“And that, too, I’ll effect, rather than see her thrown away upon a low bred northerner, who shall never wed her—never;” and the haughty woman paced up and down her room, devising numerous ways by which her long cherished three-fold plan should be effected.
The next morning, Durward arose much earlier than was his usual custom, and going out into the garden he came suddenly upon ’Lena. “This,” said he, “is a pleasure which I did not expect when I rather unwillingly tore myself from my pillow.”
All the coldness of the night before was gone, but ’Lena could not so soon forget, and quite indifferently she answered, that “she learned to rise early among the New England hills.”
“An excellent practice, and one which more of our young ladies would do well to imitate,” returned Durward, at the same time speaking of the beautifying effect which the morning air had upon her complexion.
’Lena reddened, for she recalled his words of yesterday concerning her plainness, and somewhat sharply she replied, that “any information regarding her personal appearance was wholly unnecessary, as she knew very well how she looked.”
Durward bit his lip, and resolving never to compliment her again, walked on in silence at her side, while ’Lena, repenting of her hasty words, and desirous of making amends, exerted herself to be agreeable; and by the time the breakfast-bell rang, Durward mentally pronounced her “a perfect mystery,” which he would take delight in unraveling!
MR. AND MRS. GRAHAM.
Breakfast had been some time over, when the roll of carriage wheels and a loud ring at the door, announced the arrival of Mr. Graham, who, true to his appointment with Durward, had come up to meet him, accompanied by Mrs. Graham. This lady, who could boast of having once been the bride of an English lord, to say nothing of belonging to the “very first family of Virginia,” was a sort of bugbear to Mrs. Livingstone, who, haughty and overbearing to her equals, was nevertheless cringing and cowardly in the presence of those whom she considered her superiors. Never having seen Mrs. Graham, her ideas concerning her were quite elevated, and now when she came unexpectedly, it quite overcame her. Unfortunately, too, she was this morning suffering from a nervous headache, the result of the excitement and late hours of the night before, and on learning that Mrs. Graham was in the parlor, she fell back in her rocking-chair, and between a groan and a sigh, declared her utter inability to see her at present, saying that Carrie must play the part of hostess until such time as she felt composed enough to undertake it.
“Oh, I can’t—I shan’t—that ends it!” said Carrie, who, though a good deal dressed on Durward’s account, still felt anxious to give a few more finishing touches to her toilet, and to see if her hair and complexion were all right, ere she ventured into the august presence ef her “mother-in-law elect,” as she confidently considered Mrs. Graham.