Striking a light, Maggie hurried to the spot, while her merry laugh aroused the servants, who came together in a body. Stretched upon the floor, with one foot thrust entirely through the banner, which was folded about her so that the quilt-frame lay directly upon her bosom, was Mrs. Jeffrey, the broad frill of her cap standing up erect, and herself asserting with every breath that “she was dead and buried, she knew she was.”
“Wrapped in a winding-sheet, I’ll admit,” said Maggie, “but not quite dead, I trust;” and, putting down her light, she attempted to extricate her governess, who continued to apologize for what she had done. “Not that I cared so much about your celebrating America; but I couldn’t sleep with the thing over my head; I was going to put it back in the morning before you were up. There! there! careful! It’s broken short off!” she screamed, as Maggie tried to release her foot from the rent in the linen sheet, a rent which the frightened woman persisted in saying she could darn as good as new, while at the same time she implored of Maggie to handle carefully her ankle, which had been sprained by the fall.
Maggie’s recent experience in broken bones had made her quite an adept, and taking the slight form of Mrs. Jeffrey in her arms she carried her back to her room, where, growing more quiet, the old lady told her how she happened to fall, saying she never thought of stumbling, until she fancied that Washington and all his regiment were after her, and when she turned her head to see, she lost her footing and fell.
Forcing back her merriment, which in spite of herself would occasionally burst forth, Maggie made her teacher as comfortable as possible, and then stayed with her until morning, when, leaving her in charge of a servant, she went below to say farewell to her guests. Between George Douglas and Theo there were a few low-spoken words, she granting him permission to write, while he promised to visit her again in the early autumn. He had not yet talked to her of love, for Rose Warner had still a home in his heart, and she must be dislodged ere another could take her place. But his affection for her was growing gradually less. Theo suited him well; her family suited him better, and when at parting he took her hand in his he resolved to ask her for it when next he came to Hillsdale.
Meanwhile between Henry Warner and Maggie there was a far more affectionate farewell, he whispering to her of a time not far distant when he would claim her as his own, and, she should go with him. He would write to her every week, he said, and Rose should write too. He would see Rose in a few days, and tell her of his engagement, which he knew would please her.
“Let me send her a line,” said Maggie, and on a tiny sheet of paper she wrote: “Dear Rose: Are you willing I should be your sister Maggie?”
Half an hour later, and Hagar Warren, coming through the garden gate, looked after the carriage which bore the gentlemen to the depot, muttering to herself: “I’m glad the high bucks have gone. A good riddance to them both.”