To the latter part of Theo’s remark Maggie paid little heed; but the mention of her grandmother troubled her. She would oppose it, Maggie was sure of that, and it was to talk on this very subject that she had come to Hagar’s cottage.
“Just the way I s’posed it would end,” said Hagar, when Maggie, with blushing, half-averted face, told the story of her engagement. “Just the way I s’posed ’twould end, but I didn’t think ’twould be so quick.”
“Two months and a half is a great while, and then we have been together so much,” replied Maggie, at the same time asking if Hagar did not approve her choice.
“Henry Warner’s well enough,” answered Hagar. “I’ve watched him close and see no evil in him; but he isn’t the one for you, nor are you the one for him. You are both too wild, too full of fun, and if yoked together will go to destruction, I know. You need somebody to hold you back, and so does he.”
Involuntarily Maggie thought of Rose, mentally resolving to be, if possible, more like her.
“You are not angry with me?” said Hagar, observing Maggie’s silence. “You asked my opinion, and I gave it to you. You are too young to know who you like. Henry Warner is the first man you ever knew, and in two years’ time you’ll tire of him.”
“Tire of him, Hagar? Tire of Henry Warner?” cried Maggie a little indignantly. “You do not know me, if you think I’ll ever tire of him; and then, too, did I tell you grandma keeps writing to me about a Mr. Carrollton, who she says is wealthy, fine-looking, highly educated, and very aristocratic—and that last makes me hate him! I’ve heard so much about aristocracy that I’m sick of it, and just for that reason I would not have this Mr. Carrollton if I knew he’d make me queen of England. But grandma’s heart is set upon it, I know, and she thinks of course he would marry me—says he is delighted with my daguerreotype—that awful one, too, with the staring eyes. In grandma’s last letter he sent me a note. ’Twas beautifully written, and I dare say he is a fine young man, at least he talks common sense, but I shan’t answer it; and, if you’ll believe me, I used part of it in lighting Henry’s cigar, and with the rest I shall light firecrackers on the Fourth of July; Henry has bought a lot of them, and we’re going to have fun. How grandma would scold!—but I shall marry Henry Warner, anyway. Do you think she will oppose me, when she sees how determined I am?”
“Of course she will,” answered Hagar. “I know those Carrolltons—they are a haughty race; and if your grandmother has one of them in view she’ll turn you from her door sooner than see you married to another, and an American, too.”
There was a moment’s silence, and then, with an unnatural gleam in her eye, old Hagar turned towards Maggie, and, grasping her shoulder, said: “If she does this thing, Maggie Miller,—if she casts you off,—will you take me for your grandmother? Will you let me live with you? I’ll be your drudge, your slave; say, Maggie, may I go with you? Will you call me grandmother? I’d willingly die if only once I could hear you speak to me thus, and know it was in love.”