“Come upstairs,” she said, holding Uncle Ephraim’s hand, and leading him to the parlor, while the first tears she had shed since she knew she was deserted rained in torrents over her face.
“What is it, Katy-did? I mistrusted something was wrong. What has happened?” Uncle Ephraim asked, and with his arm thrown protectingly around her, Katy told him what had happened, and then asking what she should do.
“Do?” the old man repeated. “Go home with me to your own folks until he comes from the wars. He is your husband, and I shall say nothing agin’ him, but if it was to do over I would forbid the banns. That chap has misused you the wust way. You need not deny it, for it’s writ all over your face,” he continued, as Katy tried to stop him, for sore as was her heart with the great injustice done her, she would not have Wilford blamed.
He was her husband still, and she had loved him so fondly that, whether worthy or not of her love, she could not turn from him so soon.
“I wrote to Helen yesterday, so they will be prepared for me,” she said, anxious to change the conversation, and feeling glad when dinner was announced.
Leading him to the table, she presented him to Juno, whose cold nod and haughty stare were lost on the old man presiding with so much patriarchal dignity at the table, and bowing his white head so reverently as he asked the first blessing which had ever been said at that table, except as Helen or Morris had breathed a prayer of thanks for the bounty provided.
It had not been a house of prayer—no altar had been erected for the morning and evening sacrifice. God had almost been forgotten, and now He was pouring His wrath upon the handsome dwelling, making it so distasteful that Katy was anxious to leave it, and expressed her willingness to accompany Uncle Ephraim to Silverton as soon as the necessary arrangements could be made.
“I don’t take it she comes for good,” Uncle Ephraim said that evening, when Mr. Cameron, to whom she referred the matter, opposed her going, “for when the two years are gone, and her man wants her back, as he will, she must come, of course. But she grows poor here in the city. It don’t agree with her like the scent of the clover and the breeze from the hills. So, shet up the house for a spell, and let the child come with me.”
Mr. Cameron knew that Katy would be happier at Silverton, and though he disliked to part with her, he finally consented to her going, and placed at her disposal a sum which seemed to the deacon a little fortune in itself.
In the kitchen there were sad faces when the servants heard of the arrangement which was to deprive them not only of a pleasant home, but of a mistress whom they both respected and loved. Esther pleaded hard to go with Katy, and only the latter’s promise that possibly she might come by and by was of any avail to stay the tears which dropped so fast as she put up her mistress’ dresses, designed for Silverton, and laid away the gayer, richer ones, which would be so sadly out of place upon her now.