There was no use in denying it, no use in lulling and coaxing her conscience any longer, it had been for one whole week in a new atmosphere; it had roused itself; it was not thoroughly awake as yet, but restless and nervous and on the alert—and would not be hushed back into its lethargic state.
This it was which made Ester the uncomfortable companion which she was this morning. She was not willing to be shaken and roused; she had been saying very unkind, rude things to Abbie, and now, instead of flouncing off in an uncontrollable fit of indignation, which course Ester could but think would be the most comfortable thing which could happen next, so far as she was concerned, Abbie sat still, with that look of meek inquiry on her face, humbly awaiting her verdict. How Ester wished she had never asked that last question! How ridiculous it would make her appear, after all that had been said, to admit that her cousin’s life had been one continual reproach of her own; that concerning this very matter of the concert, she had heard Uncle Ralph remark that if all the world matched what they did with what they said, as well as Abbie did, he was not sure but he might be a Christian himself. Then suppose she should add that this very pointed remark had been made to her when they were on their way to the concert in question.
Altogether, Ester was disgusted and wished she could get back to where the conversation commenced, feeling certain now that she would leave a great many things unsaid.
I do not know how the conversation would have ended, whether Ester could have brought herself to the plain truth, and been led on and on to explain the unrest and dissatisfaction of her own heart, and thus have saved herself much of the sharp future in store for her; but one of those unfortunate interruptions which seem to finite eyes to be constantly occurring, now came to them. There was an unusual bang to the front door, the sound of strange footsteps in the hall, the echo of a strange voice floated up to her, and Abbie, with a sudden flinging of thimble and scissors, and an exclamation of “Ralph has come,” vanished.
THE LITTLE CARD.
Left to herself, Ester found her train of thought so thoroughly disagreeable that she hastened to rid herself of it, and seized upon the new comer to afford her a substitute.
This cousin, whom she had expected to influence for good, had at last arrived. Ester’s interest in him had been very strong ever since that evening of her arrival, when she had been appealed to to use her influence on him—just in what way she hadn’t an idea. Abbie had never spoken of it since, and seemed to have lost much of her eager desire that the cousins should meet. Ester mused about all this now; she wished she knew just in what way she was expected to be of benefit. Abbie was evidently troubled about him. Perhaps he was