But neither the fragrant summer air, nor yet the presence of Henry Warner, who tarried several days, could rouse the drooping Rose; and when at last she was left alone she sought her bed, where for many weeks she hovered between life and death, while her brother and her aunt hung over her pillow, and Maggie, from her woodland home, sent many an anxious inquiry and message of love to the sick girl. In the close atmosphere of his counting-room George Douglas too again battled manfully with his olden love, listening each day to hear that she was dead. But not thus early was Rose to die, and with the waning summer days she came slowly back to life. More beautiful than ever, because more ethereal and fair, she walked the earth like one who, having struggled with a mighty sorrow, had won the victory at last; and Henry Warner, when he looked on her sweet, placid face, and listened to her voice as she made plans for the future, when Maggie would be his wife, dreamed not of the grave hidden in the deep recesses of her heart, where grew no flower of hope or semblance of earthly joy.
Thus little know mankind of each other!
On the Hillsdale hills the October sun was shining, and the forest trees were donning their robes of scarlet and brown, when again the old stone house presented an air of joyous expectancy. The large, dark parlors were thrown open, the best chambers were aired, the bright, autumnal flowers were gathered and in tastefully arranged bouquets adorned the mantels, while Theo and Maggie, in their best attire, flitted uneasily from room to room, running sometimes to the gate to look down the grassy road which led from the highway, and again mounting the tower stairs to obtain a more extended view.
In her pleasant apartment, where last we left her with a sprained ankle, Mrs. Jeffrey, too, fidgeted about, half sympathizing with her pupils in their happiness, and half regretting the cause of that happiness, which was the expected arrival of George Douglas and Henry Warner, who, true to their promise, were coming again to try for a week the Hillsdale air, and retrieve their character as fast young men. So, at least, they told Mrs. Jeffrey, who, mindful of her exploit with the banner, and wishing to make some amends, met them alone on the threshhold, Maggie having at the last moment run away, while Theo sat in a state of dignified perturbation upon the sofa.
A few days prior to their arrival letters had been received from Madam Conway saying she should probably, remain in England two or three weeks longer, and thus the house was again clear to the young men, who, forgetting to retrieve their characters, fairly outdid all they had done before. The weather was remarkably clear and bracing, and the greater part of each day was spent in the open air, either in fishing, riding, or hunting; Maggie teaching Henry Warner how to ride