Again the eager, anxious expression crept into Ethie’s eyes, which grew very soft, and even dewy, as Aunt Barbara replied, “Forgotten you? No. I never saw a man feel as he did when he first came here, and Sophia talked to him so, as he sat there in that very willow chair.”
Involuntarily Ethie’s hand rested itself on the chair where Richard had sat, and Ethie’s face crimsoned where Aunt Barbara asked:
“Do you love Richard now?”
“I cannot tell. I only know that I have dreamed of him so many, many times, and thought it would be such perfect rest to put my tired head in his lap, as I never did put it. When I was on the ocean, coming home, there was a fearful storm, and I prayed so earnestly to live till I could hear him say that he forgave me for all the trouble I have caused him. I might not love him if I were to see him again just as he used to be. Sometimes I think I should not, but I would try. Write to him, auntie, please, and tell him I am here, but nothing more. Don’t say I want to see him, or that I am changed from the willful, high-tempered Ethie who made him so unhappy, for perhaps I am not.”
A while then they talked of Aunt Van Buren, and Frank, and Nettie, and Susie Granger, who was married to a missionary and gone to heathen lands; and the clock was striking one before Aunt Barbara lighted her darling up to the old room, and kissing her good-night, went back to weep glad tears of joy in the rocking-chair by the hearth, and to thank her Heavenly Father for sending home her long lost Ethelyn.
MRS. DR. VAN BUREN
She was always tossing up just when she was not wanted, Ethie used to say in the olden days, when she saw the great lady alighting at the gate in time to interfere with and spoil some favorite project arranged for the day, and she certainly felt it, if she did not say it, when, on the morning following her arrival in Chicopee she heard Betty exclaim, “If there ain’t Miss Van Buren! I wonder what sent her here!”
Ethie wondered so, too, and drawing the blanket closer around her shoulders (for she had taken advantage of her fatigue and languor to lie very late in bed) she wished her aunt had stayed in Boston, for a little time at least.