“Yes, she was beautiful,” murmured Maggie, gazing earnestly upon the fair, round face, the soft, black eyes, and raven hair of her who for years had slept beneath the shadow of the Hillsdale woods. “Oh, I wish I were dead like her!” she exclaimed at last, closing the ambrotype and laying it upon the table. “I wish I was lying in that little grave in the place of her who should have borne my name, and been what I once was;” and bowing her face upon her hands she wept bitterly, while Rose tried in vain to comfort her. “I am not sorry you are my sister,” sobbed Margaret through her tears. “That’s the only comfort I have left me now; but, Rose, I love Arthur Carrollton so much—oh, so much, and how can I give him up!”
“If he is the noble, true-hearted man he looks to be, he will not give you up,” answered Rose, and then for the first time since this meeting she questioned Margaret concerning Mr. Carrollton and the relations existing between them. “He will not cast you off,” she said, when Margaret had told her all she had to tell. “He may be proud, but he will cling to you still. He will follow you, too—not to-day, perhaps, nor to-morrow, but ere long he will surely come;” and, listening to her sister’s cheering words, Maggie herself grew hopeful, and that evening talked animatedly with Henry and Rose of a trip to the seaside that they were intending to make. “You will go, too, Maggie,” said Rose, caressing her sister’s pale cheek, and whispering in her ear, “Aunt Susan will be here to tell Mr. Carrollton where you are, if he does not come before we go, which I am sure he will.”
Maggie tried to think so too, and her sleep that night was sweeter than it had been before for many weeks—but the next day came, and the next, and Maggie’s eyes grew dim with watching and with tears, for up and down the road, as far as she could see, there came no trace of him for whom she waited.
“I might have known it; it was foolish of me to think otherwise,” she sighed; and, turning sadly from the window where all the afternoon she had been sitting, she laid her head wearily upon the lap of Rose.
“Maggie,” said Henry, “I am going to Worcester to-morrow, and perhaps George can tell me something of Mr. Carrollton.”
For a moment Maggie’s heart throbbed with delight at the thought of hearing from him, even though she heard that he would leave her. But anon her pride rose strong within her. She had told Hagar twice of her destination, Hagar had told him, and if he chose he would have followed her ere this; so somewhat bitterly she said: “Don’t speak to George of me. Don’t tell him I am here. Promise me, will you?”
The promise was given, and the next morning, which was Saturday, Henry started for Worcester on the early train. The day seemed long to Maggie, and when at nightfall he came to them again it was difficult to tell which was the more pleased at his return, Margaret or Rose.