Soon after leaving the piano a young man approached and invited her to waltz. This was something in which Maggie excelled; for two winters before Madam Conway had hired a teacher to instruct her granddaughters in dancing, and she was about to accept the invitation, when, drawing her arm still closer within his own, Mr. Carrollton looked down upon her, saying softly, “I wouldn’t.”
Maggie had often waltzed with Henry at home. He saw no harm in it, and now when Arthur Carrollton objected, she was provoked, while at the same time she felt constrained to decline.
“Some time, when I know you better, I will explain to you why I do not think it proper for young girls to waltz with everyone,” said Mr. Carrollton; and, leading her from the drawing room, he devoted himself to her for the remainder of the evening, making himself so perfectly agreeable that Maggie forgot everything, even Henry Warner, who in the meantime had tried to obtain recognition from Madam Conway as an acquaintance.
A cool nod, however, was all the token of recognition she had to give him. This state of feeling augured ill for the success of his suit; but when at a late hour that night, in spite of grandmother or Englishman, he handed Maggie to the carriage, he whispered to her softly, “I will see her to-morrow morning, and know the worst.”
The words caught the quick ear of Madam Conway; but, not wishing Mr. Carrollton to know there was anything particular between her granddaughter and Henry Warner, she said nothing, and when, arrived at last at the hotel, she asked an explanation, Maggie, who hurried off to bed, was too sleepy to give her any answer.
“I shall know before long, anyway, if he sees me in the morning,” she thought, as she heard a distant clock strike two, and settling her face into the withering frown with which she intended to annihilate Henry Warner, the old lady was herself ere long much faster asleep than the young girl at her side, who was thinking of Henry Warner, wishing he was three inches taller, or herself three inches shorter, and wondering if his square shoulders would not be somewhat improved by braces!
“I never noticed how short and crooked he was,” she thought, “until I saw him standing by the side of Mr. Carrollton, who is such a splendid figure, so tall and straight; but big, overgrown girls like me always get short husbands, they say;” and satisfied with this conclusion she fell asleep.
Madam Conway’s disasters.
At a comparatively early hour Madam Conway arose, and going to the parlor found there Arthur Carrollton, who asked if Margaret were not yet up. “Say that I wish her to ride with me on horseback,” said he. “The morning air will do her good;” and, quite delighted, Madam Conway carried the message to her granddaughter.
“Tell him I shan’t do it,” answered the sleepy Maggie, adjusting herself for another nap. Then, as she thought how his eyes probably looked as he said, “I wish her to ride,” she felt impelled to obey, and greatly to her grandmother’s surprise she commenced dressing.