Wholly useless were the expostulations of the family, for she would not listen to them, nor believe that she would not be welcome at that house on Madison Square, to which even Mrs. Lennox had never been invited since Katy was fairly settled in it. Much at first had been said of her coming, and of the room she was to occupy; but all that had ceased, and in the mother’s heart there had been a painful doubt as to the reason of the silence, until Helen’s letters enlightened her, telling her it was not Katy, for she was still unchanged—was still the loving, impulsive creature who, if she could, would take all Silverton to her arms. It was Wilford who had built so high a wall between Katy and her friends; Wilford who at first had endured Helen because he must, but who now kept her with him from choice, even though she was sometimes greatly in his way, especially when her will clashed with his and her stronger arguments for the right swept his own aside. Far better than she used, did Mrs. Lennox understand her son-in-law, and she shrank in horror from suffering her aunt to go where she would be so serious an annoyance, frankly telling her the reason for her objections, and asking if she wished to mortify the girls.
At this Aunt Betsy took umbrage at once.
“She’d like to know what there was about her to mortify anybody? Wasn’t her black silk dress made long and full, and the old pongee fixed into a Balmoral, and hadn’t she a bran-new cap with purple ribbon, and couldn’t she travel in her delaine, and didn’t she wear hoops always now, except at cleanin’ house times? Didn’t she nuss both the girls, especially Catherine, carrying her in her arms one whole night when she had the canker-rash, and everybody thought she’d die; and when she swallered that tin whistle didn’t she spat her on the back and swing her in the air till she came to and blew the whistle clear across the room? Tell her that Catherine would be ashamed? she knew better!”
Then as a doubt began to cross her own mind as to Wilford’s readiness to entertain her at his house, she continued:
“At any rate, the Tubbses, who moved from Silverton last fall, and who were living in such style on the Bowery, wouldn’t be ashamed, and I can stop with them at first, till I see how the land lies. They have invited me to come, both Miss Tubbs and ’Tilda, and they are nice folks, who belong to the Orthodox Church. Tom is in town now, and if I see him I shall talk with him about it, even if I never go.”