“Did you see Theo?” asked the former; and Henry replied: “George told me she had gone to Hillsdale. Madam Conway is very sick.”
“For me! for me! She’s sick with mourning for me!” cried Maggie. “Darling grandma! she does love me still, and I will go home to her at once.”
Then the painful thought rushed over her: “If she wished for me, she would send. It’s the humiliation, not the love, that makes her sick. They have cast me off—grandma, Theo, all, all!” and, sinking upon the lounge, she wept aloud.
“Margaret,” said Henry, coming to her side, “but for my promise I should have talked to George of you, for there was a troubled expression on his face when he asked me if I had heard from Hillsdale.”
“What did you say?” asked Maggie, holding her breath to catch the answer, which was, “I told him you had not written to me since my return from Cuba, and then he looked as if he would say more, but a customer called him away, and our conversation was not resumed.”
For a moment Maggie was silent. Then she said: “I am glad you did not intrude me upon him. If Theo has gone to Hillsdale, she knows that I am here, and does not care to follow me. It is the disgrace that troubles them, not the losing me!” and again burying her head in the cushions of the lounge, she wept bitterly. It was useless for Henry and Rose to try to comfort her, telling her it was possible that Hagar had told nothing. “And if so,” said Henry, “you well know that I am the last one to whom you would be expected to flee for protection.” Margaret would not listen. She was resolved upon being unhappy, and during the long hours of that night she tossed wakefully upon her pillow, and when the morning came she was too weak to rise; so she kept her room, listening to the music of the Sabbath bells, which to her seemed sadly saying, “Home, home.” “Alas! I have no home,” she said, turning away to weep, for in the tolling of those bells there came to her no voice whispering of the darkness, the desolation, and the sorrow that were in the home for which she so much mourned.
Thus the day wore on, and ere another week was gone Rose insisted upon a speedy removal to the seashore, notwithstanding it was so early in the season, for by this means she hoped that Maggie’s health would be improved. Accordingly, Henry went once more to Worcester, ostensibly for money, but really to see if George Douglas now would speak to him of Margaret. But George was in New York, they said; and, somewhat disappointed, Henry went back to Leominster, where everything was in readiness for their journey. Monday was fixed upon for their departure, and at an early hour Margaret looked back on what had been to her a second home, smiling faintly as Rose whispered to her cheerily, “I have a strong presentiment that somewhere in our travels we shall meet with Arthur Carrollton.”