“Yes, ma’am,” meekly answered Jeffrey, rubbing her dumpy arm, which bore the mark of a thumb and finger, and as her services were not just then required she glided from the room to drown, if possible, her grievance in the leather-bound London edition of Baxter!
Meanwhile Madam Conway was consulting with Mr. Carrollton as to the best mode of finding Margaret. “She took the cars, of course,” said Mr. Carrollton, adding that he should go at once to the depot and ascertain which way she went. “If I do not return to-night you need not be alarmed,” he said, as he was leaving the room, whereupon Madam Conway called him back, bidding him telegraph for Theo at once, as she must have someone with her besides that vexatious Jeffrey.
Mr. Carrollton promised compliance with her request, and then went immediately to the depot, where he learned that no one had entered the cars from that place on the previous night, and that Maggie, if she took the train at all, must have done so at some other station. This was not unlikely, and before the day was passed Mr. Carrollton had visited several different stations, and had talked with the conductors of the several trains, but all to no purpose; and, very much disheartened, he returned at nightfall to the old stone house, where to his surprise he found both Theo and her husband. The telegram had done its mission, and feeling anxious to know the worst George had come up with Theo to spend the night. It was the first time that Madam Conway had seen him since her memorable encounter with his mother, for though Theo had more than once been home, he had never before accompanied her, and now when Madam Conway heard his voice in the hall below she groaned afresh. The sight of his good-humored face, however, and his kind offer to do whatever he could to find the fugitive, restored her composure in a measure, and she partially forgot that he was in any way connected with the blue umbrella, or the blue umbrella connected with him! Never in her life had Theo felt very deeply upon any subject, and now, though she seemed bewildered at what she heard, she manifested no particular emotion, until her grandmother, wringing her hands, exclaimed, “You have no sister now, my child, and I no Margaret!” Then, indeed, her tears flowed, and when her husband whispered to her, “We will love poor Maggie all the same,” she cried aloud, but not quite as demonstratively as Madam Conway wished; and, in a very unamiable frame of mind, the old lady accused her of being selfish and hard-hearted.
At this stage of proceedings Mr. Carrollton returned, bringing no tidings of Maggie, whereupon another fit of hysterics ensued, and as Theo behaved much worse than Mrs. Jeffrey had done, the latter was finally summoned again to the sickroom, and at last succeeded in quieting the excited woman. The next morning George Douglas visited old Hagar, but he too was unsuccessful, and that afternoon he returned to Worcester, leaving Theo with her grandmother, who, though finding fault with whatever she did, refused to let her go until Margaret was found.