Part 2 out of 5
aside, and leaning back in his chair mused long and silently, not of
Theo, but of Maggie, half wishing he were in Warner's place instead of
being there in the dusty city. But as this could not be, he contented
himself with thinking that at some time not far distant he would visit
the old stone house--would see for himself this wonderful Maggie--and,
though he had been warned against it, would possibly win her from
his friend, who, unconsciously perhaps, had often crossed his path,
watching him jealously lest he should look too often and too long upon
the fragile Rose, blooming so sweetly in her bird's-nest of a home
among the tall old trees of Leominster.
"But he need not fear," he said somewhat bitterly, "he need not fear
for her, for it is over now. She has refused me, this Rose Warner, and
though it touched my pride to hear her tell me no, I cannot hate her
for it. She had given her love to another, she said, and Warner is
blind or crazy that he does not see the truth. But it is not for me to
enlighten him. He may call her sister if he likes, though there is
no tie of blood between them. I'd far rather it would be thus, than
something nearer;" and, slowly rising up, George Douglas retired to
dream of a calm, almost heavenly face which but the day before had
been bathed in tears as he told to Rose Warner the story of his love.
Mingled, too, with that dream was another face, a laughing, sparkling,
merry face, upon which no man ever yet had looked and escaped with a
The morning light dispelled the dream, and when in the store old
Safford inquired, "What news from the boy?" the senior partner
answered gravely that he was lying among the Hillsdale hills, with a
broken leg caused by a fall from his horse.
"Always was a careless rider," muttered old Safford, mentally
deploring the increased amount of labor which would necessarily fall
upon him, but which he performed without a word of complaint.
The fair May blossoms were faded, and the last June roses were
blooming ere George Douglas found time or inclination to accept the
invitation indirectly extended to him by Theo Miller. Rose Warner's
refusal had affected him more than he chose to confess, and the wound
must be slightly healed ere he could find pleasure in the sight of
another. Possessed of many excellent qualities, he had unfortunately
fallen into the error of thinking that almost anyone whom he should
select would take him for his money. And when Rose Warner, sitting by
his side in the shadowy twilight, had said, "I cannot be your wife,"
the shock was sudden and hard to bear. But the first keen bitterness
was over now, and remembering "the wild girls of the woods," as he
mentally styled both Theo and Maggie, he determined at last to see
them for himself.
Accordingly, on the last day of June he started for Hillsdale, where
he intended to remain until after the Fourth. To find the old house
was an easy matter, for almost everyone in town was familiar with its
locality, and towards the close of the afternoon he found himself
upon its broad steps applying vigorous strokes to the ponderous brass
knocker, and half hoping the summons would be answered by Maggie
herself. But it was not, and in the bent, white-haired woman who came
with measured footsteps we recognize old Hagar, who spent much of her
time at the house, and who came to the door in compliance with the
request of the young ladies, both of whom, from an upper window, were
curiously watching the stranger.
"Just the old witch one would expect to find in this out-of-the-way
place," thought Mr. Douglas, while at the same time he asked if that
were Madam Conway's residence, and if a young man by the name of
Warner were staying there.
"Another city beau!" muttered Hagar, as she answered in the
affirmative, and ushered him into the parlor. "Another city
beau--there'll be high carryings-on now, if he's anything like the
other one, who's come mighty nigh turning the house upside down."
"What did you say?" asked George Douglas, catching the sound of her
muttering, and thinking she was addressing himself.
"I wasn't speaking to you. I was talking to a likelier person,"
answered old Hagar in an undertone, as she shuffled away in quest of
Henry Warner, who by this time was able to walk with the help of a
The meeting between the young men was a joyful one, for though George
Douglas was a little sore on the subject of Rose, he would not suffer
a matter like that to come between him and Henry Warner, whom he had
known and liked from boyhood. Henry's first inquiries were naturally
of a business character, and then George Douglas spoke of the young
ladies, saying he was only anxious to see Maggie, for he knew of
course he should dislike the other.
Such, however, is wayward human nature that the fair, pale face, and
quiet, dignified manner of Theo Miller had greater attractions for a
person of George Douglas' peculiar temperament than had the dashing,
brilliant Maggie. There was a resemblance, he imagined, between Theo
and Rose, and this of itself was sufficient to attract him towards
her. Theo, too, was equally pleased; and when, that evening, Madam
Jeffrey faintly interposed her fast-departing authority, telling her
quondam pupils it was time they were asleep, Theo did not, as usual,
heed the warning, but sat very still beneath the vine-wreathed
portico, listening while George Douglas told her of the world which
she had never seen. She was not proud towards him, for he possessed
the charm of money, and as he looked down upon her, conversing with
him so familiarly, he wondered how Henry could have called her cold
and haughty--she was merely dignified, high-bred, he thought; and
George Douglas liked anything which savored of aristocracy.
Meanwhile Henry and Maggie had wandered to a little summer-house,
where, with the bright moonlight falling upon them, they sat together,
but not exactly as of old, for Maggie did not now look up into his
face as she was wont to do, and if she thought his eye was resting
upon her she moved uneasily, while the rich blood deepened on her
cheek. A change has come over Maggie Miller; it is the old story,
too--old to hundreds of thousands, but new to her, the blushing
maiden. Theo calls her nervous--Mrs. Jeffrey calls her sick--the
servants call her mighty queer--while old Hagar, hovering ever near,
and watching her with a jealous eye, knows she is in love.
Faithfully and well had Hagar studied Henry Warner, to see if there
were aught in him of evil; and though he was not what she would have
chosen for the queenly Maggie she was satisfied if Margaret loved him
and he loved Margaret. But did he? He had never told her so; and
in Hagar Warren's wild black eyes there was a savage gleam, as she
thought, "He'll rue the day that he dares trifle with Maggie Miller."
But Henry Warner was not trifling with her. He was only waiting a
favorable opportunity for telling her the story of his love; and now,
as they sit together in the moonlight, with the musical flow of the
mill-stream falling on his ear, he essays to speak--to tell how she
has grown into his heart; to ask her to go with him where he goes; to
make his home her home, and so be with him always; but ere the first
word was uttered Maggie asked if Mr. Douglas had brought the picture
of his sister.
"Why, yes," he answered; "I had forgotten it entirely. Here it is;"
and taking it from his pocket he passed it to her.
It was a face of almost ethereal loveliness that through the moonlight
looked up to Maggie Miller, and again she experienced the same
undefinable emotion, a mysterious, invisible something drawing her
towards the original of the beautiful likeness.
"It is strange how thoughts of Rose always affect me," she said,
gazing earnestly upon the large eyes of blue shadowed forth upon the
picture. "It seems as though she must be nearer to me than an unknown
"Seems she like a sister?" asked Henry Warner, coming so near that
Maggie felt his warm breath upon her cheek.
"Yes, yes, that's it," she answered, with something of her olden
frankness. "And had I somewhere in the world an unknown sister I
should say it was Rose Warner!"
There were a few low, whispered words, and when the full moon, which
for a time had hidden itself behind the clouds, again shone forth in
all its glory, Henry had asked Maggie Miller to be the sister of Rose
Warner, and Maggie had answered "Yes"!
That night in Maggie's dreams there was a strange commingling
of thoughts. Thoughts of Henry Warner, as he told her of his
love--thoughts of the gentle girl whose eyes of blue had looked so
lovingly up to her, as if between them there was indeed a common bond
of sympathy--and, stranger far than all, thoughts of the little
grave beneath the pine where slept the so-called child of Hester
Hamilton--the child defrauded of its birthright, and who, in the misty
vagaries of dreamland, seemed to stand between her and the beautiful
STARS AND STRIPES.
On the rude bench by her cabin door sat Hagar Warren, her black eyes
peering out into the woods and her quick ear turned to catch the first
sound of bounding footsteps, which came at last, and Maggie Miller was
sitting by her side.
"What is it, darling?" Hagar asked, and her shriveled hand smoothed
caressingly the silken hair, as she looked into the glowing face of
the young girl, and half guessed what was written there.
To Theo Maggie had whispered the words, "I am engaged," and Theo had
coldly answered: "Pshaw! Grandma will quickly break that up. Why,
Henry Warner is comparatively poor! Mr. Douglas told me so, or rather
I quizzed him until I found it out. He says, though, that Henry has
rare business talents, and he could not do without him."
To the latter part of Theo's remark Maggie paid little heed; but the
mention of her grandmother troubled her. She would oppose it, Maggie
was sure of that, and it was to talk on this very subject that she had
come to Hagar's cottage.
"Just the way I s'posed it would end," said Hagar, when Maggie, with
blushing, half-averted face, told the story of her engagement. "Just
the way I s'posed 'twould end, but I didn't think 'twould be so
"Two months and a half is a great while, and then we have been
together so much," replied Maggie, at the same time asking if Hagar
did not approve her choice.
"Henry Warner's well enough," answered Hagar. "I've watched him close
and see no evil in him; but he isn't the one for you, nor are you the
one for him. You are both too wild, too full of fun, and if yoked
together will go to destruction, I know. You need somebody to hold you
back, and so does he."
Involuntarily Maggie thought of Rose, mentally resolving to be, if
possible, more like her.
"You are not angry with me?" said Hagar, observing Maggie's silence.
"You asked my opinion, and I gave it to you. You are too young to know
who you like. Henry Warner is the first man you ever knew, and in two
years' time you'll tire of him."
"Tire of him, Hagar? Tire of Henry Warner?" cried Maggie a little
indignantly. "You do not know me, if you think I'll ever tire of him;
and then, too, did I tell you grandma keeps writing to me about a Mr.
Carrollton, who she says is wealthy, fine-looking, highly educated,
and very aristocratic--and that last makes me hate him! I've heard so
much about aristocracy that I'm sick of it, and just for that reason
I would not have this Mr. Carrollton if I knew he'd make me queen of
England. But grandma's heart is set upon it, I know, and she thinks
of course he would marry me--says he is delighted with my
daguerreotype--that awful one, too, with the staring eyes. In
grandma's last letter he sent me a note. 'Twas beautifully written,
and I dare say he is a fine young man, at least he talks common sense,
but I shan't answer it; and, if you'll believe me, I used part of
it in lighting Henry's cigar, and with the rest I shall light
firecrackers on the Fourth of July; Henry has bought a lot of them,
and we're going to have fun. How grandma would scold!--but I shall
marry Henry Warner, anyway. Do you think she will oppose me, when she
sees how determined I am?"
"Of course she will," answered Hagar. "I know those Carrolltons--they
are a haughty race; and if your grandmother has one of them in view
she'll turn you from her door sooner than see you married to another,
and an American, too."
There was a moment's silence, and then, with an unnatural gleam in
her eye, old Hagar turned towards Maggie, and, grasping her shoulder,
said: "If she does this thing, Maggie Miller,--if she casts you
off,--will you take me for your grandmother? Will you let me live with
you? I'll be your drudge, your slave; say, Maggie, may I go with you?
Will you call me grandmother? I'd willingly die if only once I could
hear you speak to me thus, and know it was in love."
For a moment Maggie looked at her in astonishment; then thinking to
herself, "She surely is half-crazed," she answered laughingly: "Yes,
Hagar, if grandma casts me off, you may go with me. I shall need your
care, but I can't promise to call you grandma, because you know you
The corners of Hagar's mouth worked nervously, but her teeth shut
firmly over the thin, white lip, forcing back the wild words trembling
there, and the secret was not told.
"Go home, Maggie Miller," she said at last, rising slowly to her feet.
"Go home now, and leave me alone. I am willing you should marry Henry
Warner--nay, I wish you to do it; but you must remember your promise."
Maggie was about to answer, when her thoughts were directed to another
channel by the sight of George Douglas and Theo coming slowly down the
shaded pathway which led past Hagar's door. Old Hagar saw them too,
and, whispering to Maggie, said, "There's another marriage brewing, or
the signs do not tell true, and madam will sanction this one, too, for
there's money there, and gold can purify any blood."
Ere Maggie could reply Theo called out, "You here, Maggie, as usual?"
adding, aside, to her companion: "She has the most unaccountable
taste, so different from me, who cannot endure anything low and
vulgar. Can you? But I need not ask," she continued, "for your
associations have been of a refined nature."
George Douglas did not answer, for his thoughts were back in the brown
farmhouse at the foot of the hill, where his boyhood was passed, and
he wondered what the high-bred lady at his side would say if she could
see the sunburned man and plain, old-fashioned woman who called him
their son George Washington. He would not confess that he was ashamed
of his parentage, for he tried to be a kind and dutiful child, but he
would a little rather that Theo Miller should not know how democratic
had been his early training. So he made no answer, but, addressing
himself to Maggie, asked how she could find it in her heart to leave
her patient so long.
"I'm going back directly," she said, and donning her hat she started
for home, thinking she had gained but little satisfaction from Hagar,
who, as Douglas and Theo passed on, resumed her seat by the door, and,
listening to the sound of Margaret's retreating footsteps, muttered:
"The old light-heartedness is gone. There are shadows gathering round
her; for once in love, she'll never be as free and joyous again. But
it can't be helped; it's the destiny of women, and I only hope this
Warner is worthy of her. But he aint. He's too wild--too full of what
Hagar Warren calls bedevilment. And Maggie does everything he tells
her to do. Not content with tearing down his bed-curtains, which have
hung there full twenty years, she's set things all cornerwise, because
the folks do so in Worcester, and has turned the parlor into a
smoking-room, till all the air of Hillsdale can't take away that
tobacco scent. Why, it almost knocks me down!" and the old lady
groaned aloud, as she recounted to herself the recent innovations upon
the time-honored habits of her mistress' house.
Henry Warner was, indeed, rather a fast young man, but it needed the
suggestive presence of George Douglas to bring out his true character;
and for the four days succeeding the arrival of the latter there were
rare doings at the old stone house, where the astonished and rather
delighted servants looked on in amazement while the young men sang
their jovial songs and drank of the rare old wine which Maggie,
utterly fearless of what her grandmother might say, brought from the
cellar below. But when, on the morning of the Fourth, Henry Warner
suggested that they have a celebration, or at least hang out the
American flag by way of showing their patriotism, there were signs of
rebellion in the kitchen, while even Mrs. Jeffrey, who had long since
ceased to interfere, felt it her duty to remonstrate. Accordingly, she
descended to the parlor, where she found George Douglas and Maggie
dancing to the tune of "Yankee Doodle," which Theo played upon the
piano, while Henry Warner whistled a most stirring accompaniment! To
be heard above that din was impossible, and involuntarily patting her
own slippered foot to the lively strain the distressed little lady
went back to her room, wondering what Madam Conway would say if she
knew how her house was being desecrated.
But Madam Conway did not know. She was three thousand miles away, and
with this distance between them Maggie dared do anything; so when the
flag was again mentioned, she answered apologetically, as if it were
something of which they ought to be ashamed: "We never had any, but
we can soon make one, I know. 'Twill be fun to see it float from the
housetop!" and, flying up the stairs to the dusty garret, she drew
from a huge oaken chest a scarlet coat which had belonged to the
former owner of the place, who little thought, as he sat in state,
that his favorite coat would one day furnish material for the emblem
of American freedom!
No such thought as this, however, obtruded itself upon Maggie as she
bent over the chest. "The coat is of no use," she said, and gathering
it up she ran back to the parlor, where, throwing it across Henry's
lap, she told how it had belonged to her great-great-grandfather, who
at the time of the Revolution went home to England. The young men
exchanged a meaning look, and then burst into a laugh, but the cause
of their merriment they did not explain, lest the prejudices of the
girls should be aroused.
"This is just the thing," said Henry, entering heart and soul into the
spirit of the fun. "This is grand. Can't you find some blue for the
groundwork of the stars?"
Maggie thought a moment, and then exclaimed: "Oh, yes--I have it;
grandma has a blue satin bodice which she wore when she was a young
lady. She once gave me a part of the back for my doll's dress. She
won't care if I cut up the rest for a banner."
"Of course not," answered George Douglas. "She'll be glad to have
it used for such a laudable purpose," and walking to the window
he laughed heartily as he saw in fancy the wrath of the proud
Englishwoman when she learned the use to which her satin bodice had
The waist was brought in a twinkling, and then, when Henry asked for
some white, Maggie cried, "A sheet will be just the thing--one of
grandma's small linen ones. It won't hurt it a bit," she added, as
she saw a shadow on Theo's brow, and, mounting to the top of the high
chest of drawers, she brought out a sheet of finest linen, which, with
rose leaves and fragrant herbs, had been carefully packed away.
It was a long, delightful process, the making of that banner; and
Maggie's voice rang out loud and clear as she saw how cleverly Henry
Warner managed the shears, cutting the red coat into stripes. The
arrangement of the satin fell to Maggie's lot; and while George
Douglas made the stars, Theo looked on a little doubtfully--not that
her nationality was in any way affected, for what George Douglas
sanctioned was by this time right with her; but she felt some
misgiving as to what her grandmother might say; and, thinking if she
did nothing but look on and laugh the blame would fall on Maggie, she
stood aloof, making occasionally a suggestion, and seeming as pleased
as anyone when at last the flag was done. A quilting-frame served as
a flagstaff, and Maggie was chosen to plant it upon the top of the
house, where was a cupola, or miniature tower, overlooking the
surrounding country. Leading to this tower was a narrow staircase, and
up these stairs Maggie bore the flag, assisted by one of the servant
girls, whose birthplace was green Erin, and whose broad, good-humored
face shone with delight as she fastened the pole securely in its
place, and then shook aloft her checked apron, in answer to the cheer
which came up from below, when first the American banner waved over
the old stone house.
Attracted by the noise, and wondering what fresh mischief they were
doing, Mrs. Jeffrey went out into the yard just in time to see the
flag of freedom as it shook itself out in the summer breeze.
"Heaven help me!" she ejaculated; "the 'Stars and Stripes' on Madam
Conway's house!" and, resolutely shutting her eyes, lest they should
look again on what to her seemed sacrilege, she groped her way back
to the house; and, retiring to her room, wrote to Madam Conway an
exaggerated account of the proceedings, bidding her hasten home or
everything would be ruined.
The letter being written, the good lady felt better--so much better,
indeed, that after an hour's deliberation she concluded not to send
it, inasmuch as it contained many complaints against the young lady
Margaret, who she knew was sure in the end to find favor in her
grandmother's eyes. This was the first time Mrs. Jeffrey had
attempted a letter to her employer, for Maggie had been the chosen
correspondent, Theo affecting to dislike anything like letter-writing.
On the day previous to Henry Warner's arrival at the stone house
Maggie had written to her grandmother, and ere the time came for her
to write again she had concluded to keep his presence there a secret:
so Madam Conway was, as yet, ignorant of his existence; and while
in the homes of the English nobility she bore herself like a royal
duchess, talking to young Arthur Carrollton of her beautiful
granddaughter, she little dreamed of the real state of affairs at
But it was not for Mrs. Jeffrey to enlighten her, and tearing her
letter in pieces the governess sat down in her easy-chair by the
window, mentally congratulating herself upon the fact that "the two
young savages," as she styled Douglas and Warner, were to leave on the
morrow. This last act of theirs, the hoisting of the banner, had been
the culminating point; and, too indignant to sit with them at the same
table, she resolutely kept her room throughout the entire day, poring
intently over Baxter's "Saints' Rest," her favorite volume when at all
flurried or excited. Occasionally, too, she would stop her ears with
jeweler's cotton, to shut out the sound of "Hail, Columbia!" as it
came up to her from the parlor below, where the young men were doing
their best to show their patriotism.
Towards evening, alarmed by a whizzing sound, which seemed to be often
repeated, and wishing to know the cause, she stole halfway down the
stairs, when the mischievous Maggie greeted her with a "serpent,"
which, hissing beneath her feet, sent her quickly back to her
room, from which she did not venture again. Mrs. Jeffrey was very
good-natured, and reflecting that "young folks must have fun," she
became at last comparatively calm, and at an early hour sought her
pillow. But thoughts of "stars and stripes" waving directly over her
head, as she knew they were, made her nervous, and the long clock
struck the hour of two, and she was yet restless and wakeful,
notwithstanding the near approach of dawn.
"Maybe the 'Saints' Rest' will quiet me a trifle," she thought; and,
striking a light, she attempted to read; but in vain, for every word
was a star, every line a stripe, and every leaf a flag. Shutting the
book and hurriedly pacing the floor, she exclaimed: "It's of no use
trying to sleep, or meditate either. Baxter himself couldn't do it
with that thing over his head, and I mean to take it down. It's a duty
I owe to King George's memory, and to Madam Conway;" and, stealing
from her room, she groped her way up the dark, narrow stairway, until,
emerging into the bright moonlight, she stood directly beneath the
American banner, waving so gracefully in the night wind. "It's a
clever enough device," she said, gazing rather admiringly at it. "And
I'd let it be if I s'posed I could sleep a wink; but I can't. It's
worse for my nerves than strong green tea, and I'll not lie awake for
all the Yankee flags in Christendom." So saying, the resolute little
woman tugged at the quilt-frame until she loosened it from its
fastenings, and then started to return.
But, alas! the way was narrow and dark, the banner was large and
cumbersome, while the lady that bore it was nervous and weak. It is
not strange, then, that Maggie, who slept at no great distance, was
awakened by a tremendous crash, as of someone falling the entire
length of the tower stairs, while a voice, frightened and faint,
called out; "Help me, Margaret, do! I am dead! I know I am!"
Striking a light, Maggie hurried to the spot, while her merry laugh
aroused the servants, who came together in a body. Stretched upon the
floor, with one foot thrust entirely through the banner, which was
folded about her so that the quilt-frame lay directly upon her bosom,
was Mrs. Jeffrey, the broad frill of her cap standing up erect, and
herself asserting with every breath that "she was dead and buried, she
knew she was."
"Wrapped in a winding-sheet, I'll admit," said Maggie, "but not
quite dead, I trust;" and, putting down her light, she attempted to
extricate her governess, who continued to apologize for what she had
done. "Not that I cared so much about your celebrating America; but I
couldn't sleep with the thing over my head; I was going to put it back
in the morning before you were up. There! there! careful! It's broken
short off!" she screamed, as Maggie tried to release her foot from the
rent in the linen sheet, a rent which the frightened woman persisted
in saying she could darn as good as new, while at the same time she
implored of Maggie to handle carefully her ankle, which had been
sprained by the fall.
Maggie's recent experience in broken bones had made her quite an
adept, and taking the slight form of Mrs. Jeffrey in her arms she
carried her back to her room, where, growing more quiet, the old
lady told her how she happened to fall, saying she never thought of
stumbling, until she fancied that Washington and all his regiment were
after her, and when she turned her head to see, she lost her footing
Forcing back her merriment, which in spite of herself would
occasionally burst forth, Maggie made her teacher as comfortable as
possible, and then stayed with her until morning, when, leaving her
in charge of a servant, she went below to say farewell to her guests.
Between George Douglas and Theo there were a few low-spoken words, she
granting him permission to write, while he promised to visit her again
in the early autumn. He had not yet talked to her of love, for Rose
Warner had still a home in his heart, and she must be dislodged ere
another could take her place. But his affection for her was growing
gradually less. Theo suited him well; her family suited him better,
and when at parting he took her hand in his he resolved to ask her for
it when next he came to Hillsdale.
Meanwhile between Henry Warner and Maggie there was a far more
affectionate farewell, he whispering to her of a time not far distant
when he would claim her as his own, and, she should go with him. He
would write to her every week, he said, and Rose should write too. He
would see Rose in a few days, and tell her of his engagement, which he
knew would please her.
"Let me send her a line," said Maggie, and on a tiny sheet of paper
she wrote: "Dear Rose: Are you willing I should be your sister
Half an hour later, and Hagar Warren, coming through the garden gate,
looked after the carriage which bore the gentlemen to the depot,
muttering to herself: "I'm glad the high bucks have gone. A good
riddance to them both."
In her disorderly chamber, too, Mrs. Jeffrey hobbled on one foot to
the window, where, with a deep sigh of relief, she sent after the
young men a not very complimentary adieu, which was echoed in part by
the servants below, while Theo, on the piazza, exclaimed against the
lonesome old house, which was never so lonesome before, and Maggie
seated herself upon the stairs and cried!
Nestled among the tall old trees which skirt the borders of Leominster
village was the bird's-nest of a cottage which Rose Warner called her
home, and which, with its wealth of roses, its trailing vines and
flowering shrubs, seemed fitted for the abode of one like her. Slight
as a child twelve summers old, and fair as the white pond lily when
first to the morning sun it unfolds its delicate petals, she seemed
too frail for earth; and both her aunt and he whom she called brother
watched carefully lest the cold north wind should blow too rudely on
the golden curls which shaded her childish brow. Very, very beautiful
was little Rose, and yet few ever looked upon her without a feeling of
sadness; for in the deep blue of her eyes there was a mournful, dreamy
look, as if the shadow of some great sorrow were resting thus early
And Rose Warner had a sorrow, too--a grief which none save one had
ever suspected. To him it had come with the words, "I cannot be your
wife for I love another; one who will never know how dear he is to
The words were involuntarily spoken, and George Douglas, looking down
upon her, guessed rightly that he who would never know how much he
was beloved was Henry Warner. To her the knowledge that Henry was
something dearer than a brother had come slowly, filling her heart
with pain, for she well knew that whether he clasped her to his bosom,
as he often did, or pressed his lips upon her brow, he thought of her
only as a brother thinks of a beautiful and idolized sister. It had
heretofore been some consolation to know that his affections were
untrammeled with thoughts of another, that she alone was the object of
his love, and hope had sometimes faintly whispered of what perchance
might be; but from that dream she was waking now, and her face grew
whiter still as there came to her from time to time letters fraught
with praises of Margaret Miller; and if in Rose Warner's nature there
had been a particle of bitterness, it would have been called forth
toward one who, she foresaw, would be her rival. But Rose knew no
malice, and she felt that she would sooner die than do aught to mar
the happiness of Maggie Miller.
For nearly two weeks she had not heard from Henry, and she was
beginning to feel very anxious, when one morning, two or three days
succeeding the memorable Hillsdale celebration, as she sat in a small
arbor so thickly overgrown with the Michigan rose as to render her
invisible at a little distance, she was startled by hearing him call
her name, as he came in quest of her down the garden walk. The next
moment he held her in his arms, kissing her forehead, her lips, her
cheek; then holding her off, he looked to see if there had been in her
aught of change since last they met.
"You are paler than you were, Rose darling," he said, "and your eyes
look as if they had of late been used to tears. What is it, dearest?
What troubles you?"
Rose could not answer immediately, for his sudden coming had taken
away her breath, and as he saw a faint blush stealing over her face he
continued, "Can it be my little sister has been falling in love during
Never before had he spoken to her thus; but a change had come over
him, his heart was full of a beautiful image, and fancying Rose might
have followed his example he asked her the question he did, without,
however, expecting or receiving a definite answer.
"I am so lonely, Henry, when you are gone and do not write to me!" she
said; and in the tones of her voice there was a slight reproof, which
Henry felt keenly.
He had been so engrossed with Maggie Miller and the free joyous life
he led in the Hillsdale woods, that for a time he had neglected Rose,
who, in his absence, depended so much on his letters for comfort.
"I have been very selfish, I know," he said; "but I was so happy, that
for a time I forgot everything save Maggie Miller."
An involuntary shudder ran through Rose's slender form; but,
conquering her emotion, she answered calmly: "What of this Maggie
Miller? Tell me of her, will you?"
Winding his arm around her waist, and drawing her closely to his side,
Henry Warner rested her head upon his bosom, where it had often lain,
and, smoothing her golden curls, told her of Maggie Miller, of her
queenly beauty, of her dashing, independent spirit, her frank,
ingenuous manner, her kindness of heart; and last of all, bending very
low, lest the vine leaves and the fair blossoms of the rose should
hear, he told her of his love; and Rose, the fairest flower of all
which bloomed around that bower, clasped her hand upon her heart, lest
he should see its wild throbbings, and, forcing back the tears which
moistened her long lashes, listened to the knell of all her hopes.
Henceforth her love for him must be an idle mockery, and the time
would come when to love him as she loved him then would be a sin--a
wrong to herself, a wrong to him, and a wrong to Maggie Miller.
"You are surely not asleep," he said at last, as she made him no
reply, and bending forward he saw the tear-drops resting on her cheek.
"Not asleep, but weeping!" he exclaimed. "What is it, darling? What
troubles you?" And lifting up her head, Rose Warner answered, "I was
thinking how this new love of yours would take you from me, and I
should be alone."
"No, not alone," he said, wiping her tears away. "Maggie and I have
arranged that matter. You are to live with us, and instead of losing
me you are to gain another--a sister, Rose. You have often wished you
had one, and you could surely find none worthier than Maggie Miller."
"Will she watch over you, Henry? Will she be to you what your wife
should be?" asked Rose; and Henry answered: "She is not at all like
you, my little sister. She relies implicitly upon my judgment; so you
see I shall need your blessed influence all the same, to make me what
your brother and Maggie's husband ought to be."
"Did she send me no message?" asked Rose; and taking out the tiny
note, Henry passed it to her, just as his aunt called to him from the
house, whither he went, leaving her alone.
There were blinding tears in Rose's eyes as she read the few lines,
and involuntarily she pressed her lips to the paper which she knew had
been touched by Maggie Miller's hands.
"My sister--sister Maggie," she repeated; and at the sound of that
name her fast-beating heart grew still, for they seemed very sweet to
her, those words "my sister," thrilling her with a new and strange
emotion, and awakening within her a germ of the deep, undying love she
was yet to feel for her who had traced those words and asked to be her
sister. "I will do right," she thought; "I will conquer this foolish
heart of mine, or break it in the struggle, and Henry Warner shall
never know how sorely it was wrung."
The resolution gave her strength, and, rising up, she too sought the
house, where, retiring to her room, she penned a hasty note to Maggie,
growing calmer with each word she wrote.
"I grant your request [she said] and take you for a sister well
beloved. I had a half-sister once, they say, but she died when a
little babe. I never looked upon her face, and connected with her
birth there was too much of sorrow and humiliation for me to think
much of her, save as of one who, under other circumstances, might have
been dear to me. And yet as I grow older I often find myself wishing
she had lived, for my father's blood was in her veins. But I do not
even know where her grave was made, for we only heard one winter
morning, years ago, that she was dead with the mother who bore her.
Forgive me, Maggie dear, for saying so much about that little child.
Thoughts of you, who are to be my sister, make me think of her, who,
had she lived, would have been a young lady now nearly your own age.
So in the place of her, whom, knowing, I would have loved, I adopt
you, sweet Maggie Miller, my sister and my friend. May Heaven's
choicest blessings rest on you forever, and no shadow come between you
and the one you have chosen for your husband! To my partial eyes he is
worthy of you, Maggie, royal in bearing and queenly in form though you
be, and that you may be happy with him will be the daily prayer of
The letter was finished, and Rose gave it to her brother, who, after
its perusal, kissed her, saying: "It is right, my darling. I will send
it to-morrow with mine; and now for a ride. I will see what a little
exercise can do for you. I do not like the color of your face."
But neither the fragrant summer air, nor yet the presence of Henry
Warner, who tarried several days, could rouse the drooping Rose; and
when at last she was left alone she sought her bed, where for many
weeks she hovered between life and death, while her brother and her
aunt hung over her pillow, and Maggie, from her woodland home, sent
many an anxious inquiry and message of love to the sick girl. In the
close atmosphere of his counting-room George Douglas too again battled
manfully with his olden love, listening each day to hear that she was
dead. But not thus early was Rose to die, and with the waning summer
days she came slowly back to life. More beautiful than ever, because
more ethereal and fair, she walked the earth like one who, having
struggled with a mighty sorrow, had won the victory at last; and Henry
Warner, when he looked on her sweet, placid face, and listened to her
voice as she made plans for the future, when Maggie would be his wife,
dreamed not of the grave hidden in the deep recesses of her heart,
where grew no flower of hope or semblance of earthly joy.
Thus little know mankind of each other!
On the Hillsdale hills the October sun was shining, and the forest
trees were donning their robes of scarlet and brown, when again the
old stone house presented an air of joyous expectancy. The large, dark
parlors were thrown open, the best chambers were aired, the bright,
autumnal flowers were gathered and in tastefully arranged bouquets
adorned the mantels, while Theo and Maggie, in their best attire,
flitted uneasily from room to room, running sometimes to the gate
to look down the grassy road which led from the highway, and again
mounting the tower stairs to obtain a more extended view.
In her pleasant apartment, where last we left her with a sprained
ankle, Mrs. Jeffrey, too, fidgeted about, half sympathizing with her
pupils in their happiness, and half regretting the cause of that
happiness, which was the expected arrival of George Douglas and Henry
Warner, who, true to their promise, were coming again to try for a
week the Hillsdale air, and retrieve their character as fast young
men. So, at least, they told Mrs. Jeffrey, who, mindful of her exploit
with the banner, and wishing to make some amends, met them alone on
the threshhold, Maggie having at the last moment run away, while Theo
sat in a state of dignified perturbation upon the sofa.
A few days prior to their arrival letters had been received from Madam
Conway saying she should probably, remain in England two or three
weeks longer, and thus the house was again clear to the young men,
who, forgetting to retrieve their characters, fairly outdid all they
had done before. The weather was remarkably clear and bracing, and the
greater part of each day was spent in the open air, either in fishing,
riding, or hunting; Maggie teaching Henry Warner how to ride and leap,
while he in turn taught her to shoot a bird upon the wing, until the
pupil was equal to her master. In these outdoor excursions George
Douglas and Theo did not always join, for he had something to say
which he would rather tell her in the silent parlor, and which, when
told, furnished food for many a quiet conversation; so Henry and
Maggie rode oftentimes alone; and old Hagar, when she saw them dashing
past her door, Maggie usually taking the lead, would shake her head
and mutter to herself: "'Twill never do--that match. He ought to hold
her back, instead of leading her on. I wish Madam Conway would, come
home and end it."
Mrs. Jeffrey wished so too, as night after night her slumbers were
disturbed by the sounds of merriment which came up to her from the
parlor below, where the young people were "enjoying themselves," as
Maggie said when reproved for the noisy revels. The day previous
to the one set for their departure chanced to be Henry Warner's
twenty-seventh birthday, and this Maggie resolved to honor with an
extra supper, which was served at an unusually late hour in the dining
room, the door of which opened out upon a closely latticed piazza.
"I wish we could think of something new to do," said Maggie, as she
presided at the table--"something real funny;" then, as her eyes fell
upon the dark piazza, where a single light was burning dimly, she
exclaimed: "Why can't we get up tableaux? There are heaps of the
queerest clothes in the big oaken chest in the garret. The servants
can be audience, and they need some recreation!"
The suggestion was at once approved, and in half an hour's time the
floor was strewn with garments of every conceivable fashion, from long
stockings and small clothes to scarlet cloaks and gored skirts, the
latter of which were immediately donned by Henry Warner, to the
infinite delight of the servants, who enjoyed seeing the grotesque
costumes, even if they did not exactly understand what the tableaux
were intended to represent. The banner, too, was brought out, and
after bearing a conspicuous part in the performance was placed at the
end of the dining room, where it would be the first thing visible to a
person opening the door opposite. At a late hour the servants retired,
and then George Douglas, who took kindly to the luscious old wine,
which Maggie again had brought from her grandmother's choicest store,
filled a goblet to the brim, and, pledging first the health of the
young girls, drank to "the old lady across the water" with whose goods
they were thus making free!
Henry Warner rarely tasted wine, for though miles away from Rose her
influence was around him--so, filling his glass with water, he too
drank to the wish that "the lady across the sea" would remain there
yet a while, or at all events not "stumble upon us to-night!"
"What if she should!" thought Maggie, glancing around at the different
articles scattered all over the floor, and laughing as she saw in
fancy her grandmother's look of dismay should she by any possible
chance obtain a view of the room, where perfect order and quiet had
been wont to reign.
But the good lady was undoubtedly taking her morning nap on the
shores of old England. There was no danger to be apprehended from her
unexpected arrival, they thought; and just as the clock struck one the
young men sought their rooms, greatly to the relief of Mrs. Jeffrey,
who, in her long night robe, with streaming candle in hand, had
more than a dozen times leaned over the banister, wondering if the
"carouse" would ever end.
It did end at last; and, tired and sleepy, Theo went directly to her
chamber, while Maggie stayed below, thinking to arrange matters a
little, for their guests were to leave on the first train, and she had
ordered an early breakfast. But it was a hopeless task, the putting
of that room to rights; and trusting much to the good-nature of the
housekeeper, she finally gave it up and went to bed, forgetting in her
drowsiness to fasten the outer door, or yet to extinguish the lamp
which burned upon the sideboard.
At the delightful country seat of Arthur Carrollton Madam Conway had
passed many pleasant days, and was fully intending to while away
several more, when an unexpected summons from his father made it
necessary for the young man to go immediately to London; and, as an
American steamer was about to leave the port of Liverpool, Madam
Conway determined to start for home at once. Accordingly, she wrote
for Anna Jeffrey, whom she had promised to take with her, to meet her
in Liverpool, and a few days previous to the arrival of George Douglas
and Henry Warner at Hillsdale, the two ladies embarked with an endless
variety of luggage, to say nothing of Miss Anna's guitar-case,
bird-cage, and favorite lap-dog "Lottie."
Once fairly on the sea, Madam Conway became exceedingly impatient and
disagreeable, complaining both of fare and speed, and at length came
on deck one morning with the firm belief that something dreadful had
happened to Maggie! She was dangerously sick, she knew, for never but
once before had she been visited with a like presentiment, and that
was just before her daughter died. Then it came to her just as this
had done, in her sleep, and very nervously the lady paced the vessel's
deck, counting the days as they passed, and almost weeping for joy
when told Boston was in sight. Immediately after landing she made
inquiries as to when the next train passing Hillsdale station would
leave the city, and though it was midnight she resolved at all hazards
to go on, for if Maggie were really ill there was no time to be lost!
Accordingly, when at four o'clock A.M. Maggie, who was partially
awake, heard in the distance the shrill scream of the engine, as the
night express thundered through the town, she little dreamed of the
boxes, bundles, trunks, and bags which lined the platform of Hillsdale
station, nor yet of the resolute woman in brown who persevered until a
rude one-horse wagon was found in which to transport herself and her
baggage to the old stone house. The driver of the vehicle, in which,
under ordinary circumstances, Madam Conway would have scorned to
ride, was a long, lean, half-witted fellow, utterly unfitted for his
business. Still, he managed quite well until they turned into the
grassy by-road, and Madam Conway saw through the darkness the light
which Maggie had inadvertently left within the dining room!
There was no longer a shadow of uncertainty. "Margaret was dead!"
and the lank Tim was ordered to drive faster, or the excited woman,
perched on one of her traveling-trunks, would be obliged to foot it! A
few vigorous strokes of the whip set the sorrel horse into a canter,
and as the night was dark, and the road wound round among the trees,
it is not at all surprising that Madam Conway, with her eye still on
the beacon light, found herself seated rather unceremoniously in the
midst of a brush heap, her goods and chattels rolling promiscuously
around her, while lying across a log, her right hand clutching at the
bird-cage, and her left grasping the shaggy hide of Lottie, who yelled
most furiously, was Anna Jeffrey, half blinded with mud, and bitterly
denouncing American drivers and Yankee roads! To gather themselves
together was not an easy matter, but the ten pieces were at last all
told, and then, holding up her skirts, bedraggled with dew, Madam
Conway resumed her seat in the wagon, which was this time driven in
safety to her door. Giving orders for her numerous boxes to be safely
bestowed, she hastened forward and soon stood upon the threshold.
"Great Heaven!" she exclaimed, starting backward so suddenly that she
trod upon the foot of Lottie, who again sent forth an outcry, which
Anna Jeffrey managed to choke down. "Is this bedlam, or what?" And
stepping out upon the piazza, she looked to see if the blundering
driver had made a mistake. But no; it was the same old gray stone
house she had left some months before; and again pressing boldly
forward, she took the lamp from the sideboard and commenced to
reconnoiter. "My mother's wedding dress, as I live! and her scarlet
broadcloth, too!" she cried, holding to view the garments which
Henry Warner had thrown upon the arm of the long settee. A turban or
cushion, which she recognized as belonging to her grandmother, next
caught her view, together with the smallclothes of her sire.
"The entire contents of the oaken chest," she continued, in a tone far
from calm and cool. "What can have happened! It's some of that crazy
Hagar's work, I know. I'll have her put in the--" But whatever the
evil was which threatened Hagar Warren it was not defined by words,
for at that moment the indignant lady caught sight of an empty bottle,
which she instantly recognized as having held her very oldest,
choicest wine. "The Lord help me!" she cried, "I've been robbed;" and
grasping the bottle by the neck, she leaned up against the banner
which she had not yet descried.
"In the name of wonder, what's this?" she almost screamed, as the full
blaze of the lamp fell upon the flag, revealing the truth at once, and
partially stopping her breath.
Robbery was nothing to insult; and, forgetting the wine, she gasped:
"'Stars and Stripes' in this house! In the house of my grandfather,
as loyal a subject as King George ever boasted! What can Margaret be
doing to suffer a thing like this?"
A few steps further on, and Margaret herself might have been seen
peering out into the darkened upper hall, and listening anxiously
to her grandmother's voice. The sound of the rattling old wagon had
aroused her, and, curious to know who was stirring at this early hour,
she had cautiously opened her window, which overlooked the piazza, and
to her great dismay had recognized her grandmother as she gave orders
concerning her baggage. Flying back to her room, she awoke her sister,
who, springing up in bed, whispered faintly: "Will she kill us dead,
Maggie? Will she kill us dead?"
"Pshaw! no," answered Maggie, her own courage rising with Theo's
fears. "She'll have to scold a spell, I suppose; but I can coax her, I
By this time the old lady was ascending the stairs, and closing the
door Maggie applied her eye to the keyhole, listening breathlessly for
what might follow. George Douglas and Henry Warner occupied separate
rooms, and their boots were now standing outside their doors, ready
for the chore boy, Jim, who thus earned a quarter every day. Stumbling
first upon the pair belonging to George Douglas, the lady took them
up, ejaculating: "Boots! boots! Yes, men's boots, as I'm a living
woman! The like was never seen by me before in this hall. Another
pair!" she continued, as her eye fell on those of Henry Warner.
"Another pair, and in the best chamber, too! What will come next?" And
setting down her light, she wiped the drops of perspiration from her
face, at the same time looking around in some alarm lest the owners of
said boots should come forth.
Just at that moment Mrs. Jeffrey appeared. Alarmed by the unusual
noise, and fancying the young gentlemen might be robbing the house as
a farewell performance, she had donned a calico wrapper, and tying a
black silk handkerchief over her cap, had taken her scissors, the only
weapon of defense she could find, and thus equipped for battle she had
sallied forth. She was prepared for burglars--nay, she would not
have been disappointed had she found the young men busily engaged in
removing the ponderous furniture from their rooms; but the sight of
Madam Conway, at that unseasonable hour, was wholly unexpected, and in
her fright she dropped the lamp which she had lighted in place of her
candle, and which was broken in fragments, deluging the carpet with
oil and eliciting a fresh groan from Madam Conway.
"Jeffrey, Jeffrey!" she gasped; "what have you done?"
"Great goodness!" ejaculated Mrs. Jeffrey, remembering her adventure
when once before she left her room in the night. "I certainly am the
most unfortunate of mortals. Catch me out of bed again, let what will
happen;" and turning, she was about to leave the hall, when Madam
Conway, anxious to know what had been done, called her back, saying
rather indignantly, "I'd like to know whose house I am in?"
"A body would suppose 'twas Miss Margaret's, the way she's conducted,"
answered Mrs. Jeffrey; and Madam Conway continued, pointing to the
boots: "Who have we here? These are not Margaret's, surely?"
"No, ma'am, they belong to the young men who have turned the house
topsy-turvy with their tableaux, their Revolution celebration, their
banner, and carousing generally," said Mrs. Jeffrey, rather pleased
than otherwise at being the first to tell the news.
"Young men!" repeated Madam Conway--"what young men? Where did they
come from, and why are they here?"
"They are Douglas and Warner," said Mrs. Jeffrey, "two as big
scapegraces as there are this side of Old Bailey--that's what they
are. They came from Worcester, and if I've any discernment they are
after your girls, and your girls are after them."
"After my girls! After Maggie! It can't be possible!" gasped Mrs.
Conway, thinking of Arthur Carrollton.
"It's the very truth, though," returned Mrs. Jeffrey. "Henry Warner,
who, in my opinion, is the worst of the two, got to chasing Margaret
in the woods, as long ago as last April. She jumped Gritty across the
gorge, and he, like a fool, jumped after, breaking his leg--"
"Pity it hadn't been his neck," interrupted Madam Conway; and Mrs.
Jeffrey continued: "Of course he was brought here, and Margaret took
care of him. After a while his comrade Douglas came out, and of all
the carousals you ever thought of, I reckon they had the worst. 'Twas
the Fourth of July, and if you'll believe it they made a banner, and
Maggie planted it herself on the housetop. They went off next morning;
but now they've come again, and last night the row beat all. I never
got a wink of sleep till after two o'clock."
Here, entirely out of breath, the old lady paused, and, going to her
room, brought out a basin of water and a towel, with which she tried
to wipe off the oil. But Madam Conway paid little heed to the spoiled
carpet, so engrossed was she with what she had heard.
"I am astonished at Margaret's want of discretion," said she, "and I
depended so much upon her, too."
"I always knew you were deceived by her," said Mrs. Jeffrey, still
bending over the oil; "but it wasn't for me to say so, for you are
blinded towards that girl. She's got some of the queerest notions, and
then she's so high-strung. She won't listen to reason. But I did my
country good service once. I went up in the dead of night to take down
the flag, and I don't regret it either, even if it did pitch me to the
bottom of the stairs, and sprained my ankle."
"Served you right," interposed Madam Conway, who, not at all pleased
at hearing Margaret thus censured, now turned the full force of her
wrath upon the poor little governess, blaming her for having suffered
such proceedings. "What did Margaret and Theo know, young things as
they were? and what was Mrs. Jeffrey there for if not to keep them
circumspect! But instead of doing this, she had undoubtedly encouraged
them in their folly, and then charged it upon Margaret."
It was in vain that the greatly distressed and astonished lady
protested her innocence, pleading her sleepless nights and lame ankle
as proofs of having done her duty; Madam Conway would not listen.
"Somebody was of course to blame," and as it is a long-established
rule that a part of every teacher's duty is to be responsible for the
faults of the pupils, so Madam Conway now continued to chide Mrs.
Jeffrey as the prime-mover of everything, until that lady, overwhelmed
with the sense of injustice done her, left the oil and retired to her
room, saying as she closed the door: "I was never so injured in all my
life--never. To think that after all my trouble she should charge it
to me! It will break my heart, I know. Where shall I go for comfort or
This last word was opportune and suggestive. If rest could not be
found in Baxter's "Saints' Rest," it was not by her to be found at
all; and, sitting down by the window in the gray dawn of the morning,
she strove to draw comfort from the words of the good divine; but in
vain. It had never failed her before; but never before had she been so
deeply injured; and, closing the volume at last, she paced the floor
in a very perturbed state of mind.
Meantime, Madam Conway had sought her granddaughter's chamber, where
Theo in her fright had taken refuge under the bed, while Maggie
feigned a deep, sound sleep. A few vigorous shakes, however, aroused
her, when, greatly to the amazement of her grandmother, she burst into
a merry laugh, and, winding her arms around the highly scandalized
lady's neck, said: "Forgive me, grandma, I've been awake ever since
you came home. I did not mean to leave the dining room in such
disorder, but I was so tired, and we had such fun! Hear me out," she
continued, laying her hand over the mouth of her grandmother, who
attempted to speak; "Mrs. Jeffrey told you how Mr. Warner broke his
leg, and was brought here. He is a real nice young man, and so is Mr.
Douglas, who came out to see him. They are partners in the firm of
Douglas & Co., Worcester."
"Henry Warner is nothing but the Co., though; Mr. Douglas owns the
store, and is worth two hundred thousand dollars!" cried a smothered
voice under the bed; and Theo emerged into view, with a feather or
two ornamenting her hair, and herself looking a little uneasy and
The two hundred thousand dollars produced a magical effect upon the
old lady, exonerating George Douglas at once from all blame. But
towards Henry Warner she was not thus lenient; for, coward-like, Theo
charged him with having suggested everything, even to the cutting up
of the ancestral red coat for Freedom's banner!
"What!" fairly screamed Madam Conway, who in her hasty glance at the
flag had not observed the material; "not taken my grandfather's coat
for a banner!"
"Yes, he did," said Theo, "and Maggie cut up your blue satin bodice
for stars, and took one of your fine linen sheets for the foundation."
"The wretch!" exclaimed Madam Conway, stamping her foot in her wrath,
and thinking only of Henry Warner; "I'll turn him from my door
instantly. My blue satin bodice, indeed!"
"'Twas I, grandma--'twas I," interrupted Maggie, looking reproachfully
at Theo. "'Twas I who cut up the bodice. I who brought down the
"And I didn't do a thing but look on," said Theo. "I knew you'd be
angry, and I tried to make Maggie behave, but she wouldn't."
"I don't know as it is anything to you what Maggie does, and I think
it would look quite as well in you to take part of the blame yourself,
instead of putting it all upon your sister," was Madam Conway's reply;
and, feeling almost as deeply injured as Mrs. Jeffrey herself, Theo
began to cry, while Maggie, with a few masterly strokes, succeeded
in so far appeasing the anger of her grandmother that the good lady
consented for the young gentlemen to stay to breakfast, saying,
though, that "they should decamp immediately after, and never darken
her doors again."
"But Mr. Douglas is rich," sobbed Theo from behind her pocket
handkerchief--"immensely rich, and of a very aristocratic family, I'm
sure, else where did he get his money?"
This remark was timely, and when fifteen minutes later Madam Conway
was presented to the gentlemen in the hall her manner was far more
gracious towards George Douglas than it was towards Henry Warner, to
whom she merely nodded, deigning no answer whatever to his polite
apology for having made himself so much at home in her house. The
expression of his mouth was as usual against him, and, fancying he
intended adding insult to injury by laughing in her face, she coolly
turned her back upon him ere he had finished speaking, and walked
downstairs, leaving him to wind up his speech with "an old
By this time both the sun and the servants had arisen, the former
shining into the disorderly dining room, and disclosing to the latter
the weary, jaded Anna, who, while Madam Conway was exploring the
house, had thrown herself upon the lounge and had fallen asleep.
"Who is she, and where did she come from?" was anxiously inquired,
and they were about going in quest of Margaret when their mistress
appeared suddenly in their midst, and their noisy demonstrations of
joyful surprise awoke the sleeping girl, who, rubbing her red eyelids,
asked for her aunt, and why she did not come to meet her.
"She has been a little excited, and forgot you, perhaps," answered
Madam Conway, at the same time bidding one of the servants to show the
young lady to Mrs. Jeffrey's room.
The good lady had recovered her composure somewhat, and was just
wondering why her niece had not come with Madam Conway, as had
been arranged, when Anna appeared, and in her delight at once more
beholding a child of her only sister, and her husband's brother, she
forgot in a measure how injured she had felt. Ere long the breakfast
bell rang; but Anna declared herself too weary to go down, and as Mrs.
Jeffrey felt that she could not yet meet Madam Conway face to face,
they both remained in their room, Anna again falling away to sleep,
while her aunt, grown more calm, sought, and this time found, comfort
in her favorite volume. Very cool, indeed, was that breakfast,
partaken in almost unbroken silence below. The toast was cold, the
steak was cold, the coffee was cold, and frosty as an icicle was the
lady who sat where the merry Maggie had heretofore presided. Scarcely
a word was spoken by anyone; but in the laughing eyes of Maggie there
was a world of fun, to which the mischievous mouth of Henry Warner
responded by a curl exceedingly annoying to his stately hostess, who,
in passing him his coffee, turned her head in another direction lest
she should be too civil!
Breakfast being over, George Douglas, who began to understand Madam
Conway tolerably well, asked of her a private interview, which was
granted, when he conciliated her first by apologizing for anything
ungentlemanly he might have done in her house, and startled her next
by asking for Theo as his wife.
"You can," said he, "easily ascertain my character and standing in
Worcester, where for the last ten years I have been known first as
clerk, then as junior partner, and finally as proprietor of the large
establishment which I now conduct."
Madam Conway was at first too astonished to speak. Had it been Maggie
for whom he asked, the matter would have been decided at once,
for Maggie was her pet, her pride, the intended bride of Arthur
Carrollton; but Theo was a different creature altogether, and
though the Conway blood flowing in her veins entitled her to much
consideration, she was neither showy nor brilliant, and if she could
marry two hundred thousand dollars, even though it were American coin,
she would perhaps be doing quite as well as could be expected. So
Madam Conway replied at last that she would consider the matter,
and if she found that Theo's feelings were fully enlisted she would
perhaps return a favorable answer. "I know the firm of Douglas & Co.
by reputation," said she, "and I know it to be a wealthy firm; but
with me family is quite as important as money."
"My family, madam, are certainly respectable," interrupted George
Douglas, a deep flush overspreading his face.
He was indignant at her presuming to question his respectability,
Madam Conway thought, and so she hastened to appease him by saying:
"Certainly, I have no doubt of it. There are marks by which I can
George Douglas bowed low to the far-seeing lady, while a train of
thought, not altogether complimentary to her discernment in this case,
passed through his mind.
Not thus lenient would Madam Conway have been towards Henry Warner had
he presumed to ask her that morning for Maggie, but he knew better
than to broach the subject then. He would write her, he said,
immediately after his return to Worcester, and in the meantime Maggie,
if she saw proper, was to prepare her grandmother for it by herself
announcing the engagement. This, and much more, he said to Maggie as
they sat together in the library, so much absorbed in each other as
not to observe the approach of Madam Conway, who entered the door just
in time to see Henry Warner with his arm around Maggie's waist. She
was a woman of bitter prejudices, and had conceived a violent dislike
for Henry, not only on account of the "Stars and Stripes," but because
she read to a certain extent the true state of affairs. Her suspicions
were now confirmed, and rapidly crossing the floor she confronted him,
saying, "Let my granddaughter alone, young man, both now and forever."
Something of Hagar's fiery spirit flashed from Maggie's dark eyes, but
forcing down her anger she answered half earnestly, half playfully, "I
am nearly old enough, grandma, to decide that matter for myself."
A fierce expression of scorn passed over Madam Conway's face, and
harsh words might have ensued had not the carriage at that moment been
announced. Wringing Maggie's hand, Henry arose and left the room,
followed by the indignant lady, who would willingly have suffered him
to walk; but thinking two hundred thousand dollars quite too much
money to go on foot, she had ordered her carriage, and both the senior
and junior partner of Douglas & Co. Were ere long riding a second time
away from the old house by the mill.
THE WATERS ARE TROUBLED.
"Grandma wishes to see you, Maggie, in her room," said Theo to her
sister one morning, three days after the departure of their guests.
"Wishes to see me! For what?" asked Maggie; and Theo answered, "I
don't know, unless it is to talk with you about Arthur Carrollton."
"Arthur Carrollton!" repeated Maggie. "Much good it will do her to
talk to me of him. I hate the very sound of his name;" and, rising,
she walked slowly to her grandmother's room, where in her stiff brown
satin dress, her golden spectacles planted firmly upon her nose, and
the Valenciennes border of her cap shading but not concealing the
determined look on her face, Madam Conway sat erect in her high-backed
chair, with an open letter upon her lap.
It was from Henry. Maggie knew his handwriting in a moment, and there
was another too for her; but she was too proud to ask for it, and,
seating herself by the window, she waited for her grandmother to break
the silence, which she did ere long as follows:
"I have just received a letter from that Warner, asking me to sanction
an engagement which he says exists between himself and you. Is it
true? Are you engaged to him?"
"I am," answered Maggie, playing nervously with the tassel of her
wrapper, and wondering why Henry had written so soon, before she had
prepared the way by a little judicious coaxing.
"Well, then," continued Madam Conway, "the sooner it is broken the
better. I am astonished that you should stoop to such an act, and I
hope you are not in earnest."
"But I am," answered Maggie; and in the same cold, decided manner her
grandmother continued: "Then nothing remains for me but to forbid your
having any communication whatever with one whose conduct in my house
has been so unpardonably rude and vulgar. You will never marry him,
Margaret, never! Nay, I would sooner see you dead than the wife of
that low, mean, impertinent fellow!"
In the large dark eyes there was a gleam decidedly "Hagarish" as
Maggie arose, and, standing before her grandmother, made answer: "You
must not, in my presence, speak thus of Henry Warner. He is neither
low, mean, vulgar, nor impertinent. You are prejudiced against him
because you think him comparatively poor, and because he has dared
to look at me, who have yet to understand why the fact of my being a
Conway makes me any better. I have promised to be Henry Warner's wife,
and Margaret Miller never yet has broken her word."
"But in this instance you will," said Madam Conway, now thoroughly
aroused. "I will never suffer it; and to prove I am in earnest I will
here, before your face, burn the letter he has presumed to send you;
and this I will do to any others which may come to you from him."
Maggie offered no remonstrance; but the fire of a volcano burned
within, as she watched the letter blackening upon the coals; and when
next her eyes met those of her grandmother there was in them a fierce,
determined look which prompted that lady at once to change her tactics
and try the power of persuasion rather than of force. Feigning a
smile, she said: "What ails you, child? You look to me like Hagar. It
was wrong in me, perhaps, to burn your letter, and had I reflected a
moment I might not have done it; but I cannot suffer you to receive
any more. I have other prospects in view for you, and have only waited
a favorable opportunity to tell you what they are. Sit down by me,
Margaret, while I talk with you on the subject."
The burning of her letter had affected Margaret strangely, and with a
benumbed feeling at her heart she sat down without a word and listened
patiently to praises long and praises loud of Arthur Carrollton, who
was described as being every way desirable, both as a friend and a
husband. "His father, the elder Mr. Carrollton, was an intimate friend
of my husband," said Madam Conway, "and wishes our families to be more
closely united, by a marriage between you and his son Arthur, who is
rather fastidious in his taste, and though twenty-eight years old has
never yet seen a face which suited him. But he is pleased with you,
Maggie. He liked your picture, imperfect as it is, and he liked the
tone of your letters, which I read to him. They were so original,
he said, so much like what he fancied you to be. He has a splendid
country seat, and more than one nobleman's daughter would gladly share
it with him; but I think he fancies you. He has a large estate near
Montreal, and some difficulty connected with it will ere long bring
him to America. Of course he will visit here, and with a little tact
on your part you can, I'm sure, secure one of the best matches in
England. He is fine-looking, too. I have his daguerreotype;" and
opening her workbox she drew it forth and held it before Maggie, who
resolutely shut her eyes lest she should see the face of one she was
so determined to dislike.
"What do you think of him?" asked Madam Conway as her arm began to
ache, and Maggie had not yet spoken.
"I haven't looked at him," answered Maggie; "I hate him, and if he
comes here after me I'll tell him so, too. I hate him because he is
an Englishman. I hate him because he is aristocratic. I hate him for
everything, and before I marry him I'll run away!"
Here, wholly overcome, Maggie burst into tears, and precipitately left
the room. An hour later, and Hagar, sitting by her fire, which the
coolness of the day rendered necessary, was startled by the abrupt
entrance of Maggie, who, throwing herself upon the floor, and burying
her face in the old woman's lap, sobbed bitterly.
"What is it, child? What is it, darling?" asked Hagar; and in a
few words Maggie explained the whole. "I am persecuted, dreadfully
persecuted! Nobody before ever had so much trouble as I. Grandma
has burned a letter from Henry Warner, and would not give it to me.
Grandma said, too, I should never marry him, should never write to
him, nor see anything he might send to me. Oh, Hagar, Hagar, isn't
it cruel?" and the eyes, whose wrathful, defiant expression was now
quenched in tears, looked up in Hagar's face for sympathy.
The right chord was touched, and much as Hagar might have disliked
Henry Warner she was his fast friend now. Her mistress' opposition and
Maggie's tears had wrought a change, and henceforth all her energies
should be given to the advancement of the young couple's cause.
"I can manage it," she said, smoothing the long silken tresses which
lay in disorder upon her lap. "Richland post office is only four miles
from here; I can walk double that distance easy. Your grandmother
never thinks of going there, neither am I known to anyone in that
neighborhood. Write your letter to Henry Warner, and before the sun
goes down it shall be safe in the letter-box. He can write to the
same place, but he had better direct to me, as your name might excite
This plan seemed perfectly feasible; but it struck Maggie
unpleasantly. She had never attempted to deceive in her life, and she
shrunk from the first deception. She would rather, she said, try again
to win her grandmother's consent. But this she found impossible; Madam
Conway was determined, and would not listen.
"It grieves me sorely," she said, "thus to cross my favorite child,
whom I love better than my life; but it is for her good, and must be
So she wrote a cold and rather insulting letter to Henry Warner,
bidding him, as she had done before, "let her granddaughter alone,"
and saying it was useless for him to attempt anything secret, for
Maggie would be closely watched, the moment there were indications of
a clandestine correspondence.
This letter, which was read to Margaret, destroyed all hope, and
still she wavered, uncertain whether it would be right to deceive her
grandmother. But while she was yet undecided, Hagar's fingers, of late
unused to the pen, traced a few lines to Henry Warner, who, acting at
once upon her suggestion, wrote to Margaret a letter which he directed
to "Hagar Warren, Richland."
In it he urged so many reasons why Maggie should avail herself of this
opportunity for communicating with him that she yielded at last, and
regularly each week old Hagar toiled through sunshine and through
storm to the Richland post office, feeling amply repaid for her
trouble when she saw the bright expectant face which almost always
greeted her return. Occasionally, by way of lulling the suspicions of
Madam Conway, Henry would direct a letter to Hillsdale, knowing full
well it would never meet the eyes of Margaret, over whom, for the time
being, a spy had been set, in the person of Anna Jeffrey.
This young lady, though but little connected with our story, may
perhaps deserve a brief notice. Older than either Theo or Margaret,
she was neither remarkable for beauty nor talent. Dark-haired,
dark-eyed, dark-browed, and, as the servants said, "dark in her
disposition," she was naturally envious of those whose rank in life
entitled them to more attention than she was herself accustomed to
receive. For this reason Maggie Miller had from the first been to her
an object of dislike, and she was well pleased when Madam Conway,
enjoining the strictest secrecy, appointed her to watch that young
lady, and see that no letter was ever carried by her to the post
office which Madam Conway had not first examined. In the snaky eyes
there was a look of exultation as Anna Jeffrey promised to be faithful
to her trust, and for a time she became literally Maggie Miller's
shadow, following her here, following her there, and following her
everywhere, until Maggie complained so bitterly of the annoyance that
Madam Conway at last, feeling tolerably sure that no counterplot was
intended, revoked her orders, and bade Anna Jeffrey leave Margaret
free to do as she pleased.
Thus relieved from espionage, Maggie became a little more like
herself, though a sense of the injustice done her by her grandmother,
together with the deception she knew she was practicing, wore upon
her; and the servants at their work listened in vain for the merry
laugh they had loved so well to hear. In the present state of
Margaret's feelings Madam Conway deemed it prudent to say nothing of
Arthur Carrollton, whose name was never mentioned save by Theo and
Anna, the latter of whom had seen him in England, and was never so
well pleased as when talking of his fine country seat, his splendid
park, his handsome horses, and last, though not least, of himself. "He
is," she said, "without exception, the most elegant and aristocratic
young man I have ever seen;" and then for more than an hour she would
entertain Theo with a repetition of the many agreeable things he had
said to her during the one day she had spent at his house while Madam
Conway was visiting there.
In perfect indifference, Maggie, who was frequently present, would
listen to these stories, sometimes listlessly turning the leaves of a
book, and again smiling scornfully as she thought how impossible it
was that the fastidious Arthur Carrolton should have been at all
pleased with a girl like Anna Jeffrey; and positive as Maggie was that
she hated him, she insensibly began to feel a very slight degree of
interest in him; at least, she would like to know how he looked; and
one day when her grandmother and Theo were riding she stole cautiously
to the box where she knew his picture lay, and, taking it out, looked
to see if he were so very fine-looking.
Yes, he was,--Maggie acknowledged that; and, sure that she hated
him terribly, she lingered long over that picture, admiring the
classically shaped head, the finely cut mouth, and more than all the
large dark eyes which seemed so full of goodness and truth. "Pshaw!"
she exclaimed at last, restoring the picture to its place; "if Henry
were only a little taller, and had as handsome eyes, he'd be a great
deal better-looking. Anyway, I like him, and I hate Arthur Carrollton,
who I know is domineering, and would try to make me mind. He has asked
for my daguerreotype, grandma says--one which looks as I do now. I'll
send it too," and she burst into a loud laugh at the novel idea which
had crossed her mind.
That day when Madam Conway returned from her ride she was surprised at
Maggie's proposing that Theo and herself should have their likenesses
taken for Arthur Carrollton.
"If he wants my picture," said she, "I am willing he shall have it. It
is all he'll ever get."
Delighted at this unexpected concession, Madam Conway gave her
consent, and the next afternoon found Theo and Maggie at the
daguerrean gallery in Hillsdale, where the latter astonished both her
sister and the artist by declaring her intention of not only sitting
with her bonnet and shawl on; but also of turning her back to the
instrument! It was in vain that Theo remonstrated! "That position or
none," she said; and the picture was accordingly taken, presenting
a very correct likeness, when finished, of a bonnet, a veil, and a
shawl, beneath which Maggie Miller was supposed to be.
Strange as it may seem, this freak struck Madam Conway favorably.
Arthur Carrollton knew that Maggie was unlike any other person, and
the joke, she thought, would increase, rather than diminish, the
interest he already felt in her. So she made no objection, and in a
few days it was on its way to England, together with a lock of Hagar's
snow-white hair, which Maggie had coaxed from the old lady, and,
unknown to her grandmother, placed in the casing at the last moment.
Several weeks passed away, and then there came an answer--a letter so
full of wit and humor that Maggie confessed to herself that he must
be very clever to write so many shrewd things and to be withal so
perfectly refined. Accompanying the package was a small rosewood box,
containing a most exquisite little pin made of Hagar's frosty hair,
and richly ornamented with gold. Not a word was written concerning
it, and as Maggie kept her own counsel, both Theo and her grandmother
marveled greatly, admiring its beauty and wondering for whom it was
"For me, of course," said Madam Conway. "The hair is Lady
Carrollton's, Arthur's grandmother. I know it by its soft, silky look.
She has sent it as a token of respect, for she was always fond of me;"
and going to the glass she very complacently ornamented her Honiton
collar with Hagar's hair, while Maggie, bursting with fun, beat a
hasty retreat from the room, lest she should betray herself.
Thus the winter passed away, and early in the spring George Douglas,
to whom Madam Conway had long ago sent a favorable answer, came to
visit his betrothed, bringing to Maggie a note from Rose, who had once
or twice sent messages in Henry's letters. She was in Worcester now,
and her health was very delicate. "Sometimes," she wrote, "I fear
I shall never see you, Maggie Miller--shall never look into your
beautiful face, or listen to your voice; but whether in heaven or on
earth I am first to meet with you, my heart claims you as a sister,
the one whom of all the sisters in the world I would rather call my
"Darling Rose!" murmured Maggie, pressing the delicately traced lines
to her lips, "how near she seems to me! nearer almost than Theo;" and
then involuntarily her thoughts went backward to the night when Henry
Warner first told her of his love, and when in her dreams there had
been a strange blending together of herself, of Rose, and the little
grave beneath the pine!
But not yet was that veil of mystery to be lifted. Hagar's secret must
be kept a little longer; and, unsuspicious of the truth, Maggie Miller
must dream on of sweet Rose Warner, whom she hopes one day to call her
There was also a message from Henry, and this George Douglas delivered
in secret, for he did not care to displease his grandmother-elect, who
viewing him through a golden setting, thought he was not to be equaled
by anyone in America. "So gentlemanly," she said, "and so modest too,"
basing her last conclusion upon his evident unwillingness to say
very much of himself or his family. Concerning the latter she had
questioned him in vain, eliciting nothing save the fact that they
lived in the country several miles from Worcester, and that his father
always stayed at home, and consequently his mother went but little
"Despises the vulgar herd, I dare say," thought Madam Conway,
contemplating the pleasure she should undoubtedly derive from an
acquaintance with Mrs. Douglas, senior!
"There was a sister, too," he said, and at this announcement Theo
opened wide her blue eyes, asking her name, and why he had never
mentioned her before.
"I call her Jenny," said he, coloring slightly, and adding playfully,
as he caressed Theo's smooth, round cheek, "Wives do not usually like
their husbands' sisters."
"But I shall like her, I know," said Theo. "She has a beautiful name,
Jenny Douglas--much prettier than Rose Warner, about whom Maggie talks
to me so much."
A gathering frown on her grandmother's face warned Theo that she had
touched upon a forbidden subject, and as Mr. Douglas manifested no
desire to continue the conversation it ceased for a time, Theo wishing
she could see Jenny Douglas, and George wondering what she would say
when she did see her!
For a few days longer he lingered, and ere his return it was arranged
that early in July Theo should be his bride. On the morning of his
departure, as he stood upon the steps alone with Madam Conway, she
said, "I think I can rely upon you, Mr. Douglas, not to carry either
letter, note, or message from Maggie to that young Warner. I've
forbidden him in my house, and I mean what I say."
"I assure you, madam, she has not asked me to carry either,"
answered George; who, though he knew perfectly well of the secret
correspondence, had kept it to himself. "You mistake Mr. Warner, I
think," he continued, after a moment. "I have known him long, and
esteem him highly."
"Tastes differ," returned Madam Conway coldly. "No man of good
breeding would presume to cut up my grandfather's coat or drink up my
"He intended no disrespect, I'm sure," answered George. "He only
wanted a little fun with the 'Stars and Stripes.'"
"It was fun for which he will pay most dearly, though," answered Madam
Conway, as she bade Mr. Douglas good-by; then, walking back to the
parlor, she continued speaking to herself: "'Stars and Stripes'!
I'll teach him to cut up my blue bodice for fun. I wouldn't give him
Margaret if his life depended upon it;" and sitting down she wrote to
Arthur Carrollton, asking if he really intended visiting America, and
During the remainder of the spring matters at the old stone house
proceeded about as usual, Maggie writing regularly to Henry, who as
regularly answered, while old Hagar managed it so adroitly that no one
suspected the secret correspondence, and Madam Conway began to hope
her granddaughter had forgotten the foolish fancy. Arthur Carrollton
had replied that his visit to America, though sure to take place, was
postponed indefinitely, and so the good lady had nothing in particular
with which to busy herself, save the preparations for Theo's wedding,
which was to take place near the first of July.
Though setting a high value upon money, Madam Conway was not
penurious, and the bridal trousseau far exceeded anything which Theo
had expected. As the young couple were not to keep house for a time, a
most elegant suite of rooms had been selected in a fashionable hotel;
and determining that Theo should not, in point of dress, be rivaled by
any of her fellow-boarders, Madam Conway spared neither time nor
money in making the outfit perfect. So for weeks the old stone house
presented a scene of great confusion. Chairs, tables, lounges,
and piano were piled with finery, on which Anna Jeffrey worked
industriously, assisted sometimes by her aunt, whom Madam Conway
pronounced altogether too superannuated for a governess, and who,
though really an excellent scholar, was herself far better pleased
with muslin robes and satin bows than with French idioms and Latin
verbs. Perfectly delighted, Maggie joined in the general excitement,
wondering occasionally when and where her own bridal would be. Once
she ventured to ask if Henry Warner and his sister might be invited to
Theo's wedding; but Madam Conway answered so decidedly in the negative
that she gave it up, consoling herself with thinking that she would
some time visit her sister, and see Henry in spite of her grandmother.
The marriage was very quiet, for Madam Conway had no acquaintance, and
the family alone witnessed the ceremony. At first Madam Conway had
hoped that Mr. and Mrs. Douglas, senior, together with their daughter
Jenny, would be present, and she had accordingly requested George to
invite them, feeling greatly disappointed when she learned that they
could not come.
"I wanted so much to see them," she said to Maggie, "and know whether
they are worthy to be related to the Conways--but of course they are,
as much so as any American family. George has every appearance of
refinement and high-breeding."
"But his family, for all that, may be as ignorant as Farmer
Canfield's," answered Maggie; to which her grandmother replied: "You
needn't tell me that, for I'm not to be deceived in such matters. I
can tell at a glance if a person is low-born, no matter what their
education or advantages may have been. Who's that?" she added quickly,
and turning round she saw old Hagar, her eyes lighted up and her lips
moving with incoherent sounds.
Hagar had come up to the wedding, and had reached the door of Madam
Conway's room just in time to hear the last remark, which roused her
"Why don't she discover my secret, then," she muttered, "if she has so
much discernment? Why don't she see the Hagar blood in her? for it's
there, plain as day;" and she glanced proudly at Maggie, who, in her
simple robe of white, was far more beautiful than the bride.
And still Theo, in her handsome traveling dress, was very fair to look
upon, and George Douglas felt proud that she was his, resolving, as he
kissed away the tears she shed at parting, that the vow he had just
made should never be broken. A few weeks of pleasant travel westward,
and then the newly wedded pair came back to what, for a time, was to
be their home.
George Douglas was highly respected in Worcester, both as a man of
honor and a man of wealth; consequently, every possible attention was
paid to Theo, who was petted and admired, until she began to wonder
why neither Maggie nor yet her all-discerning grandmother had
discovered how charming and faultless she was!
Among George's acquaintance was a Mrs. Morton, a dashing, fashionable
woman, who determined to honor the bride with a party, to which all
the elite of Worcester were invited, together with many Bostonians.
Madam Conway and Maggie were of course upon the list; and, as timely
notice was given them by Theo, Madam Conway went twice to Springfield
in quest of a suitable dress for Maggie. She wanted something
becoming, she said; and a delicate rose-colored satin, with a handsome
overskirt of lace, was at last decided upon.
"She must have some pearls for her hair," thought Madam Conway; and
when next Maggie, who, girl-like, tried the effect of her first party
dress at least a dozen times, stood before the glass to see if it were
exactly the right length, she was presented with the pearls, which
Anna Jeffrey, with a feeling of envy at her heart, arranged in the
shining braids of her hair.
"Oh, isn't it perfectly splendid!" cried Maggie, herself half inclined
to compliment the beautiful image reflected in the mirror.
"You ought to see Arthur Carrollton's sister when she is dressed, if
you think you look handsome," answered Anna, adding that diamonds were
much more fashionable than pearls.
"You have attended a great many parties and seen a great deal of
fashion, so I dare say you are right," Maggie answered ironically; and
then, as through the open window she saw Hagar approaching, she ran
out upon the _piazza_, to see what the old woman would say.
Hagar had never seen her thus before, and now, throwing up her hands
in astonishment, she involuntarily dropped upon her knees, and,
while the tears rained over her timeworn face, whispered, "Hester's
child--my granddaughter--Heaven be praised!"
"Do I look pretty?" Margaret asked; and Hagar answered: "More
beautiful than anyone I ever saw. I wish your mother could see you
Involuntarily Maggie glanced at the tall marble gleaming through
the distant trees, while Hagar's thoughts were down in that other
grave--the grave beneath the pine. The next day was the party, and
at an early hour Madam Conway was ready. Her rich purple satin and
Valenciennes laces, with which she hoped to impress Mrs. Douglas,
senior, were carefully packed up, together with Maggie's dress; and
then, shawled and bonneted, she waited impatiently for her carriage,
which she preferred to the cars. It came at last, but in place of
John, the usual coachman, Mike, a rather wild youth of twenty, was
mounted upon the box. His father, he said, had been taken suddenly
ill, and had deputized him to drive.
For a time Madam Conway hesitated, for she knew Mike's one great
failing, and she hardly dared risk herself with him, lest she should
find a seat less desirable even than the memorable brush-heap. But
Mike protested loudly to having joined the "Sons of Temperance" only
the night before, and as in his new suit of blue, with shining brass
buttons, he presented a more stylish appearance than his father, his
mistress finally decided to try him, threatening all manner of evil if
in any way he broke his pledge, either to herself or the "Sons," the
latter of whom had probably never heard of him. He was perfectly
sober now, and drove them safely to Worcester, where they soon found
themselves in Theo's handsome rooms. Her wrappings removed and herself
snugly ensconced in a velvet-cushioned chair, Madam Conway asked the
young bride how long before Mrs. Douglas, senior, would probably
A slight shadow, which no one observed, passed over Theo's face as she
answered, "George's father seldom goes into society, and consequently
his mother will not come."
"Oh, I am so sorry!" replied Madam Conway, thinking of the purple
satin, and continuing, "Nor the young lady, either?"
"None of them," answered Theo, adding hastily, as if to change the
conversation, "Isn't my piano perfectly elegant?" and she ran her
fingers over an exquisitely carved instrument, which had inscribed
upon it simply "Theo"; and then, as young brides sometimes will,
she expatiated upon the kindness and generosity of George, showing,
withal, that her love for her husband was founded upon something far
more substantial than family or wealth.
Her own happiness, it would seem, had rendered her less selfish and
more thoughtful for others; for once that afternoon, on returning to
her room after a brief absence, she whispered to Maggie that "someone
in the parlor below wished to see her."
Then seating herself at her grandmother's feet, she entertained her so
well with a description of her travels that the good lady failed to
observe the absence of Maggie, who, face to face with Henry Warner,
was making amends for their long separation. Much they talked of the
past, and then Henry spoke of the future; but of this Maggie was less
hopeful. Her grandmother would never consent to their marriage, she
knew--the "Stars and Stripes" had decided that matter, even though
there were no Arthur Carrollton across the sea, and Maggie sighed
despondingly as she thought of the long years of single-blessedness in
store for her.
"There is but one alternative left, then," said Henry. "If your
grandmother refuses her consent altogether, I must take you without
"I shan't run away," said Maggie; "I shall live an old maid, and you
must live an old bachelor, until grandma--"
She did not have time to finish the sentence ere Henry commenced
unfolding the following plan:
"It is necessary," he said, "for either myself or Mr. Douglas to go
to Cuba; and as Rose's health makes a change of climate advisable for
her, George has proposed to me to go and take my sister there for the
winter. And, Maggie," he continued, "will you go, too? We are to sail
the middle of October, stopping for a few weeks in Florida, until the
unhealthy season in Havana is passed. I will see your grandmother
to-morrow morning--will once more honorably ask her for your hand, and
if she still refuses, as you think she will, it cannot surely be wrong
in you to consult your own happiness instead of her prejudices. I will
meet you at old Hagar's cabin at the time appointed. Rose and my aunt,
who is to accompany her, will be in New York, whither we will go
immediately. A few moments more and you will be my wife, and beyond
the control of your grandmother. Do you approve my plan, Maggie,
darling? Will you go?"
Maggie could not answer him then, for an elopement was something
from which she instinctively shrunk, and with a faint hope that her
grandmother might consent she went back to her sister's room, where
she had not yet been missed. Very rapidly the remainder of the
afternoon passed away, and at an early hour, wishing to know "exactly
how she was going to look," Maggie commenced her toilet. Theo, too,
desirous of displaying her white satin as long as possible, began to
dress; while Madam Conway, in no haste to don her purple satin, which
was uncomfortably tight, amused herself by watching the passers-by,
nodding at intervals, in her chair.
While thus occupied, a perfumed note was brought to her, the contents
of which elicited from her an exclamation of surprise.
"Can it be possible!" she said; and thrusting the note into her pocket
she hastily left the room.
She was gone a long, long time; and when at last she returned, she was
evidently much excited, paying no attention whatever to Theo, who, in
her bridal robes, looked charming, but minutely inspecting Maggie, to
see if in her adornings there was aught out of its place. Her dress
was faultless, and she looked so radiantly beautiful, as she stood
before her grandmother, that the old lady kissed her fondly,
whispering, as she did so, "You are indeed beautiful!" It was a long
time ere Madam Conway commenced her own toilet, and then she proceeded
so slowly that George Douglas became impatient, and she finally
suggested that he and Theo should go without her, sending the carriage
back for herself and Maggie. To this proposition he at last yielded;
and when they were left alone Madam Conway greatly accelerated her
movements, dressing herself in a few moments, and then, much to
Maggie's surprise, going below without a word of explanation. A few
moments only elapsed ere a servant was sent to Maggie, saying that her
presence was desired at No. 40, a small private parlor adjoining the
public drawing rooms.
"What can it mean? Is it possible that Henry is there?" Maggie asked
herself, as with a beating heart she descended the stairs.
A moment more, and Maggie stood on the threshhold of No. 40. Seated
upon the sofa was Madam Conway, her purple satin seeming to have
taken a wide sweep, and her face betokening the immense degree of
satisfaction she felt in being there with the stylish, elegant-looking
stranger who stood at her side, with his deep, expressive eyes fixed
upon the door expectantly. Maggie knew him in a moment--knew it was
Arthur Carrollton; and, turning pale, she started backward, while he
advanced forward, and, offering her his hand, looked down upon her
with a winning smile, saying, as he did so: "Excuse my familiarity.
You are Maggie Miller, I am sure."
For an instant Maggie could not reply, but soon becoming composed
she received the stranger gracefully, and then taking the chair he
politely brought her she listened while her grandmother told that
he had arrived at Montreal two weeks before; that he had reached
Hillsdale that morning, an hour or two after their departure, and,
learning their destination, had followed them in the cars; that she
had taken the liberty of informing Mrs. Morton of his arrival, and
that lady had of course extended to him an invitation to be present at
"Which invitation I accept, provided Miss Maggie allows me to be her
escort," said the young man, and again his large black eyes rested
admiringly upon her.
Maggie had anticipated a long, quiet talk with Henry Warner, and,
wishing the Englishman anywhere but there, she answered coldly, "I
cannot well decline your escort, Mr. Carrollton, so of course I accept
Madam Conway bit her lip, but Mr. Carrollton, who was prepared for
anything from Maggie Miller, was not in the least displeased, and,
consulting his diamond-set watch, which pointed to nearly ten, he
asked if it were not time to go.
"Certainly," said Madam Conway. "You remain here, Maggie; I will bring
down your shawl," and she glided from the room, leaving them purposely
Maggie was a good deal astonished, slightly embarrassed, and a little
provoked, all of which Arthur Carrollton readily saw; but this did
not prevent his talking to her, and during the few minutes of Madam
Conway's absence he decided that neither Margaret's beauty, nor yet
her originality, had been overrated by her partial grandmother, while
Maggie, on her part, mentally pronounced him "the finest-looking, the
most refined, the most gentlemanly, the proudest, and the hatefulest
man she had ever seen!"
Wholly unconscious of her cogitation, he wrapped her shawl very
carefully about her, taking care to cover her white shoulders from the
night air; then offering his arm to her grandmother, he led the way to
the carriage, whither she followed him, wondering if Henry would be
jealous, and thinking her first act would be to tell him how she hated
Arthur Carrollton, and always should!
* * * * *
It was a gay, brilliant scene which Mrs. Morton's drawing room
presented; and, as yet the center of attraction, Theo, near the door,
was bowing to the many strangers who sought her acquaintance. Greatly
she marveled at the long delay of her grandmother and Maggie, and she
had just suggested to Henry that he should go in quest of them, when
she saw her sister ascending the stairs.
On a sofa across the room sat a pale young girl arrayed in white, her
silken curls falling around her neck like a golden shower, and her
mournful eyes of blue scanning eagerly each newcomer, then a look of
disappointment drooping beneath the long lashes which rested wearily
upon her colorless cheek. It was Rose Warner, and the face she sought
was Maggie Miller's. She had seen no semblance of it yet, for Henry
had no daguerreotype. Still, she felt sure she would know it, and when
at last, in all her queenly beauty, Maggie came, leaning on Arthur
Carrollton's arm, Rose's heart made ready answer to the oft-repeated
question, "Who is she?"
"Beautiful, gloriously beautiful!" she whispered softly, while from
the grave of her buried hopes there came one wild heart-throb, one
sudden burst of pain caused by the first sight of her rival, and then
Rose Warner grew calm again, and those who saw the pressure of her
hand upon her side dreamed not of the fierce pang within. She had
asked her brother not to tell Maggie she was to be there. She would
rather watch her a while, herself unknown; and now with eager, curious
eyes she followed Maggie, who was quickly surrounded by a host of
It was Maggie's first introduction into society, and yet so perfect
was her intuition of what was proper that neither by word or deed did
she do aught to shock the most fastidious. It is true her merry laugh
more than once rang out above the din of voices; but it was so joyous
that no one objected, particularly when they looked in her bright and
almost childish face. Arthur Carrollton, too, acting as her escort,
aided her materially, for it was soon whispered around that he was a
wealthy Englishman, and many were the comments made upon the handsome
couple, who seemed singularly adapted to each other. A glance had
convinced Arthur Carrollton that Maggie was by far the most beautiful
lady present, and feeling that on this her first introduction into
society she needed someone to shield her, as it were, from the many
foolish, flattering speeches which were sure to be made in her
hearing, he kept her at his side, where she was nothing loath to stay;
for, notwithstanding that she "hated" him so, there was about him a
fascination she did not try to resist.
"They are a splendid couple," thought Rose, and then she looked to see
how Henry was affected by the attentions of the handsome foreigner.
But Henry was not jealous; and, standing a little aloof, he felt more
pleasure than pain in watching Maggie as she received the homage of
the gay throng. Thoughts similar to those of Rose, however, forced
themselves upon him as he saw the dignified bearing of Mr.
Carrollton, and for the first time in his life he was conscious of an
uncomfortable feeling of inferiority to some thing or some body, he
hardly knew what. This feeling, however, passed away when Maggie came
at last to his side, with her winning smile and playful words.
Very closely Madam Conway watched her now; but Maggie did not heed it,
and leaning on Henry's arm she seemed oblivious to all save him.
After a time he led her out upon a side piazza, where they would be
comparatively alone. Observing that she seemed a little chilly, he
left her for a moment while he went in quest of her shawl. Scarcely
was he gone when a slight, fairy form came flitting through the
moonlight to where Maggie sat, and, twining its snow-white arms around
her neck, looked lovingly into her eyes, whispering soft and low, "My
"My sister!" How Maggie's blood bounded at the sound of that name,
which even the night wind, sighing through the trees, seemed to take
up and repeat. "My sister!" What was there in those words thus to
affect her? Was that fair young creature, who hung so fondly over her,
naught to her save a common stranger? Was there no tie between them,
no bond of sympathy and love? We ask this of you, our reader, and not
of Maggie Miller, for to her there came no questioning like this. She
only knew that every pulsation of her heart responded to the name of
sister, when breathed by sweet Rose Warner, and, folding her arms
about her, she pillowed the golden head upon her bosom, and, pushing
back the clustering curls, gazed long and earnestly into a face which
seemed so heavenly and pure.
Few were the words they uttered at first, for a mysterious, invisible
something prompted each to look into the other's eyes, to clasp the
other's hands, to kiss the other's lips, and lovingly to whisper the
"I have wished so much to see you, to know if you are worthy of my
noble brother," said Rose at last, thinking she must say something on
the subject uppermost in both their minds.
"And am I worthy?" asked Maggie, the bright blushes stealing over her
cheek. "Will you let me be your sister?"
"My heart would claim you for that, even though I had no brother,"
answered Rose, and again her lips touched those of Maggie.
Seeing them thus together, Henry tarried purposely a long time, and
when at last he rejoined them he proposed returning to the drawing
room, where many inquiries were making for Maggie.
"I have looked for you a long time, Miss Maggie," said Mr. Carrollton.
"I wish to hear you play;" and, taking her arm in his, he led her to
From the moment of her first introduction to him Maggie had felt that
there was something commanding in his manner, something she could not
disobey; and now, though she fancied it was impossible to play before
that multitude, she seated herself mechanically, and while the keys
swam before her eyes, went through with a difficult piece which she
had never but once before executed correctly.
"You have done well; much better than I anticipated," said Mr.
Carrollton, again offering her his arm; and though a little vexed,
those few words of commendation were worth more to Maggie than the
most flattering speech which Henry Warner had ever made to her.
Soon after leaving the piano a young man approached and invited her to
waltz. This was something in which Maggie excelled; for two winters
before Madam Conway had hired a teacher to instruct her granddaughters
in dancing, and she was about to accept the invitation, when, drawing
her arm still closer within his own, Mr. Carrollton looked down upon
her, saying softly, "I wouldn't."
Maggie had often waltzed with Henry at home. He saw no harm in it, and
now when Arthur Carrollton objected, she was provoked, while at the
same time she felt constrained to decline.
"Some time, when I know you better, I will explain to you why I do
not think it proper for young girls to waltz with everyone," said Mr.
Carrollton; and, leading her from the drawing room, he devoted himself
to her for the remainder of the evening, making himself so perfectly
agreeable that Maggie forgot everything, even Henry Warner, who in
the meantime had tried to obtain recognition from Madam Conway as an
A cool nod, however, was all the token of recognition she had to give
him. This state of feeling augured ill for the success of his suit;
but when at a late hour that night, in spite of grandmother or
Englishman, he handed Maggie to the carriage, he whispered to her
softly, "I will see her to-morrow morning, and know the worst."
The words caught the quick ear of Madam Conway; but, not wishing
Mr. Carrollton to know there was anything particular between her
granddaughter and Henry Warner, she said nothing, and when, arrived at
last at the hotel, she asked an explanation, Maggie, who hurried off
to bed, was too sleepy to give her any answer.
"I shall know before long, anyway, if he sees me in the morning," she
thought, as she heard a distant clock strike two, and settling her
face into the withering frown with which she intended to annihilate
Henry Warner, the old lady was herself ere long much faster asleep