Not thus lenient would Madam Conway have been towards Henry Warner had he presumed to ask her that morning for Maggie, but he knew better than to broach the subject then. He would write her, he said, immediately after his return to Worcester, and in the meantime Maggie, if she saw proper, was to prepare her grandmother for it by herself announcing the engagement. This, and much more, he said to Maggie as they sat together in the library, so much absorbed in each other as not to observe the approach of Madam Conway, who entered the door just in time to see Henry Warner with his arm around Maggie’s waist. She was a woman of bitter prejudices, and had conceived a violent dislike for Henry, not only on account of the “Stars and Stripes,” but because she read to a certain extent the true state of affairs. Her suspicions were now confirmed, and rapidly crossing the floor she confronted him, saying, “Let my granddaughter alone, young man, both now and forever.”
Something of Hagar’s fiery spirit flashed from Maggie’s dark eyes, but forcing down her anger she answered half earnestly, half playfully, “I am nearly old enough, grandma, to decide that matter for myself.”
A fierce expression of scorn passed over Madam Conway’s face, and harsh words might have ensued had not the carriage at that moment been announced. Wringing Maggie’s hand, Henry arose and left the room, followed by the indignant lady, who would willingly have suffered him to walk; but thinking two hundred thousand dollars quite too much money to go on foot, she had ordered her carriage, and both the senior and junior partner of Douglas & Co. Were ere long riding a second time away from the old house by the mill.
The waters are troubled.
“Grandma wishes to see you, Maggie, in her room,” said Theo to her sister one morning, three days after the departure of their guests.
“Wishes to see me! For what?” asked Maggie; and Theo answered, “I don’t know, unless it is to talk with you about Arthur Carrollton.”
“Arthur Carrollton!” repeated Maggie. “Much good it will do her to talk to me of him. I hate the very sound of his name;” and, rising, she walked slowly to her grandmother’s room, where in her stiff brown satin dress, her golden spectacles planted firmly upon her nose, and the Valenciennes border of her cap shading but not concealing the determined look on her face, Madam Conway sat erect in her high-backed chair, with an open letter upon her lap.
It was from Henry. Maggie knew his handwriting in a moment, and there was another too for her; but she was too proud to ask for it, and, seating herself by the window, she waited for her grandmother to break the silence, which she did ere long as follows:
“I have just received a letter from that Warner, asking me to sanction an engagement which he says exists between himself and you. Is it true? Are you engaged to him?”