“Oh, yes, I know,” answered Maggie; “but I’m not going to tease you for a while. I shall have so much else to do when grandma is gone that I shall forget it. I wish she wasn’t so proud,” she continued, after a moment. “I wish she’d let Theo and me see a little more of the world than she does. I wonder how she ever expects us to get married, or be anybody, if she keeps us here in the woods like young savages. Why, as true as you live, Hagar, I have never been anywhere in my life, except to church Sundays, once to Douglas’ store in Worcester, once to Patty Thompson’s funeral, and once to a Methodist camp-meeting; and I never spoke to more than a dozen men besides the minister and the school boys! It’s too bad!” and Maggie pouted quite becomingly at the injustice done her by her grandmother in keeping her thus secluded. “Theo don’t care,” she said. “She is prouder than I am, and does not wish to know the Yankees, as grandma calls the folks in this country; but I’m glad I am a Yankee. I wouldn’t live in England for anything.”
“Why don’t your grandmother take you with her?” asked Hagar, who in a measure sympathized with Maggie for being thus isolated.
“She says we are too young to go into society,” answered Maggie. “It will be time enough two years hence, when I am eighteen and Theo twenty. Then I believe she intends taking us to London, where we can show off our accomplishments, and practice that wonderful courtesy which Mrs. Jeffrey has taught us. I dare say the queen will be astonished at our qualifications;” and with a merry laugh, as she thought of the appearance she should make at the Court of St. James, Maggie leaped on Gritty’s back and bounded away, while Hagar looked wistfully after her, saying as she wiped the tears from her eyes: “Heaven bless the girl! She might sit on the throne of England any day, and Victoria wouldn’t disgrace herself at all by doing her reverence, even if she be a child of Hagar Warren.”
As Maggie had said, Madam Conway was going to England. At first she thought of taking the young ladies with her, but, thinking they were hardly old enough yet to be emancipated from the schoolroom, she decided to leave them under the supervision of Mrs. Jeffrey, whose niece she promised to bring with her on her return to America. Upon her departure she bade Theo and Maggie a most affectionate adieu, adding:
“Be good girls while I am away, keep in the house, mind Mrs. Jeffrey, and don’t fall in love.”
This last injunction came involuntarily from the old lady, to whom the idea of their falling in love was quite as preposterous as to themselves.
“Fall in love!” repeated Maggie, when her tears were dried, and she with Theo was driving slowly home. “What could grandma mean! I wonder who there is for us to love, unless it be John the coachman, or Bill the gardener. I almost wish we could get in love though, just to see how ’twould seem, don’t you?” she continued.