Upon this last piece of advice Mrs. Livingstone resolved to act, for recently several vague rumors had reached her ear, touching her neglect of her mother-in-law, and she began herself to think it just possible that a little of her money would be well expended in adding to the comfort of her husband’s mother. Accordingly, as soon as Mrs. Nichols was able to sit up, her room underwent a thorough renovation, and though no great amount of money was expended upon it, it was fitted up with so much taste that the poor old lady, whom John Jr., ’Lena and Anna, had adroitly kept out of the way until her room was finished, actually burst into tears when first ushered into her light, airy apartment, in which everything looked so cheerful and pleasant.
“’Tilda has now and then a good streak,” said she, while Aunt Milly, who had taken a great deal of interest in the repairing of the room, felt inclined to change her favorite theory with regard to her mistress’ future condition.
FIVE YEARS LATER.
And in the fair city of elms we again open the scene. It was commencement at Yale, and the crowd which filled the old Center church were listening breathlessly to the tide of eloquence poured forth by the young valedictorian.
Durward Bellmont, first in his studies, first in his class, and first in the esteem of his fellow-students, had been unanimously chosen to that post of honor, and as the gathered multitude hung upon his words and gazed upon his manly beauty, they felt mat a better choice could not well have been made. At the right of the platform sat a group of ladies, friends, it would seem, of the speaker, for ever and anon his eyes turned in that direction, and as if each glance incited him to fresh efforts, his eloquence increased, until at last no sound save that of his deep-toned voice was heard, so rapt was every one in the words of the young orator. But when his speech was ended, there arose deafening shouts of applause, while bouquets fell in perfect showers at his feet. Among them was one smaller and more elegant than the rest, and as if it were more precious, too, it was the first which Durward took from the floor.
“See, Carrie, he gives you the preference,” whispered one of the young ladies on the right, and Carrie Livingstone for she it was, felt a thrill of gratified pride, when she saw how carefully he guarded the bouquet, which during all the exercises she had made her especial care, calling attention to it in so many different ways that hardly any one who saw it in Durward’s possession, could fail of knowing from what source it same.
But then everybody said they were engaged—so what did it matter? Everybody but John Jr., who was John Jr. still, and who while openly denying the engagement, teasingly hinted “that ’twas no fault of Cad’s.”