“He will find it out somehow. I prefer that he should act unbiased by anything we can do,” Ethelyn said to Aunt Barbara. “He might feel obliged to come if you wrote to him that I was here, and if he came, the sight of me so changed might shock him as it did Aunt Van Buren. She verily thought me a fright,” and Ethie tried to smile as she recalled her Aunt Sophia’s evident surprise at her looks.
The change troubled Ethie more than she cared to confess. Nor did the villagers’ remarks, when they came in to see her, tend to soothe her ruffled feelings. Pale, and thin, and languid, she moved about the house and yard like a mere shadow of her former self, having, or seeming to have, no object in life, and worrying Aunt Barbara so greatly that the good woman began at last seriously to inquire what was best to do. Suddenly, like an inspiration, there came to her a thought of Clifton, the famous water-cure in Western New York, where health, both of body and soul, had been found by so many thousands. And Ethie caught eagerly at the proposition, accepting it on one condition—she would not go there as Mrs. Markham, where the name might be recognized. She had been Miss Bigelow abroad, she would be Miss Bigelow again; and so Aunt Barbara yielded, mentally asking pardon for the deception to which she felt she was a party, and when, two weeks after, the clerk at Clifton water-cure looked over his list to see what rooms were engaged, and to whom, he found “Miss Adelaide Bigelow, of Massachusetts,” put down for No. 101, while “Governor Markham of Iowa,” was down for No. 102.
They were very full at Clifton that summer, for the new building was not completed, and every available point was taken, from narrow, contracted No. 94 in the upper hall down to more spacious No. 8 on the lower floor, where the dampness, and noise, and mold, and smell of coal and cooking, and lower bathrooms were. “A very, very quiet place, with only a few invalids too weak and languid, and too much absorbed in themselves and their ‘complaints’ to note or care for their neighbors; a place where one lives almost as much excluded from the world as if immured within convent walls; a place where dress and fashion and distinction were unknown, save as something existing afar off, where the turmoil and excitement of life