MADGE IS MATTER-OF-FACT
“Well, I have come back to civilization and all its miseries,” thought Graydon. “I was among scenes that know not Wildmeres or Arnaults. ’Oh, my prophetic soul!’ I felt that there was something wrong, in spite of her superb acting. Sweet Madge, dear sister Madge, as you ever will be to me, the more I think of it the more clearly I see that you are the one who first began to shatter my delusion. Since that morning when I brought you home from your long vigil, and you revealed to me your true, brave heart Stella Wildmere has never seemed the same, and the revolt of my nature has been growing ever since.”
His wish now was to avoid seeing every one until he had met his brother. While the thought of his escape was uppermost in his mind, he was consumed with anxiety to learn the result of Henry’s efforts in town. His commercial instincts were also very strong, and the thought of what might happen fairly made him tremble.
He slipped down a back stairway and out into the darkness, then bent his rapid steps to the depot, at which he arrived half an hour before the train was due. Remembering that excited pacing up and down there would not be very intelligent obedience to his brother’s injunctions, he started down a country road in the direction from which the train would come, and paced to and fro in his strong excitement. At last the train arrived, and his first glimpse of Henry’s face and Madge’s was reassuring. The moment the former saw him he called out, “Hello, Graydon! Have you a trout supper for us?”
“Yes,” was the hearty response; and he hastened forward and shook hands cordially, saying, in an aside, “Oh, Madge! I am so glad to see you again!”
“You are! Tell that to the marines. The length of your stay proves it to be a fish story.”
“Here, Madge, we’ll put you in the stage. I’ll rest myself by walking to the house with Graydon.”
“Henry, you are all right?” said Graydon, eagerly, as soon as they were out of earshot.
“Yes,” was the quiet reply; “I raised the money, paid Arnault in full, and have a good surplus in the bank.”
“Thank Heaven! How did you raise it? How has all this knowledge reached—”
“Patience, Graydon, patience. As soon as you are in the firm I shall have no secrets from you. Until you are, you must let me manage in my old way.”
“I have indeed little claim on your confidence. I have been deceived, and have acted like a fool. But it’s all over now. Henry, you may not believe me, but my nonsense would have ended to-night if I hadn’t received your letter, and all this had not occurred. I had been disgusted with this Arnault business for some time, and had let Miss Wildmere know my views. As I thought it over while away it all grew so detestable to me that I resolved, if Arnault appeared again and renewed his attentions, I would never renew mine. He’s here again, as you may have seen.”