“And if report is true, that wife will be ’Lena Rivers,” said Mrs. Graham, in order to try him.
“Very likely—I can’t tell what may be,” was his answer; to which Mrs. Graham replied, “that it would be extremely pleasant to marry a bride with whom one’s father was in love.”
“How ridiculous!” Durward exclaimed. “As though my father cared aught for ’Lena, except to admire her for her beauty and agreeable manners.”
“But, he’s acknowledged it. He’s just told me, ’God knew he loved her better than he did me.’ What do you think of that?”
“Did Mr. Graham say that?” asked Durward, looking his mother directly in her face.
“Yes he did, not fifteen minutes before you came in, and it’s not a secret either. Others know it and talk about it. Think of his giving her that pony.”
Durward was taken by surprise. Knowing none of the circumstances, he felt deeply pained at his father’s remark. He had always supposed he liked ’Lena, and he was glad of it, too, but to love her more than his own wife, was a different thing, and for the first time in his life Durward distrusted his father. Still, ’Lena was not to blame; there was comfort in that, and that very afternoon found him again at her side, admiring her more and more, and learning each time he saw her to love her better. And she—she dared not confess to herself how dear he was to her—she dared not hope her affection was returned. She could not think of the disappointment the future might bring, so she lived on the present, waiting anxiously for his coming, and striving hard to do the things which she thought would please him best.
True to her promise, Mabel had commenced giving her instructions upon the piano, and they were in the midst of their first lesson, when who should walk in, but Monsieur Du Pont, bowing, and saying “he had been hired by von nice gentleman, to give Mademoiselle Rivers lessons in musique.”
’Lena immediately thought of her uncle, who had once proposed her sharing in the instructions of her cousin, but who, as usual, was overruled by his wife.
“’Twas my uncle, was it not?” she asked of Du Pont, who replied, “I promised not to tell. He say, though, he connected with mademoiselle.”
And ’Lena, thinking it was of course Mr. Livingstone, who, on his wife’s account, wished it a secret, readily consented to receive Du Pont as a teacher in place of Mabel, who still expressed her willingness to assist her whenever it was necessary. Naturally fond of music, ’Lena’s improvement was rapid, and when she found how gratified Durward appeared, she redoubled her exertions, practicing always five, and sometimes six hours a day.
A FATHER’S LOVE.
When it was known at Maple Grove that ’Lena was taking lessons of Du Pont, it was naturally supposed that Mabel, as she had first proposed, paid the bills.