“Despises the vulgar herd, I dare say,” thought Madam Conway, contemplating the pleasure she should undoubtedly derive from an acquaintance with Mrs. Douglas, senior!
“There was a sister, too,” he said, and at this announcement Theo opened wide her blue eyes, asking her name, and why he had never mentioned her before.
“I call her Jenny,” said he, coloring slightly, and adding playfully, as he caressed Theo’s smooth, round cheek, “Wives do not usually like their husbands’ sisters.”
“But I shall like her, I know,” said Theo. “She has a beautiful name, Jenny Douglas—much prettier than Rose Warner, about whom Maggie talks to me so much.”
A gathering frown on her grandmother’s face warned Theo that she had touched upon a forbidden subject, and as Mr. Douglas manifested no desire to continue the conversation it ceased for a time, Theo wishing she could see Jenny Douglas, and George wondering what she would say when she did see her!
For a few days longer he lingered, and ere his return it was arranged that early in July Theo should be his bride. On the morning of his departure, as he stood upon the steps alone with Madam Conway, she said, “I think I can rely upon you, Mr. Douglas, not to carry either letter, note, or message from Maggie to that young Warner. I’ve forbidden him in my house, and I mean what I say.”
“I assure you, madam, she has not asked me to carry either,” answered George; who, though he knew perfectly well of the secret correspondence, had kept it to himself. “You mistake Mr. Warner, I think,” he continued, after a moment. “I have known him long, and esteem him highly.”
“Tastes differ,” returned Madam Conway coldly. “No man of good breeding would presume to cut up my grandfather’s coat or drink up my best wine.”
“He intended no disrespect, I’m sure,” answered George. “He only wanted a little fun with the ‘Stars and Stripes.’”
“It was fun for which he will pay most dearly, though,” answered Madam Conway, as she bade Mr. Douglas good-by; then, walking back to the parlor, she continued speaking to herself: “‘Stars and Stripes’! I’ll teach him to cut up my blue bodice for fun. I wouldn’t give him Margaret if his life depended upon it;” and sitting down she wrote to Arthur Carrollton, asking if he really intended visiting America, and when.
During the remainder of the spring matters at the old stone house proceeded about as usual, Maggie writing regularly to Henry, who as regularly answered, while old Hagar managed it so adroitly that no one suspected the secret correspondence, and Madam Conway began to hope her granddaughter had forgotten the foolish fancy. Arthur Carrollton had replied that his visit to America, though sure to take place, was postponed indefinitely, and so the good lady had nothing in particular with which to busy herself, save the preparations for Theo’s wedding, which was to take place near the first of July.