“I thought to be a governess or waiting maid,” and Adah’s lip began to quiver. Then she told how her letter had been carelessly forgotten.
“Do you remember the address?” and Alice waited curiously for the answer.
“Yes, ‘A.E.R. Snowdon.’ You came from Snowdon Miss Johnson, and I’ve wanted so much to ask if you knew ‘A.E.R.,’ but have never dared talk freely with you till to-day.”
Alice was confounded. Surely the leadings of Providence were too plainly evident to be unnoticed. There was a reason why Adah Hastings must go to Anna Richards, and Alice hastened to reply: “‘A.E.R.’ is no less a person than Anna Richards whose mother and brother are now at Saratoga.”
“Oh, I can’t go there. They are too proud. They would hate me for Willie, and ask me for his father.”
Very gently Alice talked to her of Snowdon and Anna Richards, whom Adah was sure to like.
“I’m so glad for your sake that it has come around at last,” she said. “Will you write to her to-day, or shall I for you? Perhaps I had better!”
“Oh, no, I would rather go unannounced—rather Miss Anna should like me for my self, if I go,” and Adah’s voice trembled, for she shrank nervously from the thought of meeting the Richards family.
If ’Lina liked the old lady, she certainly could not, and the very thought of these elder sisters, in all their primness, dismayed and disheartened her.
While this was passing through her mind, she sat twining Willie’s silken curls around her finger, and apparently listening to what Alice was now saying of Dr. Richards; but Alice might as well have talked to the winds for any impression she made. Adah was looking far into the future, wondering what it had in store for her, as if in Anna Richards she would indeed find the sympathizing friend which Alice said she would. Gradually, as she thought of Anna, her heart went out strangely toward her.
“I will go to Miss Richards,” she said at last; “but I cannot go till Hugh is better, till he knows and approves. I must take his blessing with me. Do you think it will be long before he regains his reason?”
Alice could not tell.
“Do you correspond with Miss Richards?” Adah suddenly asked.
“No. I will send a note of introduction by you, though.”
“Please don’t,” and Adah spoke pleadingly. “I should have to give it if you did, and I’d rather go by myself. I know it would be better to have your influence, but it is a fancy of mine not to say that I ever knew you or any one at Spring Bank.”
Now it was settled that Adah should go, she felt a restless, impatient desire to be gone, questioning the doctor closely with regard to Hugh, who, it seemed to her, would never awaken from the state of unconsciousness into which he had fallen, and from which he only rallied for an instant, just long enough to recognize his mother, but never Alice or herself, both of whom watched over him day and night.