The next day he went to town to look after some business matters, and returned by the latest train. To his surprise he found Madge absent, and was immediately conscious of a vague sense of disappointment.
MRS. MUIR’S ACCOUNT
After a light supper Graydon went in search of Stella, but she was nowhere to be found, nor had the warm evening lured Mrs. Wildmere from her room. He had learned that Arnault was still at the house, and he inferred, from the surpassing beauty of the moonlit evening, that his rival would not let such witching hours pass without an effort to turn them to account. With a frown he retreated from the music, dancing, and gayety of a full house, and went up to Mrs. Muir’s room.
That lady was found writing to her husband, but she welcomed Graydon, and began volubly: “I’m very glad you have come; I’m so full and overflowing about Madge that I had to write to Henry.”
“It certainly does seem an odd proceeding on her part—this remaining all night at a farmhouse among strangers,” was his discontented reply.
“It would be odd in any one but Madge. I do not think there are many girls in this house who would be guilty of such eccentricities—certainly not Miss Wildmere,” she added, with a rather malicious twinkle in her eyes. “If I were a man, I wouldn’t stand it. I’ve been on the alert somewhat to-day, for I don’t wish to see you made a fool of. That Mr. Arnault has been at her side the livelong time, and he’s out driving with her now.”
“I understand all about that,” said Graydon, impatiently; “tell me about Madge.”
“Perhaps you do, and perhaps you don’t. It’s certainly beyond my comprehension,” continued Mrs. Muir, determined to free her mind. “If she is anything to you, or wishes to be, her performances are as unique as those of Madge, although in a different style. We Alden girls were not brought up in that way. Pardon me; I know it’s your affair, but you are my brother, and have been a good one, too. I can’t wonder that Henry dislikes her. Well, well, I see you are getting nettled, and I won’t say anything more, but tell you about Madge. It has been an awfully hot day, you know, and I did not order a carriage till five. Madge was restless, and had sighed for a gallop more than once, so I proposed to do the best for her I could. As we were starting for our drive Dr. Sommers appeared, and I asked him to go with us.
“‘I will,’ he said, ’if you will take me to see one of my patients—one that will make Miss Alden contented till she has some imaginary trouble of her own. My horse is nearly used up from the long drive I’ve had in the heat.’
“‘Oh, do take me to see some one in trouble!’ exclaimed Madge.
“‘Yes,’ replied the doctor, laughing, ’that will be a novelty. To see you young ladies dancing and promenading, one would think you had never heard of trouble.’