“Another city beau!” muttered Hagar, as she answered in the affirmative, and ushered him into the parlor. “Another city beau—there’ll be high carryings-on now, if he’s anything like the other one, who’s come mighty nigh turning the house upside down.”
“What did you say?” asked George Douglas, catching the sound of her muttering, and thinking she was addressing himself.
“I wasn’t speaking to you. I was talking to a likelier person,” answered old Hagar in an undertone, as she shuffled away in quest of Henry Warner, who by this time was able to walk with the help of a cane.
The meeting between the young men was a joyful one, for though George Douglas was a little sore on the subject of Rose, he would not suffer a matter like that to come between him and Henry Warner, whom he had known and liked from boyhood. Henry’s first inquiries were naturally of a business character, and then George Douglas spoke of the young ladies, saying he was only anxious to see Maggie, for he knew of course he should dislike the other.
Such, however, is wayward human nature that the fair, pale face, and quiet, dignified manner of Theo Miller had greater attractions for a person of George Douglas’ peculiar temperament than had the dashing, brilliant Maggie. There was a resemblance, he imagined, between Theo and Rose, and this of itself was sufficient to attract him towards her. Theo, too, was equally pleased; and when, that evening, Madam Jeffrey faintly interposed her fast-departing authority, telling her quondam pupils it was time they were asleep, Theo did not, as usual, heed the warning, but sat very still beneath the vine-wreathed portico, listening while George Douglas told her of the world which she had never seen. She was not proud towards him, for he possessed the charm of money, and as he looked down upon her, conversing with him so familiarly, he wondered how Henry could have called her cold and haughty—she was merely dignified, high-bred, he thought; and George Douglas liked anything which savored of aristocracy.
Meanwhile Henry and Maggie had wandered to a little summer-house, where, with the bright moonlight falling upon them, they sat together, but not exactly as of old, for Maggie did not now look up into his face as she was wont to do, and if she thought his eye was resting upon her she moved uneasily, while the rich blood deepened on her cheek. A change has come over Maggie Miller; it is the old story, too—old to hundreds of thousands, but new to her, the blushing maiden. Theo calls her nervous—Mrs. Jeffrey calls her sick—the servants call her mighty queer—while old Hagar, hovering ever near, and watching her with a jealous eye, knows she is in love.
Faithfully and well had Hagar studied Henry Warner, to see if there were aught in him of evil; and though he was not what she would have chosen for the queenly Maggie she was satisfied if Margaret loved him and he loved Margaret. But did he? He had never told her so; and in Hagar Warren’s wild black eyes there was a savage gleam, as she thought, “He’ll rue the day that he dares trifle with Maggie Miller.”