Satisfied with the promise, which was as much as Mrs. Bird had dared to hope for, she called Charlie, then shook hands with Mr. Whately and departed.
Mrs. Stevens gains a Triumph.
The Garies had now become thoroughly settled in Philadelphia, and, amongst the people of colour, had obtained a very extensive and agreeable acquaintance.
At the South Mr. Garie had never borne the reputation of an active person. Having an ample fortune and a thoroughly Southern distaste for labour, he found it by no means inconvenient or unpleasant to have so much time at his disposal. His newspaper in the morning, a good book, a stroll upon the fashionable promenade, and a ride at dusk, enabled him to dispose of his time without being oppressed with ennui.
It was far happier for him that such was his disposition, as his domestic relations would have been the means of subjecting him to many unpleasant circumstances, from which his comparative retirement in a great measure screened him.
Once or twice since his settlement in the North his feelings had been ruffled, by the sneering remarks of some of his former friends upon the singularity of his domestic position; but his irritation had all fled before the smiles of content and happiness that beamed from the faces of his wife and children.
Mrs. Garie had nothing left to wish for; she was surrounded by every physical comfort and in the enjoyment of frequent intercourse with intelligent and refined people, and had been greatly attracted toward Esther Ellis with whom she had become very intimate.
One morning in November, these two were in the elegant little bed-room of Mrs. Garie, where a fire had been kindled, as the weather was growing very chilly and disagreeable. “It begins to look quite like autumn,” said Mrs. Garie, rising and looking out of the window. “The chrysanthemums are drooping and withered, and the dry leaves are whirling and skimming through the air. I wonder,” she continued, “if the children were well wrapped up this morning?”
“Oh, yes; I met them at the corner, on their way to school, looking as warm and rosy as possible. What beautiful children they are! Little Em has completely won my heart; it really seems a pity for her to be put on the shelf, as she must be soon.”
“How—what do you mean?” asked Mrs. Garie.
“Oh, this will explain,” archly rejoined Esther, as she held up to view one of the tiny lace trimmed frocks that she was making in anticipation of the event that has been previously hinted.
Mrs. Garie laughed, and turned to look out of the window again.
“Do you know I found little Lizzy Stevens, your neighbour’s daughter, shivering upon the steps in a neighbouring street, fairly blue with cold? She was waiting there for Clarence and Em. I endeavoured to persuade her to go on without them, but she would not. From what I could understand, she waits for them there every day.”