“Fitch furs or not, they rode with Mark Ray on Broadway,” Bell retorted, with a wicked look in her eyes, which aroused Juno to a still higher pitch of anger, so that by the time the carriage stopped at No. ——, the young lady was in a most unamiable frame of mind as regarded both Helen Lennox and the offending Mark.
That evening there was at Mrs. Reynolds’ a little company of thirty or more, and as Mark was present, Juno seized the opportunity for ascertaining, if possible, his real opinion of Helen Lennox, joking him first about his having taken her to ride so soon, and insinuating that he must have a penchant for every new and pretty face.
“Then you think her pretty? You have called on her?” Mark replied, his manner evincing so much pleasure that Juno bit her lip to keep down her wrath, and flashing upon him her scornful eyes, replied: “Yes, Sybil and Bell insisted that I should. Of myself I would never have done it, for I have now more acquaintances than I can attend to, and do not care to increase the list. Besides that, I do not imagine that Miss Lennox can in any way add to my happiness, brought up as she has been among the woods and hills, you know.”
“Yes, I have been there—to her home, I mean,” Mark rejoined, and Juno continued:
“Only for a moment, though. You should have stayed, like Will, to appreciate it fully. I wish you could hear him describe the feather beds in which he slept—that is, describe them before he decided to take Katy; for after that he was chary of his remarks, and the feathers by some marvelous process were changed into hair, for what he knew or cared.”
Mark hesitated a moment, and then said, quietly:
“I have stayed there all night, and have tested that feather bed, but found nothing disparaging to Helen, who was as much a lady in the farmhouse as here in the city.”
There was a look of withering scorn on Juno’s face as she replied:
“As much a lady as here! That may very well be; but, pray, how long since you took to visiting Silverton so frequently—becoming so familiar as to spend the night?”
There was no mistaking the jealousy which betrayed itself into every tone of Juno’s voice as she stood before Mark a fit picture of the enraged goddess whose name she bore. Soon recollecting herself, however, she changed her mode of attack, and said, laughingly:
“Seriously, though, this Miss Lennox seems a very nice girl, and is admirably fitted, I think, for the position she is to fill—that of a country physician’s wife,” and in the black eyes there was a wicked sparkle as Juno saw that her meaning was readily understood, Mark looking quickly at her and asking if she referred to Dr. Grant.
“Certainly; I imagine that was settled as long ago as we met him in Paris. Once I thought it might have been our Katy, but was mistaken. I think the doctor and Miss Lennox well adapted to each other—it is an excellent match.”