But she could not stand there long without answering, and so she ventured at last to say:
“Yes, I found Mrs. Wilford Cameron’s note, and came around as she requested.”
There was nothing objectionable in that remark, while the voice was very, very sweet and musical, so musical, indeed, so like a voice heard before, that Mrs. Cameron involuntarily went a step nearer to the stranger, and even thought of calling up a servant to light the gas. But that would perhaps be too great a civility, or at least betoken too great a curiosity, and so she forebore, while she began to question Marian of her own and Mrs. Hubbell’s antecedents. Both were English, both had worked upon the Isle of Wight, and later in New York, at Madam ——’s; one had married, living now in New London, and the other Stood there as Marian Hazelton, puzzling and bewildering Mrs. Cameron, who tried to recall the person of whom she was reminded by that voice and that manner, so wholly ladylike and refined.
Marian Hazelton pleased her, as was apparent from her expressing a wish that “as far as practicable Miss Hazelton should take charge of the child. We cannot tell how early life-long impression may be made, and it is desirable that they be of the right nature, and wholly in accordance with refinement and good-breeding.”
There was a curl on Marian’s lip as she remembered another meeting with the proud lady whose words were not as complimentary as now, but she merely bent her head in supposed acquiescence to the belief that Baby Cameron was, or soon would be, capable of discriminating between a nurse refined and one the opposite. There was a moment’s silence and then Marian asked if baby had been christened?
“Not yet, we cannot decide upon a name,” was the reply, while Marian continued:
“I understood your daughter that it was to be Genevra.”
Marian Hazelton was growing too familiar, and so the lady deigned no answer, but stepped a little to one side, as if she would thus indicate that the conference was ended.
Dropping her veil entirely over her face, for the servant was now lighting the parlor lamps, Marian turned toward the door which Mrs. Cameron opened, and she passed out just as up the steps came Wilford, Marian’s skirts brushing him as she passed, and her heart beating painfully as she thought of her escape and began to realize the danger she incurred when she accepted the office of partial nurse to his child.
“Dark, mother? How is that? Why is the hall not lighted?” she heard him say, and the old, familiar tones, so little changed, vibrated sadly in her ear, as she dashed away a tear, and then hurried on through the darkened streets toward her humble home, so different from the Cameron’s.
“Who was that, mother?” Wilford said, expressing regret that he had not happened in a little earlier, so as to have seen her himself, and asking what his mother thought of her.