JOHN JR. AND MABEL.
Time and absence had gradually softened John Jr.’s feelings toward Nellie. She was not married to Mr. Wilbur—possibly she never would be—and if on her return to America he found her the same, he would lose no time in seeing her, and, if possible, secure her to himself. Such was the tenor of his thoughts, as on one bright morning in June he took his way to Lexington, whither he was going on business for his father. Before leaving the city, he rode down to the depot, as was his usual custom, reaching there just as the cars bound for Frankfort were rolling away. Upon the platform of the rear car stood an acquaintance of his, who called out, “Halloo, Livingstone, have you heard the news?”
“News, no. What news?” asked John Jr., following after the fast moving train.
“Bob Wilbur and Nellie Douglass are married,” screamed the young man, who, having really heard of Mr. Wilbur’s marriage, supposed it must of course be with Nellie.
John Jr. had no doubt of it, and for a moment his heart fainted beneath the sudden blow. But he was not one to yield long to despair, and soon recovering from the first shock, he raved in uncontrollable fury, denouncing Nellie as worthless, fickle, and good for nothing, mentally wishing her much joy with her husband, who in the same breath he hoped “would break his confounded neck,” and ending his tirade by solemnly vowing to offer himself to the first girl he met, whether black or white!
Full of this resolution he put spurs to Firelock and sped away over the turnpike, looking neither to the right nor the left, lest a chance should offer for the fulfillment of his vow. It was the dusk of evening when he reached home, and giving his horse into the care of a servant, he walked with rapid strides into the parlor, starting back as he saw Mabel Ross, who, for a few days past, had been visiting at Maple Grove.
“There’s no backing out,” thought he. “It’s my destiny, and I’ll meet it like a man. Nellie spited me, and I’ll let her know how good it feels.”
“Mabel,” said he, advancing toward her, “will you marry me? Say yes or no quick.”
This was not quite the kind of wooing which Mabel had expected. ’Twas not what she read of in novels, but then it was in keeping with the rest of John Jr.’s conduct, and very frankly and naturally she answered “Yes.”
“Very well,” said he, beginning to feel better already, and turning to leave the room—“Very well, you fix the day, and arrange it all yourself, only let it be very soon, for now I’ve made up my mind, I’m in a mighty hurry.”
Mabel laughed, and hardly knowing whether he were in earnest or not, asked “if she should speak to the minister, too.”
“Yes, no,” said he. “Just tell mother, and she’ll fix it all right. Will you?”