: "The old fellow looks as that man
did. I guess you are right. I mean to question 'Cuffee' on the
subject," and he beckoned to John, who was passing at no great
"Sambo," said he, as the negro approached, "who is that young lady
using the broom-handle so vigorously?" and he pointed to Maude, who
was finishing her domestic duties by brushing the crumbs from the
"If you please, sar, my name is John," answered the African,
assuming a dignity of manner which even J.C. respected.
"Be it John, then," returned the young man, "but tell us how long
has she lived here, and where did she come from?"
Nothing pleased John better than a chance to talk of Maude, and he
replied: "She came here twelve years ago this very month with that
little blue-eyed mother of hern, who is lyin' under them willers in
the graveyard. We couldn't live without Miss Maude. She's all the
sunshine thar is about the lonesome old place. Why, she does
everything, from takin' care of her crippled half-brother to mendin'
t'other one's gownd."
"And who is t'other one?" asked J.C., beginning to feel greatly
interested in the negro's remarks.
"T'other one," said John, "is Miss Nellie, who won't work for fear
of silin' her hands, which some fool of a city chap has made her
b'lieve are so white and handsome," and a row of ivory was just
visible, as, leaning against a tree, John watched the effect of his
words upon "the fool of a city chap."
J.C. was exceedingly good-natured, and tossing his cigar into the
grass he replied, "You don't mean me, of course; but tell us more of
this Maude, who mops the floor and mends Nellie's dresses."
"She don't mop the floor," muttered John. "This nigger wouldn't let
her do that--but she does mend Nellie's gownds, which I wouldn't do,
if I's worth as much money as she is!"
If J.C. had been interested before, he was doubly interested now,
and coming nearer to John he said: "Money, my good fellow! Is Maude
"She aint nothin' else," returned John, who proceeded to speak of
Janet and her generous gift, the amount of which he greatly
exaggerated. "Nobody knows how much 'tis," said he: "but everybody
s'poses that will and all it must be thirty or forty thousand," and
as the doctor was just then seen riding into the yard John walked
away to attend to his master's horse.
"Those butter and cheese men do accumulate money fast," said J.C.,
more to himself than to his companion, who laughingly replied, "It
would be funny if you should make this Maude my cousin instead of
Nellie. Let me see--Cousin Nellie--Cousin Maude. I like the sound of
the latter the best, though I am inclined to think she is altogether
too good for a mercenary dog like you."
"Pshaw!" returned J.C., pulling at the maple leaves which grew above
his head, "I hope you don't think I'd marry a rude country girl for
her money. No, give me la charmant Nellie, even though she cannot
mend her dress, and you are welcome to Cousin Maude, the milkman's
At that moment Mrs. Kelsey and Nellie appeared upon the stoop, and
as Maude was no longer visible the young gentlemen returned to the
parlor, where J.C. asked Nellie to favor him with some music. Nellie
liked to play, for it showed her white hands to advantage, and
seating herself at the piano she said: "I have learned a new song
since I saw you, but Maude must sing the other part--maybe, though,
I can get along without her."
This last was said because she did not care to have Maude in the
parlor, and she had inadvertently spoken of her singing. The young
men, however, were not as willing to excuse her, and Maude was
accordingly sent for. She came readily, and performed her part
without the least embarrassment, although she more than once half
paused to listen to the rich, full tones of James' voice, for he was
an unusually fine singer; Maude had never heard anything like it
before, and when the song was ended the bright, sparkling eyes which
she turned upon him told of her delight quite as eloquently as words
could have done.
"You play, I am sure, Miss Remington," he said, as Nellie arose from
Maude glanced at her red hands, which J.C. would be sure to notice,
then feeling ashamed to hesitate for a reason like this, she
answered, "Yes, sometimes," and taking her seat she played several
pieces, keeping admirable time, and giving to the music a grace and
finish which Nellie had often tried in vain to imitate.
"Mr. De Vere did not expect you to play all night," called out the
envious girl, who, not satisfied with having enticed J.C. from the
piano, wished James to join her also.
"She is merely playing at my request," said Mr. De Vere, "but if it
is distasteful to Miss Kennedy, we will of course desist," and
bending low he said a few words of commendation to Maude, whose
heart thrilled to the gentle tones of his voice, just as many
another maiden's had done before. Mr. De Vere was exceedingly
agreeable, and so Maude found him to be, for feeling intuitively
that she was somewhat slighted by the overbearing Nellie, he devoted
himself to her entirely, talking first of books, then of music, and
lastly of his home, which, without any apparent boasting, he
described as a most beautiful spot.
For a long time that night did Louis wait for his sister in his
little bed, and when at last she came to give him her accustomed
kiss he pushed the thick curls from off her face and said, "I never
saw you look so happy, Maude. Do you like that Mr. De Vere?"
"Which one?" asked Maude. "There are two, you know."
"Yes, I know," returned Louis, "but I mean the one with the voice.
Forgive me, Maude, but I sat ever so long at the head of the stairs,
listening as he talked. He is a good man, I am sure. Will you tell
me how he looks?"
Maude could not well describe him. She only knew that he was taller
than J.C., and, as she thought, much finer looking, with deep blue
eyes, dark brown hair, and a mouth just fitted to his voice. Farther
than this she could not tell. "But you will see him in the morning,"
she said. "I have told him how gifted, how good, you are, and to-
morrow, he says, he shall visit you in your den."
"Don't let the other one come," said Louis hastily, "for if he can't
endure red hands he'd laugh at my withered feet and the bunch upon
my back; but the other one won't, I know."
Maude knew so too, and somewhat impatiently she waited for the
morrow, when she could introduce her brother to her friend. The
morrow came, but, as was frequently the case, Louis was suffering
from a severe pain in his back, which kept him confined to his room,
so that Mr. De Vere neither saw him at all nor Maude as much as he
wished to do. He had been greatly interested in her, and when at
dinner he heard that she would not be down he was conscious of a
feeling of disappointment. She was not present at supper either, but
after it was over she joined him in the parlor, and, together with
J.C. and Nellie, accompanied him to the graveyard, where, seating
herself upon her mother's grave, she told him of that mother, and
the desolation which crept into her heart when first she knew she
was an orphan. From talking of her mother it was an easy matter to
speak of her Vernon home, which she had never seen since she left it
twelve years before, and then Mr. De Vere asked if she had met two
boys in the cars on her way to Albany. At first Maude could not
recall them, and when at last she did so her recollections were so
vague that Mr. De Vere felt another pang of disappointment, though
wherefore he could not tell, unless indeed, he thought there would
be something pleasant in being remembered twelve long years by a
girl like Maude Remington. He reminded her of her remark made to his
cousin, and in speaking of him casually alluded to his evident
liking for Nellie, saying playfully, "Who knows, Miss Remington, but
you may some time be related to me--not my cousin exactly, though
Cousin Maude sounds well. I like that name."
"I like it too," she said impulsively, "much better than Miss
Remington, which seems so stiff."
"Then let me call you so. I have no girl cousin in the world," and
leaning forward he put back from her forehead one of her short,
glossy curls, which had been displaced by the evening breeze.
This was a good deal for him to do. Never before had he touched a
maiden's tresses, and he had no idea that it would make his fingers
tingle as it did. Still, on the whole, he liked it, and half-wished
the wind would blow those curls over the upturned face again, but it
did not, and he was about to make some casual remark when J.C., who
was not far distant, called out, "Making love, I do believe!"
The speech was sudden, and grated harshly on James' ear. Not because
the idea of making love to Maude was utterly distasteful, but
because he fancied she might be annoyed, and over his features there
came a shadow, which Maude did not fail to observe.
"He does not wish to be teased about me," she thought, and around
the warm spot which the name of "Cousin Maude" had made within her
heart there crept a nameless chill--a fear that she had been
degraded in his eyes. "I must go back to Louis," she said at last,
and rising from her mother's grave she returned to the house,
accompanied by Mr. De Vere, who walked by her side in silence,
wondering if she really cared for J.C.'s untimely joke.
James De Vere did not understand the female heart, and wishing to
relieve Maude from all embarrassment in her future intercourse with
himself, he said to her as they reached the door: "My Cousin Maude
must not mind what J.C. said, for she knows it is not so."
"Certainly not," was Maude's answer, as she ran upstairs, hardly
knowing whether she wished it were or were not so.
One thing, however, she knew. She liked to have him call her Cousin
Maude; and when Louis asked what Mr. De Vere had said beneath the
willows she told him of her new name, and asked if he did not like
"Yes," he answered, "but I'd rather you were his sister, for then
maybe he'd call me brother, even if I am a cripple. How I wish I
could see him, and perhaps I shall to-morrow."
But on the morrow Louis was so much worse that in attending to him
Maude found but little time to spend with Mr. De Vere, who was to
leave them that evening. When, however, the carriage which was to
take him away stood at the gate, she went down to bid him good-by,
and ask him to visit them again.
"I shall be happy to do so," he said; and then, as they were
standing alone together, he continued: "Though I have not seen as
much of you as I wished, I shall remember my visit at Laurel Hill
with pleasure. In Hampton there are not many ladies for whose
acquaintance I particularly care, and I have often wished that I had
some female friend with whom I could correspond, and thus while away
some of my leisure moments. Will my Cousin Maude answer me if I
should some time chance to write to her mere friendly, cousinly
letters, of course?"
This last he said because he mistook the deep flush on Maude's cheek
for an unwillingness to do anything which looked at all like "making
"I will write," was all Maude had a chance to say ere Nellie joined
them, accompanied by J.C., who had not yet terminated his visit at
Laurel Hill, and as soon as his cousin left he intended removing to
the hotel, where he would be independent of Dr. Kennedy, and at the
same time, devote himself to the daughter or stepdaughter, just as
he should feel inclined.
Some such idea might have intruded itself upon the mind of James,
for, when at parting he took his cousin's hand, he said, "You have
my good wishes for your success with Nellie, but--"
"But not with t'other one, hey?" laughingly rejoined J.C., adding
that James need have no fears, for there was not the slightest
possibility of his addressing the milkman's heiress.
Alas for J.C.'s honesty! Even while he spoke there was treachery in
his saucy eyes, for the milkman's heiress, as he called her, was not
to him an object of dislike, and when, after the carriage drove
away, he saw the shadows on her face, and suspected their cause, he
felt a strong desire that his departure might affect her in a
similar manner. That evening, too, when Nellie sang to him his
favorite song, he kept one ear turned toward the chamber above,
where, in a low, sweet voice, Maude Remington sang her suffering
brother to sleep.
The next morning he removed to the hotel, saying he should probably
remain there during the summer, as the air of Laurel Hill was highly
conducive to his rather delicate health; but whether he meant the
invigorating breeze which blew front the surrounding hills, or an
heir of a more substantial kind, time and our story will show.
THE MILKMAN'S HEIRESS.
Mr. De Vere had been gone four weeks. Louis had entirely recovered
from his illness, and had made the acquaintance of J.C., with whom
he was on the best of terms. Almost every bright day did the young
man draw the little covered wagon through the village, and away to
some lovely spot, where the boy artist could indulge in his favorite
occupation--that of sketching the familiar objects around him. At
first Nellie accompanied them in these excursions; but when one day
her aunt, who still remained at Laurel Hill, pointed out to her a
patch of sunburn and a dozen freckles, the result of her outdoor
exercise, she declared her intention of remaining at home
thereafter--a resolution not altogether unpleasant to J.C., as by
this means Maude was more frequently his companion.
If our readers suppose that to a man of J.C.'s nature there was
anything particularly agreeable in thus devoting himself to a
cripple boy they are mistaken, for Louis Kennedy might have remained
indoors forever had it not been for the sunny smile and look of
gratitude which Maude Remington always gave to J.C. De Vere when he
came for or returned with her darling brother. Insensibly the
domestic virtues and quiet ways of the black-haired Maude were
winning a strong hold upon J.C.'s affections, and still he had never
seriously thought of making her his wife. He only, knew that he
liked her, that he felt very comfortable where she was, and very
uncomfortable where she was not; that the sound of her voice singing
in the choir was the only music he heard on the Sabbath day, and
though Nellie in her character of soprano ofttimes warbled like a
bird, filling the old church with melody, he did not heed it, so
intent was he in listening to the deeper, richer notes of her who
sang the alto, and whose fingers swept the organ keys with so much
grace and beauty.
And Maude! within her bosom was there no interest awakened for one
who thought so much of her? Yes, but it was an interest of a
different nature from his. She liked him, because he was so much
more polite to her than she had expected him to be, and more than
all, she liked him for his kindness to her brother, never dreaming
that for her sake alone those kindly acts were done. Of James De
Vere she often thought, repeating sometimes to herself the name of
Cousin Maude, which had sounded so sweetly to her ear when he had
spoken it. His promise she remembered, too, and as often as the mail
came in, bringing her no letter, she sighed involuntarily to think
she was forgotten. Not forgotten, Maude, no, not forgotten, and when
one afternoon, five weeks after James' departure J.C. stood at her
side, he had good reason for turning his eyes away from her truthful
glance, for he knew of a secret wrong done to her that day. There
had come to him that morning a letter from James, containing a note
for Maude, and the request that he would hand it to her.
"I should have written to her sooner," James wrote, "but mother's
illness and an unusual amount of business prevented me from doing
so. 'Better late than never,' is, however, a good motto at times,
and I intrust the letter to you, because I would save her from any
gossip which an open correspondence with me might create."
For James De Vere to write to a young girl was an unheard-of
circumstance, and the sight of that note aroused in J.C.'s bosom a
feeling of jealousy lest the prize he now knew he coveted should be
taken from him. No one but himself should write to Maude Remington,
for she was his, or rather she should be his. The contents of that
note might be of the most ordinary kind, but for some reason
undefinable to himself he would rather she should not see it yet,
and though it cost him a struggle to deal thus falsely with both, he
resolved to keep it from her until she had promised to be his wife.
He never dreamed it possible that she could tell him no, he had been
so flattered and admired by the city belles; and the only point
which troubled him was what his fashionable friends would say when
in place of the Nellie whose name had been so long associated with
his, he brought to them a Maude fresh from the rural districts, with
naught in her disposition save goodness, purity, and truth. They
would be surprised, he knew, but she was worth a thousand of them
all, and then with a glow of pride he thought how his tender love
and care would shield her from all unkind remarks, and how he would
make himself worthy of such a treasure.
This was the nobler, better part of J.C.'s nature, but anon a more
sordid feeling crept in, and he blushed to find himself wondering
how large her fortune really was! No one knew, save the lawyers and
the trustee to whose care it had been committed, and since he had
become interested in her he dared not question them lest they should
accuse him of mercenary motives. Was it as large as Nellie's? He
wished he knew, while at the same time he declared to himself that
it should make no difference. The heart which had withstood so many
charms was really interested at last, and though he knew both Mrs.
Kelsey and her niece would array themselves against him, he was
prepared to withstand the indignation of the one and the opposition
of the other.
So perfectly secure was Nellie in J.C.'s admiration for herself,
that she failed to see his growing preference for Maude, whom she
frequently ridiculed in his presence, just because she thought he
would laugh at it, and think her witty. But in this she was
mistaken, for her ridicule raised Maude higher in his estimation,
and he was glad when at last an opportunity occurred for him to
declare his intentions.
For a week or more Nellie and a few of the young people of the
village had been planning a picnic to the lake, and the day was
finally decided upon. Nellie did not ask J.C. if he were going; she
expected it as a matter of course, just as she expected that Maude
would stay at home to look after Louis and the house. But J.C. had
his own opinion of the matter, and when the morning came he found it
very convenient to be suffering from a severe headache which would
not permit him to leave his bed, much less to join the pleasure
"Give my compliments to Miss Kennedy," he said to the young man who
came to his door, "and tell her I cannot possibly go this morning,
but will perhaps come down this afternoon."
"Mr. De Vere not going! I can't believe it!" and the angry tears
glittered in Nellie's blue eyes when she heard the message he had
"Not going!" exclaimed Mrs. Kelsey, while even Maude sympathized in
the general sorrow, for her hands had prepared the repast, and she
had taken especial pains with the pies which Mr. De Vere liked the
best, and which, notwithstanding his dislike to kitchen odors, he
had seen her make, standing at her elbow and complimenting her
Nellie was in favor of deferring the ride, but others of the party,
who did not care so much for Mr. De Vere's society objected, and
poutingly tying on her hat, the young lady took her seat beside her
aunt, who was scarcely less chagrined than herself at their
Meanwhile, from behind his paper curtains J.C. looked after the
party as they rode away, feeling somewhat relieved when the blue
ribbons of Nellie's hat disappeared from view. For appearance's sake
he felt obliged to keep his room for an hour or more, but at the end
of that time he ventured to feel better, and dressing himself with
unusual care he started for Dr. Kennedy's, walking very slowly, as
became one suffering from a nervous headache, as he was supposed to
be. Maude had finished her domestic duties, and in tasteful gingham
morning-gown, with the whitest of linen collars upon her neck, she
sat reading alone at the foot of the garden beneath a tall cherry
tree where John had built her a rough seat of boards. This was her
favorite resort, and here J.C. found her, so intent upon her book as
not to observe his approach until he stood before her. She seemed
surprised to see him, and made anxious inquiries concerning his
headache, which he told her was much better. "And even if it were
not," said he, seating himself at her feet; "even if it were not,
the sight of you, looking so bright, so fresh, and so neat, would
dissipate it entirely," and his eyes, from which the saucy, wicked
look was for the moment gone, rested admiringly upon her face.
His manner was even more pointed than his words, and coloring
crimson, Maude replied, "You are disposed to be complimentary, Mr.
"I am disposed for once to tell the truth," he answered." All my
life long I have acted a part, saying and doing a thousand foolish
things I did not mean, just because I thought it would please the
senseless bubbles with whom I have been associated. But you, Maude
Remington, have brought me to my senses, and determined me to be a
man instead of a fool. Will you help me, Maude, in this resolution?"
and seizing both her hands he poured into her astonished ear his
declaration of love, speaking so rapidly and so vehemently as al
most to take her breath away, for she had never expected a scene
She had looked upon him as one who would undoubtedly be her sister's
husband, and the uniform kindness with which he had treated her, she
attributed to his exceeding good nature; but to be loved by him, by
J.C. De Vere, who had been sought after by the fairest ladies in the
land, she could not believe possible, and with mingled feelings of
pleasure, pain, and gratified vanity she burst into tears.
Very gently J.C. wiped her tears away, and sitting down beside her
he said, "The first time I ever saw you, Maude, you told me 'I did
not look as if I meant for certain,' and you were right, for all my
life has been a humbug; but I mean 'for certain' now. I love you,
Maude, love you for the very virtues which I have so often affected
to despise, and you must make me what J.C. De Vere ought to be. Will
you, Maude? Will you be my wife?"
To say Maude was not gratified that this man of fashion should
prefer her to all the world would be an untruth, but she could not
then say "Yes," for another, and a more melodious voice was still
ringing in her ear, and she saw in fancy a taller, nobler form than
that of him who was pressing her to answer.
"Not yet, Mr. De Vere," she said. "Not yet. I must have time to
think. It has come upon me so suddenly, so unexpectedly, for I have
always thought of you as Nellie's future husband, and my manners are
so different from what you profess to admire."
"'Twas only profession, Maude," he said, and then, still holding her
closely to him, he frankly and ingenuously gave her a truthful
history of his life up to the time of his first acquaintance with
Nellie, of whom he spoke kindly, saying she pleased him better than
most of his city friends, and as he began really to want a wife he
had followed her to Laurel Hill, fully intending to offer her the
heart which, ere he was aware of it, was given to another. "And now,
I cannot live without you," he said. "You must be mine. Won't you,
Maude? I will be a good husband. I will take lessons of Cousin
James, who is called a pattern man."
The mention of that name was unfortunate, and rising to her feet,
Maude replied: "I cannot answer you now, Mr. De Vere. I should say
No, if I did, I am sure, and I would rather think of it a while."
He knew by her voice that she was in earnest, and kissing her hand
he walked rapidly away, his love increasing in intensity with each
step he took. He had not expected anything like hesitancy. Everyone
else had met his advances at least halfway, and Maude's indecision
made him feel more ardent than he otherwise might have been.
"What if she should refuse me?" he said, as he paced up and down his
room, working himself up to such a pitch of feeling that when that
afternoon Nellie on the lake shore was waiting impatiently his
coming he on his pillow was really suffering all the pangs of a
racking headache, brought on by strong nervous excitement. "What if
she should say No?" he kept repeating to himself, and at last,
maddened by the thought, he arose, and dashing off a wild rambling
letter, was about sending it by a servant, when he received a note
from her, for an explanation of which we will go back an hour or so
in our story.
In a state of great perplexity Maude returned to the house, and
seeking out her brother, the only person to whom she could go for
counsel, she told him of the offer she had received, and asked him
what he thought. In most respect Louis was far older than his years,
and he entered at once into the feelings of his sister.
"J.C. De Vere proposed to you!" he exclaimed. "What will Nellie
"If I refuse, she never need to know of it," answered Maude, and
Louis continued: "They say he is a great catch, and wouldn't it be
nice to get him away from everybody else. But what of the other De
Vere? Don't you like him the best?"
Maude's heart beat rapidly, and the color on her cheek deepened to a
brighter hue as she replied, "What made you think of him?"
"I don't know," was Louis' answer, "only when he was here I fancied
you were pleased with him, and that he would suit you better than
"But he don't like me," said Maude. "He don't like any woman well
enough to make her his wife," and she sighed deeply as she thought
of his broken promise and the letter looked for so long.
"Maude," said Louis suddenly, "men like J.C. De Vere sometimes marry
for money, and maybe he thinks your fortune larger than it is. Most
That Maude was more interested in J.C. De Vere than she supposed was
proved by the earnestness with which she defended him from all
"He knows Nellie's fortune is much larger than my own," she said;
"and by preferring me to her he shows that money is not his motive."
Still Louis' suggestion troubled her, and by way of testing the
matter she sat down at once and wrote him a note, telling him
frankly how much she had in her own name and how much in expectancy.
This note she sent to him by John, who, naturally quick-witted, read
a portion of the truth in her tell-tale face, and giving a loud
whistle in token of his approbation he exclaimed, "This nigger'll
never quit larfin' if you gets him after all Miss Nellie's nonsense,
and I hopes you will, for he's a heap better chap than I s'posed,
though I b'lieve I like t'other one the best!"
Poor Maude! That other one seemed destined to be continually thrust
upon her, but resolving to banish him from her mind as one who had
long since ceased to think of her, she waited impatiently, for a
reply to her letter.
Very hastily J.C. tore it open, hoping, believing, that it contained
the much desired answer. "I knew she could not hold out against me--
no one ever did," he said; but when he read the few brief lines, he
dashed it to the floor with an impatient "Pshaw!" feeling a good
deal disappointed that she had not said Yes and a very little
disappointed that the figures were not larger!
"Five thousand dollars the 20th of next June, and five thousand more
when that old Janet dies; ten thousand in all. Quite a handsome
property, if Maude could have it at once. I wonder if she's healthy,
this Mrs. Hopkins," soliloquized J.C., until at last a new idea
entered his mind, and striking his fist upon the table he exclaimed,
"Of course she will. Such people always do, and that knocks the will
in head!" and J.C. De Vere frowned wrathfully upon the little
imaginary Hopkinses who were to share the milkman's fortune with
Just then a girlish figure was seen beneath the trees in Dr.
Kennedy's yard, and glancing at the white cape bonnet J.C. knew that
it was Maude, the sight of whom drove young Hopkins and the will
effectually from his mind. "He would marry her, anyway," he said,
"five thousand dollars was enough;" and donning his hat he started
at once for the doctor's. Maude had returned to the house, and was
sitting with her brother when the young man was announced. Wholly
unmindful of Louis' presence, he began at once by asking" if she
esteemed him so lightly as to believe that money could make any
difference whatever with him."
"It influences some men," answered Maude, "and though you may like
"Like you, Maude Remington!" he exclaimed; "like is a feeble word. I
worship you, I love the very air you breathe, and you must be mine.
Will you, Maude?"
J.C. had never before been so much in earnest, for never before had
he met with the least indecision, and he continued pleading his
cause so vehemently that Louis, who was wholly unprepared for so
stormy a wooing, stopped his ears and whispered to his sister, "Tell
him Yes, before he drives me crazy!"
But Maude felt that she must have time for sober, serious
reflection; J.C. was not indifferent to her, and the thought was
very soothing that she who had never aspired to the honor had been
chosen from all others to be his wife. He was handsome, agreeable,
kind-hearted, and, as she believed, sincere in his love for her. And
still there was something lacking. She could not well tell what,
unless, indeed, she would have him more like James De Vere.
"Will you answer me?" J.C. said, after there had been a moment's
silence, and in his deep black eyes there was a truthful, earnest
look wholly unlike the wicked, treacherous expression usually hidden
"Wait a while," answered Maude, coming to his side and laying her
hand upon his shoulder. "Wait a few days, and I most know I shall
tell you Yes. I like you, Mr. De Vere, and if I hesitate it is
because--because--I really don't know what, but something keeps
telling me that our engagement may be broken, and if so, it had
better not be made."
There was another storm of words, and then, as Maude still seemed
firm in her resolution to do nothing hastily, J.C. took his leave.
As the door closed after him, Louis heaved a deep sigh of relief,
and, turning to his sister, said: "I never heard anything like it; I
wonder if James would act like that!"
"Louis," said Maude, but ere Louis could reply she had changed her
mind, and determined not to tell him that James De Vere alone stood
between her and the decision J.C. pleaded for so earnestly. So she
said: "Shall I marry J.C. De Vere?"
"Certainly, if you love him," answered Louis. "He will take you to
Rochester away from this lonesome house. I shall live with you more
than half the time, and--"
Here Louis was interrupted by the sound of wheels. Mrs. Kelsey and
Nellie had returned from the Lake, and bidding her brother say
nothing of what he had heard, Maude went down to meet them. Nellie
was in the worst of humors. "Her head was aching horridly--she had
spent an awful day--and J.C. was wise in staying at home."
"How is he?" she asked, "though of course you have not seen him."
Maude was about to speak when Hannah, delighted with a chance to
disturb Nellie, answered for her. "It's my opinion that headache was
all a sham, for you hadn't been gone an hour, afore he was over here
in the garden with Maude, where he stayed ever so long. Then he came
agen this afternoon, and hasn't but jest gone."
Nellie had not sufficient discernment to read the truth of this
assertion in Maude's crimson cheeks, but Mrs. Kelsey had, and very
sarcastically she said: "Miss Remington, I think, might be better
employed than in trying to supplant her sister."
"I have not tried to supplant her, madam," answered Maude, her look
of embarrassment giving way to one of indignation at the unjust
"May I ask, then, if Mr. De Vere has visited you twice to-day, and
if so, what was the object of those visits?" continued Mrs. Kelsey,
who suddenly remembered several little incidents which had
heretofore passed unheeded, and which, now that she recalled them to
mind, proved that J.C. De Vere was interested in Maude.
"Mr. De Vere can answer for himself, and I refer you to him," was
Maude's reply, as she walked away.
Nellie began to cry. "Maude had done something," she knew, "and it
wouldn't be a bit improper for a woman as old as Aunt Kelsey to go
over and see how Mr. De Vere was, particularly as by this means she
might find out why he had been there so long with Maude."
Mrs. Kelsey was favorably impressed with this idea, and after
changing her dusty dress and drinking a cup of tea she started for
the hotel. J.C. was sitting near the window, watching anxiously for
a glimpse of Maude when his visitor was announced. Seating herself
directly opposite him, Mrs. Kelsey inquired after his headache, and
then asked how he had passed the day.
"Oh, in lounging, generally," he answered, while she continued,
"Hannah says you spent the morning there, and also a part of the
afternoon. Was my brother at home?"
"He was not. I went to see Maude," J.C. replied somewhat stiffly,
for he began to see the drift of her remarks.
Mrs. Kelsey hesitated a moment, and then proceeded to say that "J.C.
ought not to pay Miss Remington much attention, as she was very
susceptible and might fancy him in earnest."
"And suppose she does?" said J.C., determining to brave the worst.
"Suppose she does?"
Mrs. Kelsey was very uncomfortable, and coughing a little she
replied, "It is wrong to raise hopes which cannot be realized, for
of course you have never entertained a serious thought of a low
country girl like Maude Remington."
There had been a time when a remark like this from the fashionable
Mrs. Kelsey would have banished any girl from J.C.'s mind, for he
was rather dependent on the opinion of others, but it made no
difference now, and, warming up in Maude's defense, he replied, "I
assure you, madam, I have entertained serious thoughts toward Miss
Remington, and have this day asked her to be my wife."
"Your wife!" almost screamed the high-bred Mrs. Kelsey. "What will
your city friends--What will Nellie say?"
"Confound them all, I don't care what they, say," and J.C. drove his
knife-blade into the pine table, while he gave his reasons for
having chosen Maude in preference to Nellie, or anyone else he had
ever seen. "There's something to her," said he, "and with her for my
wife I shall make a decent man. What would Nellie and I do together-
-when neither of us know anything--about business, I mean," he
added, while Mrs. Kelsey rejoined, "I always intended that you would
live with me, and I had that handsome suite of rooms arranged
expressly for Nellie and her future husband. I have no children, and
my niece will inherit my property."
This, under some circumstances, would have strongly tempted the
young man; nay, it might perchance have tempted him then, had not
the deep tones of the organ at that moment have reached his ear. It
was the night when Maude usually rehearsed for the coming Sabbath,
and soon after her interview with her sister she had gone to the
church where she sought to soothe her ruffled spirits by playing a
most plaintive air. The music was singularly soft and sweet, and the
heart of J.C. De Vere trembled to the sound, for he knew it was
Maude who played--Maude, who out-weighed the tempting bait which
Mrs. Kelsey offered, and with a magnanimity quite astonishing to
himself he answered, "Poverty with Maude, rather than riches with
"Be it so, then," was Mrs. Kelsey's curt reply, "but when in the
city you blush at your bride's awkwardness don't expect me to lend a
helping hand, for Maude Remington cannot by me be recognized as an
equal," and the proud lady swept from the room, wearing a deeply
injured look, as if she herself had been refused instead of her
"Let me off easier than I supposed," muttered J.C., as he watched
her cross the street and enter Dr. Kennedy's gate. "It will be
mighty mean, though, if she does array herself against my wife, for
Madam Kelsey is quoted everywhere, and even Mrs. Lane, who lives
just opposite, dare not open her parlor blinds until assured by
ocular demonstration that Mrs. Kelsey's are open too. Oh, fashion,
fashion, what fools you make of your votaries! I am glad that I for
one dare break your chain and marry whom I please," and feeling more
amiably disposed toward J.C. De Vere than he had felt for many a
day, the young man started for the church, where to his great joy he
found Maude alone.
She was not surprised to see him, nay, she was half expecting him,
and the flush which deepened on her cheek as he came to her side
showed that his presence was not unwelcome. Human nature is the same
everywhere, and though Maude was perhaps as free from its weaknesses
as almost anyone, the fact that her lover was so greatly coveted by
others increased rather than diminished her regard for him, and when
he told her what had passed between himself and Mrs. Kelsey, and
urged her to give him a right to defend her against that haughty
woman's attacks by engaging herself to him at once, she was more
willing to tell him Yes than she had been in the morning. Thoughts
of James De Vere did not trouble her now--he had ceased to remember
her ere this--had never been more interested in her than in any
ordinary acquaintance, and so, though she knew she could be happier
with him than with the one who with his arm around her waist was
pleading for her love, she yielded at last, and in that dim old
church, with the summer moonlight stealing up the dusky aisles, she
promised to be the wife of J.C. De Vere on her eighteenth birthday.
Very pleasant now it seemed sitting there alone with him in the
silent church. Very pleasant walking with him down the quiet street,
and when her chamber was reached, and Louis, to whom she told her
story, whispered in her ear, "I am glad that is so," she thought it
very nice to be engaged, and was conscious of a happier, more
independent feeling than she had ever known before. It seemed so
strange that she, an unpretending country girl, had won the heart
that many a city maiden had tried in vain to win, and then with a
pang she thought of Nellie, wondering what excuse she could render
her for having stolen J.C. away.
"But he will stand between us," she said; "he will shield me from
her anger," and grateful for so potent a protector, she fell asleep,
dreaming alas, not of J.C., but of him who called her Cousin Maude,
and whose cousin she really was to be.
J.C. De Vere, too, had dreams of a dark-eyed girl, who, in the
shadowy church, with the music she had made still vibrating on the
ear, had promised to be his. Dreams, too, he had of a giddy throng
who scoffed at the dark-eyed girl, calling her by the name which he
himself had given her. It was not meet, they said, that he should
wed the "Milkman's Heiress," but with a nobleness of soul unusual in
him, he paid no heed to their remarks, and folded the closer to his
heart the bride which he had chosen.
Alas! that dreams so often prove untrue.
THE ENGAGEMENT, REAL AND PROSPECTIVE.
To her niece Mrs. Kelsey had communicated the result of her
interview with J.C., and that young lady had fallen into a violent
passion, which merged itself at last into a flood of tears, and
ended finally in strong hysterics. While in this latter condition
Mrs. Kelsey deemed it necessary to summon her brother, to whom she
narrated the circumstances of Nellie's illness. To say that the
doctor was angry would but feebly express the nature of his
feelings. He had fully expected that Nellie would be taken off his
hands, and he had latterly a very good reason for wishing that it
might be so.
Grown-up daughters, he knew, were apt to look askance at
stepmothers, and if he should wish to bring another there he would
rather that Nellie should be out of the way. So he railed at the
innocent Maude, and after exhausting all the maxims which would at
all apply to that occasion, he suggested sending for Mr. De Vere and
demanding an explanation. But this Mrs. Kelsey would not suffer.
"It will do no good," she said, "and may make the matter worse by
hastening the marriage. I shall return home to-morrow, and if you do
not object shall take your daughter with me, to stay at least six
months, as she needs a change of scene. I can, if necessary,
intimate to my friends that she has refused J.C., who, in a fit of
pique, has offered himself to Maude, and that will save Nellie from
all embarrassment. He will soon tire of his new choice, and then--"
"I won't have him if he does," gasped Nellie, interrupting her aunt-
-"I won't have anybody who has first proposed to Maude. I wish she'd
never come here, and if pa hadn't brought that woman--"
"Helen!" and the doctor's voice was very stern, for time had not
erased from his heart all love for the blue-eyed Matty, the gentle
mother of the offending Maude, and more than all, the mother of his
boy--"Helen, that woman was my wife, and you must not speak
disrespectfully of her."
Nellie answered by a fresh burst of tears, for her own conscience
smote her for having spoken thus lightly of one who had ever been
kind to her.
After a moment Mrs. Kelsey resumed the conversation by suggesting
that, as the matter could not now be helped, they had better say
nothing, but go off on the morrow as quietly as possible, leaving
J.C. to awake from his hallucination, which she was sure he would do
soon, and follow them to the city. This arrangement seemed wholly
satisfactory to all parties, and though Nellie declared she'd never
again speak to Jed De Vere, she dried her tears, and retiring to
rest, slept quite as soundly as she had ever done in her life.
The next morning when Maude as usual went down to superintend the
breakfast, she was surprised to hear from Hannah that Mrs. Kelsey
was going that day to Rochester, and that Nellie was to accompany
"Nobody can 'cuse me," said Hannah, "of not 'fillin' Scriptur'
oncet, whar it says `them as has ears to hear, let 'em hear,' for I
did hear 'em a-talkin' last night of you and Mr. De Vere, and I tell
you they're ravin' mad to think you'd cotched him; but I'm glad
on't. You desarves him, if anybody. I suppose that t'other chap aint
none of your marryin' sort," and unconscious of the twinge her last
words had inflicted Hannah carried the coffee-urn to the dining
room, followed by Maude, who was greeted with dark faces and
Scarcely a word was spoken during breakfast, and when after it was
over Maude offered to assist Nellie in packing her trunks, the
latter answered decisively, "You've done enough, I think."
A few moments afterward J.C.'s voice was heard upon the stairs. He
had come over to see the "lioness and her cub," as he styled Mrs.
Kelsey and her niece, whose coolness was amply atoned for by the
bright, joyous glance of Maude, to whom he whispered softly, "Won't
we have glorious times when they are gone!"
Their projected departure pleased him greatly, and he was so very
polite and attentive that Nellie relented a little, and asked how
long he intended remaining at Laurel Hill, while even Mrs. Kelsey
gave him her hand at parting, and said, "Whenever you recover from
your unaccountable fancy I shall be glad to see you."
"You'll wait some time, if you wait for that," muttered J.C., as he
returned to the house in quest of Maude, with whom he had a long and
most delightful interview, for old Hannah, in unusually, good
spirits, expressed her willingness to see to everything, saying to
her young mistress, "You go along now and court a spell. I reckon I
haint done forgot how I and Crockett sot on the fence in old
Virginny and heard the bobolinks a-singin'."
Old Hannah was waxing sentimental, and with a heightened bloom upon
her cheeks Maude left her to her memories of Crockett and the
bobolinks, while she went back to her lover. J.C. was well skilled
in the little, delicate acts which tend to win and keep a woman's
heart, and in listening to his protestations of love Maude forgot
all else, and abandoned herself to the belief that she was perfectly
happy. Only once did her pulses quicken as they would not have done
had her chosen husband been all that she could wish, and that was
when he said to her, "I wrote to James last night, telling him of my
engagement. He will congratulate me, I know, for he was greatly
pleased with you."
Much did Maude wonder what James would say, and it was not long ere
her curiosity was gratified; for scarcely four days were passed when
J.C. brought to her an unsealed note, directed to "Cousin Maude."
"I have heard from Jim," he said, "and he is the best fellow in the
world. Hear what he says of you," and from his own letter he read,
"I do congratulate you upon your choice. Maude Remington is a noble
creature--so beautiful, so refined, and withal so pure and good.
Cherish her, my cousin, as she ought to be cherished, and bring her
some time to my home, which will never boast so fair a mistress."
"I'm so glad he's pleased," said J.C. "I would rather have his
approval than that of the whole world. But what! Crying, I do
believe!" and turning Maude's face to the light he continued, "Yes,
there are tears on your eyelashes. What is the matter?"
"Nothing, nothing," answered Maude, "only I am so glad your
relatives like me."
J.C. was easily deceived, so was Maude--and mutually believing that
nothing was the matter, J.C. drummed on the piano, while Maude tore
open the note which James had written to her. It seemed so strange
to think he wrote it, and Maude trembled violently, while the little
red spots came out all over her neck and face as she glanced at the
words, "My dear Cousin Maude."
It was a kind, affectionate note, and told how the writer would
welcome and love her as his cousin, while at the same time it chided
her for not having answered the letter sent some weeks before.
"Perhaps you did not deem it worthy of an answer," he wrote, "but I
was sadly disappointed in receiving none, and now that you are
really to be my cousin I shall expect you to do better, and treat me
as if I had an existence. J.C. must not monopolize you wholly, for I
shall claim a share of you for myself."
Poor, poor Maude! She did not feel the summer air upon her brow--did
not hear the discordant notes which J.C. made upon the piano, for
her whole soul was centered on the words, "sadly disappointed,"
"love you as my cousin," and "claim a share of you for myself."
Only for a moment, though, and then recovering her composure she
said aloud, "What does he mean? I never received a note."
"I know it, I know it," hastily spoke J.C., and coming to her side
he handed her the soiled missive, saying, "It came a long time ago,
and was mislaid among my papers, until this letter recalled it to my
mind. There is nothing in it of any consequence, I dare say, and had
it not been sealed I might, perhaps, have read it, for as the doctor
says, `It's a maxim of mine that a wife should have no secrets from
her husband,' hey, Maude?" and he caressed her burning cheek, as she
read the note which, had it been earlier received, might have
changed her whole after life.
And still it was not one-half as affectionate in its tone as was the
last, for it began with, "Cousin Maude" and ended with "Yours
respectfully," but she knew he had been true to his promise, and
without a suspicion that J.C. had deceived her she placed the
letters in her pocket, to be read again when she was alone, and
could measure every word and sentiment.
That afternoon when she went to her chamber to make some changes in
her dress she found herself standing before the mirror much longer
than usual, examining minutely the face which James De Vere had
"He thought so, or he would not have said it; but it is false," she
whispered; "even J.C. never called me handsome;" and taking out the
note that day received, she read it again, wondering why the name
"Cousin Maude" did not sound as pleasantly as when she first heard
That night as she sat with Louis in her room she showed the letters
to him, at the same time explaining the reason why one of them was
not received before.
"Oh, I am so glad," said Louis, as he finished reading them, "for
now I know that James De Vere don't like you."
"Don't like me, Louis!" and in Maude's voice there was a world of
"I mean," returned Louis, "that he don't love you for anything but a
cousin. I like J.C. very, very much, and I am glad you are to be his
wife; but I've sometimes thought that if you had waited the other
one would have spoken, for I was almost sure he loved you, but he
don't, I know; he couldn't be so pleased with your engagement, nor
write you so affectionately if he really cared."
Maude hardly knew whether she were pleased or not with Louis'
reasoning. It was true, though, she said, and inasmuch as James did
not care for her, and she did not care for James, she was very glad
she was engaged to J.C.! And with reassured confidence in herself
she sat down and wrote an answer to that note, a frank, impulsive,
Maude-like answer, which, nevertheless, would convey to James De
Vere no idea how large a share of that young girl's thoughts were
given to himself.
The next day there came to Maude a letter bearing the Canada
postmark, together with the unmistakable handwriting of Janet
Hopkins. Maude had not heard of her for some time, and very eagerly
she read the letter, laughing immoderately, and giving vent to
sudden exclamations of astonishment at its surprising intelligence.
Janet was a mother!--"a livin' mother to a child born out of due
season," so the delighted creature wrote, "and what was better than
all, it was a girl, and the Sunday before was baptized as Maude
Matilda Remington Blodgett Hopkins, there being no reason," she
said, "why she shouldn't give her child as many names as the Queen
of England hitched on to hers, beside that it was not at all likely
that she would ever have another, and so she had improved this
opportunity, and named her daughter in honor of Maude, Matty, Harry,
and her first husband Joel. But," she wrote, "I don't know what
you'll say when I tell you that my old man and some others have made
me believe that seein' I've an heir of my own flesh and blood, I
ought to change that will of mine, so I've made another, and if
Maude Matilda dies you'll have it yet. T'other five thousand is
yours, anyway, and if I didn't love the little wudget as I do, I
wouldn't have changed my will; but natur' is natur'."
Scarcely had Maude finished reading this letter when J.C. came in,
and she handed it to him. He did not seem surprised, for he had
always regarded the will as a doubtful matter; but in reality he was
a little chagrined, for five thousand was only half as much as ten.
Still his love for Maude was, as yet, stronger than his love for
money, and he only laughed heartily at the string of names which
Janet had given to her offspring, saying, "It was a pity it hadn't
been a boy, so she could have called him Jedediah Cleishbotham."
"He does not care for my money," Maude thought, and her heart went
out toward him more lovingly than it had ever done before, and her
dark eyes filled with tears when he told her, as he ere long did,
that he must leave the next day, and return to Rochester.
"The little property left me by my mother needs attention, so my
agent writes me," he said, "and now the will has gone up, and we are
poorer than we were before by five thousand dollars, it is necessary
that I should bestir myself, you know." Maude could not tell why it
was that his words affected her unpleasantly, for she knew he was
not rich, and she felt that she should respect him more if he really
did bestir himself, but still she did not like his manner when
speaking of the will, and her heart was heavy all the day. He, on
the contrary, was in unusually good spirits. He was not tired of
Maude, but he was tired of the monotonous life at Laurel Hill, and
when his agent's summons came it found him ready to go. That for
which he had visited Laurel Hill had in reality been accomplished.
He had secured a wife, not Nellie, but Maude, and determining to do
everything honorable, he on the morning of his departure went to the
doctor, to whom he talked of Maude, expressing his wish to marry
her. Very coldly the doctor answered that "Maude could marry whom
she pleased. It was a maxim of his never to interfere with matches,"
and then, as if the subject were suggestive, he questioned the young
man to know if in his travels he had ever met the lady Maude
Glendower. J.C. had met her frequently at Saratoga.
"She was a splendid creature," he said, and he asked if the doctor
"I saw her as a child of seventeen, and again as a woman of twenty-
five. She is forty now," was the doctor's answer, as he walked away,
wondering if the Maude Glendower of to-day were greatly changed from
the Maude of fifteen years ago.
To J.C.'s active mind a new idea was presented, and seeking out the
other Maude--his Maude--he told her of his suspicion. There was a
momentary pang, a thought of the willow-shaded grave where Kate and
Matty slept, and then Maude Remington calmly questioned J.C. of
Maude Glendower--who she was, and where did she live?
J.C. knew but little of the lady, but what little he knew he told.
She was of both English and Spanish descent. Her friends, he
believed, were nearly all dead, and she was alone in the world.
Though forty years of age, she was well preserved, and called a
wondrous beauty. She was a belle--a flirt--a spinster, and was
living at present in Troy.
"She'll never marry the doctor," said Maude, laughing, as she
thought of an elegant woman leaving the world of fashion to be
mistress of that house.
Still the idea followed her, and when at last J.C. had bidden her
adieu, and gone to his city home, she frequently found herself
thinking of the beautiful Maude Glendower, whose name, it seemed to
her, she had heard before, though when or where she could not tell.
A strange interest was awakened in her bosom for the unknown lady,
and she often wondered if they would ever meet. The doctor thought
of her, too--thought of her often, and thought of her long, and as
his feelings toward her changed, so did his manner soften toward the
dark-haired girl who bore her name, and who he began at last to
fancy resembled her in more points than one. Maude was ceasing to be
an object of perfect indifference to him. She was an engaged young
lady, and as such, entitled to more respect than he was wont to pay
her, and as the days wore on he began to have serious thoughts of
making her his confidant and counselor in a matter which he would
never have intrusted to Nellie.
Accordingly, one afternoon when he found her sitting upon the
piazza, he said, first casting an anxious glance around to make sure
no one heard him: "Maude, I wish to see you alone a while."
Wonderingly Maude followed him into the parlor, where her
astonishment was in no wise diminished by his shutting the blinds,
dropping the curtains, and locking the door! Maude began to tremble,
and when he drew his chair close to her side, she started up,
alarmed. "Sit down--sit down," he whispered; "I want to tell you
something, which you must never mention in the world. You certainly
have some sense, or I should not trust you. Maude, I am going--that
is, I have every reason to believe--or rather, I should say perhaps-
-well, anyway, there is a prospect of my being married."
"Married!--to whom?" asked Maude.
"You are certain you'll never tell, and that there's no one in the
hall," said the doctor, going on tip-toe to the door, and assuring
himself there was no one there. Then returning to his seat, he told
her a strange story of a marvellously beautiful young girl, with
Spanish fire in her lustrous eyes, and a satin gloss on her blue-
Her name was Maude Glendower, and years ago she won his love,
leading him on and on until at last he paid her the highest honor a
man can pay a woman--he offered her his heart, his hand, his name.
But she refused him--scornfully, contemptuously, refused him, and he
learned afterward that she had encouraged him for the sake of
bringing another man to terms!--and that man, whose name the doctor
never knew, was a college student not yet twenty-one.
"I hated her then," said he, "hated this Maude Glendower, for her
deception; but I could not forget her, and after Katy died I sought
her again. She was the star of Saratoga, and no match for me. This I
had sense enough to see, so I left her in her glory, and three years
after married your departed mother. Maude Glendower has never
married, and at the age of forty has come to her senses, and
signified her willingness to become my wife--or, that is to say, I
have been informed by my sister that she probably would not refuse
me a second time. Now, Maude Remington, I have told you this because
I must talk with someone, and as I before remarked, you are a girl
of sense, and will keep the secret. It is a maxim of mine, when
anything is to be done, to do it; so I shall visit Miss Glendower
immediately, and if I like her well enough I shall marry her at
once. Not while I am gone, of course, but very soon. I shall start
for Troy one week from to-day, and I wish you would attend a little
to my wardrobe; it's in a most lamentable condition. My shirts are
all worn out, my coat is rusty, and last Sunday I discovered a hole
in my pantaloons--"
"Dr. Kennedy," exclaimed Maude, interrupting him," you surely do not
intend to present yourself before the fastidious Miss Glendower with
those old shabby clothes. She would say No sooner than she did
before. You must have an entire new suit. You can afford it, too,
for you have not had one since mother died."
Dr. Kennedy was never in a condition to be so easily coaxed as now.
Maude Glendower had a place in his heart, which no other woman bad
ever held, and that very afternoon the village merchant was
astonished at the penurious doctor's inquiring the prices of the
finest broadcloth in his store. It seemed a great deal of money to
pay, but Maude Remington at his elbow and Maude Glendower in his
mind conquered at last, and the new suit was bought, including vest,
hat, boots, and all. There is something in handsome clothes very
satisfactory to most people, and the doctor, when arrayed in his,
was conscious of a feeling of pride quite unusual to him. On one
point, however, he was obstinate, "he would not spoil them by
wearing them on the road, when he could just as well dress at the
So Maude, between whom and himself there was for the time being
quite an amicable understanding, packed them in his trunk, while
Hannah and Louis looked on wondering what it could mean.
"The Millennial is comin', or else he's goin' a-courtin'," said
Hannah, and satisfied that she was right she went back to the
kitchen, while Louis, catching at once at her idea, began to cry,
and laying his head on his sister's lap begged of her to tell him if
what Hannah had said were true.
To him it seemed like trampling on the little grave beneath the
willows, and it required all Maude's powers of persuasion to dry his
tears and soothe the pain which every child must feel when first
they know that the lost mother, whose memory they so fondly cherish,
is to be succeeded by another.
She was a most magnificent looking woman, as she sat within her
richly furnished room on that warm September night, now gazing idly
dawn the street and again bending her head to catch the first sound
of footsteps on the stairs. Personal preservation had been the great
study of her life, and forty years had not dimmed the luster of her
soft, black eyes, or woven one thread of silver among the luxuriant
curls which clustered in such profusion around her face and neck.
Gray hairs and Maude Glendower had nothing in common, and the fair,
round cheek, the pearly teeth, the youthful bloom, and white,
uncovered shoulders seemed to indicate that time had made an
exception in her favor, and dropped her from its wheel.
With a portion of her history the reader is already acquainted.
Early orphaned, she was thrown upon the care of an old aunt who,
proud of her wondrous beauty, spared no pains to make her what
nature seemed to will that she should be, a coquette and a belle. At
seventeen we find her a schoolgirl in New Haven, where she turned
the heads of all the college boys, and then murmured because one, a
dark-eyed youth of twenty, withheld from her the homage she claimed
as her just due. In a fit of pique she besieged a staid, handsome
young M.D. of twenty-seven, who had just commenced to practice in
the city, and who, proudly keeping himself aloof from the college
students, knew nothing of the youth she so much fancied. Perfectly
intoxicated with her beauty, he offered her his hand, and was
repulsed. Overwhelmed with disappointment and chagrin, he then left
the city, and located himself at Laurel Hill, where now we find him
the selfish, overbearing Dr. Kennedy.
But in after years Maude Glendower was punished for that act. The
dark-haired student she so much loved was wedded to another, and
with a festering wound within her heart she plunged at once into the
giddy world of fashion, slaying her victims by scores, and exulting
as each new trophy of her power was laid at her feet. She had no
heart, the people said, and with a mocking laugh she thought of the
quiet grave 'mid the New England hills, where, one moonlight night
two weeks after that grave was made, she had wept such tears as were
never wept by her again. Maude Glendower had loved, but loved in
vain; and now, at the age of forty, she was unmarried and alone in
the wide world. The aunt, who had been to her a mother, had died a
few months before, and as her annuity ceased with her death Maude
was almost wholly destitute. The limited means she possessed would
only suffice to pay her, board for a short time, and in this dilemma
she thought of her old lover, and wondered if he could again be won.
He was rich, she had always heard, and as his wife she could still
enjoy the luxuries to which she had been accustomed. She knew his
sister,--they had met in the salons of Saratoga,--and though it hurt
her pride to do it, she at last signified her willingness to be
It was many weeks ere Dr. Kennedy conquered wholly his olden grudge,
but conquered it he had, and she sat expecting him on the night when
first we introduced her to our readers. He had arrived in Troy on
the western train, and written her a note announcing his intention
to visit her that evening. For this visit Maude Glendower had
arrayed herself with care, wearing a rich silk dress of crimson and
black--colors well adapted to her complexion.
"He saw me at twenty-five. He shall not think me greatly changed
since then," she said, as over her bare neck and arms she threw an
exquisitely wrought mantilla of lace.
The Glendower family had once been very wealthy, and the last
daughter of the haughty race glittered with diamonds which had come
to her from her great-grandmother, and had been but recently reset.
And there she sat, beautiful Maude Glendower--the votary of fashion-
-the woman of the world--sat waiting for the cold, hard, overbearing
man who thought to make her his wife. A ring at the door, a heavy
tread upon the winding stairs, and the lady rests her head upon her
hand, so that her glossy curls fall over, but do not conceal her
white, rounded arm, where the diamonds are shining.
"I could easily mistake him for my father," she thought, as a gray-
haired man stepped into the room, where he paused an instant,
bewildered with the glare of light and the display of pictures,
mirrors, tapestry, rosewood, and marble, which met his view.
Mrs. Berkley, Maude Glendower's aunt, had stinted herself to gratify
her niece's whims, and their surroundings had always been of the
most expensive kind, so it was not strange that Dr. Kennedy,
accustomed only to ingrain carpet and muslin curtains, was dazzled
by so much elegance. With a well-feigned start the lady arose to her
feet, and going to his side offered him her hand, saying, "You are
Dr. Kennedy, I am sure. I should have known you anywhere, for you
are but little changed."
She meant to flatter his self-love, though, thanks to Maude
Remington for having insisted upon the broadcloth suit, he looked
"She had not changed at all," he said, and the admiring gaze he
fixed upon her argued well for her success. It becomes us not to
tell how that strange wooing sped. Suffice it to say that at the
expiration of an hour Maude Glendower had promised to be the wife of
Dr. Kennedy when another spring should come. She had humbled herself
to say that she regretted her girlish freak, and he had so far
unbent his dignity as to say that he could not understand why she
should be willing to leave the luxuries which surrounded her and go
with him, a plain, old-fashioned man. Maude Glendower scorned to
make him think that it was love which actuated her, and she replied,
"Now that my aunt is dead, I have no natural protector. I am alone
and want a home."
"But mine is so different," he said. "There are no silk curtains
there, no carpets such as this--"
"Is Maude Remington there?" the lady asked, and in her large black
eyes there was a dewy tenderness, as she pronounced that name.
"Maude Remington!--yes," the doctor answered." Where did you hear of
her? My sister told you, I suppose. Yes, Maude is there. She has
lived with me ever since her mother died. You would have liked
Matty, I think," and the doctor felt a glow of satisfaction in
having thus paid a tribute to the memory of his wife.
"Is Maude like her mother?" the lady asked; a glow upon her cheek,
and the expression of her face evincing the interest she felt in the
"Not at all," returned the doctor. "Matty was blue-eyed and fair,
while Maude is dark, and resembles her father, they say."
The white jeweled hands were clasped together, for a moment, and
then Maude Glendower questioned him of the other one, Matty's child
and his. Very tenderly the doctor talked of his unfortunate boy,
telling of his soft brown hair, his angel face, and dreamy eyes.
"He is like Matty," the lady said, more to herself than her
companion, who proceeded to speak of Nellie as a paragon of
loveliness and virtue. "I shan't like her, I know," the lady
thought, "but the other two," how her heart bounded at the thoughts
of folding them to her bosom.
Louis Kennedy, weeping that his mother was forgotten, had nothing to
fear from Maude Glendower, for a child of Matty Remington was a
sacred trust to her, and when as the doctor bade her good-night he
said again, "You will find a great contrast between your home and
mine," she answered, "I shall be contented if Maude and Louis are
"And Nellie, too," the doctor added, unwilling that she should be
"Yes, Nellie too," the lady answered, the expression of her mouth
indicating that Nellie too was an object of indifference to her.
The doctor is gone, his object is accomplished, and at the Mansion
House near by he sleeps quietly and well. But the lady, Maude
Glendower, oh, who shall tell what bitter tears she wept, or how in
her in-most soul she shrank from the man she had chosen. And yet
there was nothing repulsive in him, she knew. He was fine-looking,--
he stood well in the world,--he was rich while she was poor. But not
for this alone had she promised to be his wife. To hold Maude
Remington within her arms, to look into her eyes, to call his
daughter child, this was the strongest reason of them all. And was
it strange that when at last she slept she was a girl again, looking
across the college green to catch a glimpse of one whose
indifference had made her what she was, a selfish, scheming, cold-
There was another interview next morning, and then the doctor left
her, but not until with her soft hand in his, and her shining eyes
upon his face, she said to him, "You think your home is not a
desirable one for me. Can't you fix it up a little? Are there two
parlors, and do the windows come to the floor? I hope your carriage
horses are in good condition, for I am very fond of driving. Have
you a flower garden? I anticipate much pleasure in working among the
plants. Oh, it will be so cool and nice in the country. You have an
ice-house, of course."
Poor doctor! Double parlors, low windows, ice-house, and flower
garden he had none, while the old carryall had long since ceased to
do its duty, and its place was supplied by an open buggy, drawn by a
sorrel nag. But Maude Glendower could do with him what Katy and
Matty could not have done, and after his return to Laurel Hill he
was more than once closeted with Maude, to whom he confided his plan
of improving the place, asking her if she thought the profits of
next year's crop of wheat and wool would meet the whole expense.
Maude guessed at random that it would, and as money in prospect
seems not quite so valuable as money in hand, the doctor finally
concluded to follow out Maude Glendower's suggestions, and greatly
to the surprise of the neighbors, the repairing process commenced.
HOW THE ENGAGEMENTS PROSPERED.
The October sun had painted the forest trees with the gorgeous tints
of autumn and the November winds had changed them to a more sober
hue ere J.C. De Vere came again to Laurel Hill. Very regularly he
wrote to Maude--kind, loving letters, which helped to cheer her
solitary life. Nellie still remained with Mrs. Kelsey, and though
she had so far forgiven her stepsister as to write to her
occasionally, she still cherished toward her a feeling of animosity
for having stolen away her lover.
On his return to Rochester J.C. De Vere had fully expected that his
engagement would be the theme of every tongue, and he had prepared
himself for the attack. How, then, was he surprised to find that no
one had the least suspicion of it, though many joked him for having
quarreled with Nellie as they were sure he had done, by his not
returning when she did.
Mrs. Kelsey had changed her mind and resolved to say nothing of an
affair which she was sure would never prove to be serious, and the
result showed the wisdom of her proceeding. No one spoke of Maude to
J.C., for no one knew of her existence, and both Mrs. Kelsey, and
Nellie, whom he frequently met, scrupulously refrained from
mentioning her name. At first he felt annoyed, and more than once
was tempted to tell of his engagement, but as time wore on and he
became more and more interested in city gayeties, he thought less
frequently of the dark-eyed Maude, who, with fewer sources of
amusement, was each day thinking more and more of him. Still, he was
sure he loved her, and one morning near the middle of November, when
he received a letter from her saying, "I am sometimes very lonely,
and wish that you were here," he started up with his usual
impetuosity, and ere he was fully aware of his own intentions he
found himself ticketed for Canandaigua, and the next morning Louis
Kennedy, looking from his window and watching the daily stage as it
came slowly up the hill, screamed out, "He's come--he's come!"
A few moments more and Maude was clasped in J.C.'s arms. Kissing her
forehead, her cheek, and her lips, he held her off and looked to see
if she had changed. She had, and he knew it. Happiness and
contentment are more certain beautifiers than the most powerful
cosmetics, and under the combined effects of both Maude was greatly
improved. She was happy in her engagement, happy in the increased
respect it brought her from her friends, and happy, too, in the
unusual kindness, of her stepfather. All this was manifest in her
face, and for the first time in his life J.C. told her she was
"If you only had more manner, and your clothes were fashionably
made, you would far excel the city girls," he said, a compliment
which to Maude seemed rather equivocal.
When he was there before he had not presumed to criticise her style
of dress, but he did so now, quoting the city belles until, half in
earnest, half in ,jest, Maude said to him, "If you think so much of
fashion, you ought not to marry a country girl."
"Pshaw!" returned J.C. "I like you all the better for dressing as
you please, and still I wish you could acquire a little city polish,
for I don't care to have my wife the subject of remark. If Maude
Glendower comes in the spring, you can learn a great deal of her
before the 20th of June."
Maude colored deeply, thinking for the first time in her life that
possibly J.C. might be ashamed of her, but his affectionate caresses
soon drove all unpleasant impressions from her mind, and the three
days that he stayed with her passed rapidly away. He did not mention
the will, but he questioned her of the five thousand which was to be
hers on her eighteenth birthday, and vaguely, hinted that he might
need it to set himself up in business. He had made no arrangements
for the future, he said, there was time enough in the spring, and
promising to be with her again during the holidays, he left her
quite uncertain as to whether she were glad he had visited her or
The next; day she was greatly comforted by a long letter from James,
who wrote occasionally, evincing so much interest in "Cousin Maude"
that he always succeeded in making her cry, though why she could not
tell, for his letters gave her more real satisfaction than did those
of J.C., fraught as the latter were with protestations of constancy
and love. Slowly dragged the weeks, and the holidays were at hand,
when she received a message from J.C., saying he could not possibly
come as he had promised. No reason was given for this change in his
plan, and with a sigh of disappointment Maude turned to a letter
from Nellie, received by the same mail. After dwelling at length
upon the delightful time she was having in the city, Nellie spoke of
a fancy ball to be given by her aunt during Christmas week. Mr. De
Vere was to be "Ivanhoe," she said, and she to be "Rowena."
"You don't know," she wrote," how interested J.C. is in the party.
He really begins to appear more as he used to do. He has not
forgotten you, though, for he said the other day you would make a
splendid Rebecca. It takes a dark person for that, I believe!"
Maude knew the reason now why J.C. could not possibly come, and the
week she had, anticipated so much seemed dreary, enough,
notwithstanding it was enlivened by a box of oranges and figs from
her betrothed, and a long, affectionate letter from James De Vere,
who spoke of the next Christmas, saying he meant she should spend it
"You will really be my cousin then," he wrote, "and I intend
inviting yourself and husband to pass the holidays with us. I want
my mother to know you, Maude. She will like you, I am sure, for she
always thinks as I do."
This letter was far more pleasing to Maude's taste than were the
oranges and figs, and: Louis was suffered to monopolize the latter--
a privilege which he appreciated, as children usually do. After the
holidays J.C. paid a flying visit to Laurel Hill, where his presence
caused quite as much pain as pleasure, so anxious he seemed to
return. Rochester could not well exist without him, one would
suppose, from hearing him talk of the rides he planned, the surprise
parties he man--aged, and the private theatricals of which he was
"Do they pay you well for your services?" Louis asked him once, when
wearying of the same old story.
J.C. understood the hit, and during the remainder of his stay was
far less egotistical than he would otherwise have been. After his
departure there ensued an interval of quiet, which, as spring
approached, was broken by the doctor's resuming the work of repairs,
which had been suspended during the coldest weather. The partition
between the parlor and the large square bedroom was removed;
folding-doors were made between; the windows were cut down; a carpet
was bought to match the one which Maude had purchased the summer
before; and then, when all was done, the doctor was seized with a
fit of the blues, because it had cost so much. But he could afford
to be extravagant for a wife like Maude Glendower, and trusting much
to the wheat crop and the wool, he started for Troy about the middle
of March, fully expecting to receive from the lady a decisive answer
as to when she would make them both perfectly happy!
With a most winning smile upon her lip and a bewitching glance in
her black eyes, Maude Glendower took his hand in hers and begged for
a little longer freedom.
"Wait till next fall," she said; "I must go to Saratoga one more
summer. I shall never be happy if I don't, and you, I dare say,
wouldn't enjoy it a bit."
The doctor was not so sure of that. Her eyes, her voice, and the
soft touch of her hand made him feel very queer; and he was almost
willing to go to Saratoga himself if by these means he could secure
"How much do they charge?" he asked; and, with a flash of her bright
eyes, the lady answered, "I suppose both of us can get along with
thirty or forty dollars a week, including everything; but that isn't
much, as I don't care to stay more than two months!"
This decided the doctor. He had not three hundred dollars to throw
away, and so he tried to persuade his companion to give up Saratoga
and go with him to Laurel Hill, telling her, as an inducement, of
the improvements he had made.
"There were two parlors now," he said, "and with her handsome
furniture they would look remarkably well."
She did not tell him that her handsome furniture was mortgaged for
board and borrowed money--neither did she say that her object in
going to Saratoga was to try her powers upon a rich old Southern
bachelor who had returned from Europe, and who she knew was to pass
the coming summer at the Springs. If she could secure him Dr.
Kennedy might console himself as best he could, and she begged so
hard to defer their marriage until the autumn that the or gave up
the contest, and with a heavy heart prepared to turn his face
"You need not make any more repairs until I come; I'd rather see to
them myself," Miss Glendower said at parting; and wondering what
further improvements she could possibly suggest, now that the parlor
windows were all right, the doctor bade her adieu, and started for
Hitherto Maude had been his confidant, keeping her trust so well
that no one at Laurel Hill knew, exactly what his intentions were,
and, as was very, natural, immediately after his return he went to
her for sympathy in his disappointment. He found her weeping
bitterly, and ere he could lay before her his own grievances she
appealed to him for sympathy and aid. The man to whom her money was
intrusted had speculated largely, loaning some of it out West, at
twenty per cent., investing some in doubtful railroad stocks, and
experimenting with the rest, until by some unlucky chance he lost
the whole, and, worse than all, had nothing of his own with which to
make amends. In short, Maude was penniless, and J.C. De Vere in
despair. She had written to him immediately, and he had come,
suggesting nothing, offering no advice, and saying nothing at first,
except that "the man was mighty mean, and he had never liked his
After a little, however, he rallied somewhat, and offered the
consolatory remark that "they were in a mighty bad fix. I'll be
honest," said he, "and confess that I depended upon that money to
set me up in business. I was going to shave notes, and in order to
do so I must have some ready, capital. It cramps me," he continued,
"for, as a married man, my expenses will necessarily be more than
they now are."
"We can defer our marriage," sobbed Maude, whose heart throbbed
painfully with every word he uttered. "We can defer our marriage a
while, and possibly a part of my fortune may be regained--or, if you
wish it, I will release you at once. You need not wed a penniless
bride," and Maude hid her face in her hands while she awaited the
answer to her suggestion. J.C. De Vere did love Maude Remington
better than anyone he had ever seen, and though he caught eagerly at
the marriage deferred, he was not then willing to give her up, and,
with one of his impetuous bursts, he exclaimed, "I will not be
released, though it may be wise to postpone our bridal day for a
time, say until Christmas next, when I hope to be established in
business," and, touched by the suffering expression of her white
face, he kissed her tears away and told her how gladly he would work
for her, painting "love in a cottage," with nothing else there,
until he really made himself believe that he could live on bread and
water with Maude, provided she gave him the lion's share!
J.C.'s great faults were selfishness, indolence, and love of money,
and Maude's loss affected him deeply; still, there was no redress,
and playfully bidding her "not to cry for the milkman's spilled
milk," he left her on the very day when Dr. Kennedy returned. Maude
knew J.C. was keenly disappointed; that he was hardly aware what he
was saying, and she wept for him rather than for the money.
Dr. Kennedy could offer no advice--no comfort. It had always been a
maxim of his not to make that man her guardian; but women would do
everything wrong, and then, as if his own trials were paramount to
hers, he bored her with the story of his troubles, to which she
simply answered, "I am sorry;" and this was all the sympathy either
gained from the other!
In the course of a few days Maude received a long letter from James
De Vere. He had heard from J.C. of his misfortune, and very tenderly
he strove to comfort her, touching at once upon the subject which he
naturally supposed lay heaviest upon her heart. The marriage need
not be postponed, he said; there was room in his house and a place
in his own and his mother's affections for their "Cousin Maude." She
could live there as well as not. Hampton was only half an hour's
ride from Rochester, and J. G., who had been admitted at the bar,
could open an office in the city until something better presented.
"Perhaps I may set him up in business myself," he wrote. "At all
events, dear Maude, you need not dim the brightness of your eyes by
tears, for all will yet be well. Next June shall see you a bride,
unless your intended husband refuse my offer, in which case I may
divine something better."