Mrs. Jeffrey wished so too, as night after night her slumbers were disturbed by the sounds of merriment which came up to her from the parlor below, where the young people were “enjoying themselves,” as Maggie said when reproved for the noisy revels. The day previous to the one set for their departure chanced to be Henry Warner’s twenty-seventh birthday, and this Maggie resolved to honor with an extra supper, which was served at an unusually late hour in the dining room, the door of which opened out upon a closely latticed piazza.
“I wish we could think of something new to do,” said Maggie, as she presided at the table—“something real funny;” then, as her eyes fell upon the dark piazza, where a single light was burning dimly, she exclaimed: “Why can’t we get up tableaux? There are heaps of the queerest clothes in the big oaken chest in the garret. The servants can be audience, and they need some recreation!”
The suggestion was at once approved, and in half an hour’s time the floor was strewn with garments of every conceivable fashion, from long stockings and small clothes to scarlet cloaks and gored skirts, the latter of which were immediately donned by Henry Warner, to the infinite delight of the servants, who enjoyed seeing the grotesque costumes, even if they did not exactly understand what the tableaux were intended to represent. The banner, too, was brought out, and after bearing a conspicuous part in the performance was placed at the end of the dining room, where it would be the first thing visible to a person opening the door opposite. At a late hour the servants retired, and then George Douglas, who took kindly to the luscious old wine, which Maggie again had brought from her grandmother’s choicest store, filled a goblet to the brim, and, pledging first the health of the young girls, drank to “the old lady across the water” with whose goods they were thus making free!
Henry Warner rarely tasted wine, for though miles away from Rose her influence was around him—so, filling his glass with water, he too drank to the wish that “the lady across the sea” would remain there yet a while, or at all events not “stumble upon us to-night!”
“What if she should!” thought Maggie, glancing around at the different articles scattered all over the floor, and laughing as she saw in fancy her grandmother’s look of dismay should she by any possible chance obtain a view of the room, where perfect order and quiet had been wont to reign.