Indignation kept Adelaide silent for a moment, she was sorely tempted to administer a severe and cutting rebuke. But Enna was no longer a child, and controlling herself she calmly delivered Mr. Travilla’s message.
“Oh, delightful! Cousin Elsie always does give such splendid parties, such elegant refreshments!” cried Virginia and Isadore Conly, girls of ten and twelve, “mamma, you’ll never think of declining?”
“No, your grandfather wouldn’t like it,” said Louise, as anxious as her daughters to enjoy the entertainment, yet glad to save her pride, by putting her acceptance on the score of pleasing her father.
“And you’ll go too, and take us, mamma, won’t you?” anxiously queried Molly Percival, who was between her cousins in age.
“Of course I’ll go; we all want our share of the good things, and the pleasure of seeing and being seen,” answered Enna, scorning Louise’s subterfuge; “and if you and Dick will promise to make me no trouble, I’ll take you along. But Bob and Betty may stay at home, I’m not going to be bothered with them,—babies of five and three. But what shall we wear, Lu? I do say it’s real mean in them to give us so short a notice. But of course Elsie enjoys making me feel my changed circumstances. I’ve no such stock of jewels, silks and laces as she, nor the full purse that makes it an easy matter for her to order a fresh supply at a moment’s warning.”
“You have all, and more than the occasion calls for,” remarked Adelaide quietly; “it is to be only a family gathering.”
“Though fools spurn Hymen’s gentle powers,
We, who improve his golden hours,
By sweet experience know
That marriage, rightly understood,
Gives to the tender and the good
A paradise below.”
Mr. Allison had fully kept his promise to Sophie, and Ashlands was again the fine old place it had been prior to the war. The family, consisting of the elder Mrs. Carrington, a young man, named George Boyd, a nephew of hers who had taken charge of the plantation, Sophie and her four children, had now been in possession for over a year.
Sophie, still an almost inconsolable mourner for the husband of her youth, lived a very retired life, devoting herself to his mother and his orphaned little ones.
Mrs. Ross, expecting to spend the fall and winter with them, had brought all her children and a governess, Miss Fisk, who undertook the tuition of the little Carringtons also during her stay at Ashlands, thus leaving the mothers more at liberty for the enjoyment of each other’s society.
It was in the midst of school-hours that the Ion carriage came driving up the avenue, and Philip Ross, lifting his head from the slate over which he had been bending for the last half hour, rose hastily, threw down his pencil and hurried from the room, paying no attention to Miss Fisk’s query, “Where are you going, Philip?” or her command, “Come back instantly: it is quite contrary to rules for pupils to leave the school-room during the hours of recitation, without permission.” Indeed he had reached the foot of the staircase before the last word had left her lips; she being very slow and precise in speech and action, while his movements were of the quickest.