Beats the fragrant roses,
She’s admired by all aroun’.
They call her Bloomin’ Caroline,
Of Edinboro Town.”
She played an interlude carelessly.
“Young Henry, being a Highland
A-courting her he came,
And when her parents heard of it
They did not like the same.
She bundled up her costly robes,
The stairs came tripping down,
And away went Bloomin’ Caroline
From Edinboro Town.”
Dermott had risen and stood by the far window, looking into the night. Unseen by him, she touched Frank on the sleeve.
“Do not do anything he asks you to do to-night,” she whispered, with great intensity, and in a minute more was back at the singing.
“They had not been in
For scarcely half a year—”
and before the song ended the two men were joining the refrain, taken out of themselves by her beauty and charm.
For nearly a week after this she saw neither of them again, but her honest soul was fretted by the word she had given against a true friend; so, when she saw Dermott riding along the river-bank, she called to him from the rocks upon which she sat.
“Dermott McDermott,” she cried, “come here!”
He rode through the ferns and undergrowth toward her, as she stood looking up at him with fearless eyes.
“I’ve done something I want to tell you, something you won’t like, for it was going against you; and it makes me feel that I’ve not been quite loyal to you, you that’s always been so good to me, too.” The quick tears filled her eyes as she spoke.
He dismounted to be nearer her, and, putting out his hand, said:
“There’s nothing you could do that’s not forgiven. You hold my heart in the hollow of your hand. What did ye do, child?”
“The other night when I saw you turning Mr. Ravenel the way you wanted by your flattery and your hypnotic presence, I knew ye wished him to do something for you. I knew when you told him how clever he was—cleverer than you were yourself—that it must be something very great to make you admit a thing like that. And when you were not near I warned him against selling you that land. I said: ’Don’t do anything Dermott McDermott wants you to do to-night.” Here she broke into a storm of weeping. “You see, he’s been so kind to me,” she explained.
Dermott stood looking at her with pity and admiration as he put his hand gently on her shoulder.
“Ye did just what was right, little lady; just the thing that any sweet, grateful woman should have done. You understood what I was doing, thought a friend might be cajoled wrongly, and warned him against it. I’m proud of ye for it!” he cried, with enthusiasm. “Proud of you!” he repeated. “And besides,” he added, with a laugh, “it didn’t make the slightest difference. He did it anyhow! We signed the papers to-day!”