She was therefore greatly pleased when, on entering the parlor one morning on her return from a drive, she found Mr. Mason there waiting for an interview.
“You are not direct from Viamede!” she asked, when they had exchanged a cordial greeting.
“No, Mrs. Travilla,” he answered; “I stayed as long as I could, but not being willing to go into the army, was finally compelled to leave. That was more than two years ago. But I received a letter from Spriggs only yesterday, written from the estate. He was in the Confederate service; and when the struggle was over, went back to Viamede.
“He says it was not visited by either army, and has suffered only from neglect. The old house-servants are still there—Aunt Phillis, Aunt Sally, and the rest; many of the field hands, too, occupying their old quarters, but looking ragged and forlorn enough.
“They are willing to work for wages, and Spriggs begs of me to find out where you are, and tell you that, if you wish it and will furnish the means, he will hire them, and do the best he can to restore the place and make it profitable to you.
“I saw your name in the list of arrivals by a late steamer, and with some little painstaking, at length learned where you were.”
“I am very glad you have come, Mr. Mason; and I am inclined to think well of Mr. Spriggs’ proposition,” Elsie answered; “but I must consult my—Ah, here they are!” as the husband and father entered the room together.
The matter was under discussion for the next half-hour, when it was decided to accept Mr. Spriggs’ proposal, for the present at least.
Elsie then said to Mr. Mason that she hoped he was not engaged, as she would be glad to have him return to Viamede and resume his former duties there.
He colored and laughed, as he answered, “I am engaged, Mrs. Travilla, though not in the sense you mean, and shall be glad to comply with your wish, if you do not object to my taking a wife with me.”
“Not at all,” she answered, smiling; “the Bible says, ’it is not good for man to be alone,’ and I hope you will be all the happier and more useful in the Master’s service for having a better-half with you. A suite of rooms shall be placed at your service and your wants attended to as formerly.”
Mr. Mason returned warm thanks for her kindness, and took his departure, evidently well-pleased with the result of his call.
Misery, murder, and crime;
Crime, murder, and woe.”
The Travillas accompanied Miss Stanhope on her return to Lansdale, and were there to assist at the reception of Harry and his bride. After that, a few weeks were spent by them with Mr. and Mrs. Ross.
They then returned to Elmgrove, where, detained, partly by business matters, partly by Harold’s condition and his earnest wish to have them all near him to the last, they lingered until September.