Still, reason as she would, Nellie could not forget so easily, and the hour of midnight found her restless and wakeful. At length, rising up and leaning upon her elbow, she looked down upon the face of Mabel, who lay sleeping sweetly at her side. Many and bitter were her thoughts, and as she looked upon her rival, marking her plain features and sallow skin, an expression of scorn flitted for an instant across her face.
“And she is preferred to me!” said she. “Well, let it be so, and God grant I may not hate her.”
Erelong, better feelings came to her aid, and with her arms wound round Mabel’s neck, as if to ask forgiveness for her unkind thoughts, she fell asleep.
MRS. LIVINGSTONE’S CALLS AND THEIR RESULT.
After leaving Mr. Douglass’s, Mrs. Livingstone ordered her coachman to drive her around to the house of Mrs. Atkins, where she was frequently in the habit of stopping, partly as a matter of convenience when visiting in town, and partly to learn the latest news of the day, for Mrs. Atkins was an intolerable gossip. Without belonging exactly to the higher circles, she still managed to keep up a show of intimacy with them, possessing herself with their secrets, and kindly intrusting them to the keeping of this and that “dear friend.”
From her, had Mrs. Livingstone learned to a dime the amount of Mr. Douglass’ property, and how he was obliged to economize in various ways, in order to keep up the appearance of style. From her, too, had she learned how often her son was in the habit of calling there, and what rumor said concerning those calls, while Mrs. Atkins had learned, in return, that the ambitious lady had other views for John, and that anything which she, Mrs. Atkins, could do to further the plans of her friend, would be gratefully received. On this occasion she was at home, and of course delighted to meet Mrs. Livingstone.
“It is such an age since I’ve seen you, that I began to fear you were offended at something,” said she, as she led the way into a cozy little sitting-room, where a cheerful wood fire was blazing on the nicely painted hearth. “Do sit down and make yourself as comfortable as you can, on such poor accommodations. I have just finished dinner but will order some for you.”
“No, no,” exclaimed Mrs. Livingstone, “I dined at Mr. Douglass’s—thank you.”
“Ah, indeed,” returned Mrs. Atkins, feeling a good deal relieved, for to tell the truth, her larder, as was often the case, was rather empty. “Dined at Mr. Douglass’s! Of course, then, nothing which I could offer you could be acceptable, after one of his sumptuous meals. I suppose Nellie brought out all her mother’s old silver, and made quite a display. It’s a wonder to me how they hold their heads so high, and folks notice them as they do, for between you and me, I shouldn’t be surprised to hear of his failing any minute.”