The river rolls on with its heaving swell, and the white foam is tossed towards the shore, while the soft summer air still bears on its wing the sound of the cataract’s roar. But Margaret sees it not, hears it not. There is a spell upon her now—a halo of joy; and she only knows that a strong arm is around her, and a voice is in her ear, whispering that the bosom on which her weary head is pillowed shall be her resting place forever.
It had come to her suddenly, sitting there thus—the footfall upon the sand had not been heard—the shadow upon the grass had not been seen, and his presence had not been felt, till, bending low, Mr. Carrollton said aloud, “My Maggie!”
Then indeed she started up, and turned to see who it was that thus so much like him had called her name. She saw who it was, and looking in his face she knew she was not hated, and with a moaning cry went forward to the arm extended to receive her.
* * * * *
Four guests, instead of one, went forth that afternoon from the International—four guests homeward bound, and eager to be there. No more journeying now for happiness; no more searching for the lost; for both are found; both are there—happiness and Maggie Miller.
Impatient, restless, and cross, Madam Conway lay in Margaret’s room, scolding Theo and chiding Mrs. Jeffrey, both of whom, though trying their utmost to suit her, managed unfortunately to do always just what she wished them not to do. Mrs. Jeffrey’s hands were usually too cold, and Theo’s were too hot. Mrs. Jeffrey made the head of the bed too high, Theo altogether too low. In short, neither of them ever did what Margaret would have done had she been there, and so day after day the lady complained, growing more and more unamiable, until at last Theo began to talk seriously of following Margaret’s example, and running away herself, at least as far as Worcester; but the distressed Mrs. Jeffrey, terrified at the thought of being left there alone, begged of her to stay a little longer, offering the comforting assurance that “it cannot be so bad always, for Madam Conway will either get better—or something.”
So Theo stayed, enduring with a martyr’s patience the caprices of her grandmother, who kept the whole household in a constant state of excitement, and who at last began to blame George Douglas entirely as being the only one in fault. “He didn’t half look,” she said, “and she doubted whether he knew enough to keep from losing himself in New York. It was the most foolish thing Arthur Carrollton had ever done, hiring George Douglas to search!”
“Hiring him, grandma!” cried Theo; “George offered his services for nothing,” and the tears came to her eyes at the injustice done her husband.
But Madam Conway persisted in being unreasonable, and matters grew gradually worse until the day when Margaret was found at the Falls. On that morning Madam Conway determined upon riding. “Fresh air will do me good,” she said, “and you have kept me in a hot chamber long enough.”