“Please register for us,” said Miss Wildmere, glancing carelessly yet observantly around. An intervening group had partially hidden Madge and her sister. It was also evident that Graydon was too much occupied with his fair companion to look far away. He complied, thinking, meantime, “Some day I may register for her again, and then my name will suffice for us both.” The smile which followed the thought brought out the best lines of his handsome profile to poor Madge, who permitted no phase of expression on that face to escape her scrutiny. So true was the clairvoyance of her intense interest that she guessed the thought which was so agreeable to him, and she grew paler still.
Mr. Muir hastened to greet his wife, and then Graydon recognized her. He came at once and kissed her in his accustomed hearty way. Madge stood near, unnoted, unrecognized.
“Where’s Madge? Isn’t she well enough to come down?” he asked, his eyes following Miss Wildmere, who had entered the parlor, which she must cross to reach her room beyond. Mrs. Muir began to laugh immoderately, and Mr. Muir followed his brother’s eyes with vexation. Graydon was on the qui vive instantly, and Madge drew a step nearer and began to smile. For once the punctilious and elegant Graydon forgot his courtesy, and looked at Madge in utter astonishment—an expression, however, which passed swiftly into admiration and delight.
“Madge!” he exclaimed, seizing both her hands. “I couldn’t have believed it. I wouldn’t believe it now but for your eyes;” and before she could prevent him he had placed a kiss upon her lips.
Miss Wildmere had seen the unknown beauty as she passed, had inventoried her with woman’s instantaneous perception, had paused on the distant threshold and seen the greeting, then had vanished with a vindictive flash in her gray eyes.
Graydon’s impetuous words and salute had produced smiles and envious glances, and the family party withdrew into a retired corner of the apartment, Madge’s cheeks, meanwhile, vying, in spite of herself, with the rose on her breast. Graydon would not relinquish her hand, and, as Mrs. Muir had predicted, indulged in little more than exclamation points.
“There now, be rational,” cried the young girl, laughing, her heart for the moment full of gladness and triumph. He was indeed bending upon her looks of admiration, delight, and affection.
“Why have I been kept in the dark about all this?” he at last asked, incoherently.