“That was Harney?” Alice said, stopping a moment outside the gate to look after him as he went tearing down the pike.
“Yes, that was Harney,” Hugh replied. “There’s a political meeting of some kind in Versailles to-day, and I suppose he is going there to raise his voice with those who are denouncing the Republicans so bitterly, and threatening vengeance if they succeed.”
“The South will hardly be foolish enough to secede. Why, the North would crush them at once,” returned Alice, still looking after Harney, as if she knew she were gazing after one destined to figure conspicuously in the fast approaching rebellion, his very name a terror and dread to the loyal, peace-loving citizens of Kentucky.
HUGH AND ALICE
Three weeks had passed away since that memorable ride. Mr. Liston, after paying to the proper recipients the money due for Mosside, had returned to Boston, leaving the neighborhood to gossip of Alice’s generosity, and to wonder how much she was worth. It was a secret yet that Lulu and Muggins were hers, but the story of Rocket was known, and numerous were the surmises as to what would be the result of her daily, familiar intercourse with Hugh. Already was the effect of her presence visible in his improved appearance, his gentleness of manner, his care to observe all the little points of etiquette never practiced by him before, and his attention to his own personal appearance. His trousers were no longer worn inside his boots, or his soft hat jammed into every conceivable shape, while Ellen Tiffton, who came often to Spring Bank, and was supposed to be good authority, pronounced him almost as stylish looking as any man in Woodford.
To Hugh, Alice was everything, and he did not know himself how much he loved her, save when he thought of Irving Stanley, and then the keen, sharp pang of jealous pain which wrung his heart told him how strong was the love he bore her. And Alice, in her infatuation concerning the mysterious Golden Hair, did much to feed the flame. He was to her like a beloved brother; indeed, she had one day playfully entered into a compact with him that she should be his sister, and never dreaming of the mischief she was doing, she treated him with all the familiarity of a pure, loving sister. It was Alice who rode with him almost daily. It was Alice who sang his favorite songs. It was Alice who brought his armchair in the evening when his day’s work was over; Alice who worked his slippers; Alice who brushed his coat when he was going to town; Alice who sometimes tied his cravat, standing on tiptoe, with her fair face so fearfully near to his that all his powers of self-denial were needed to keep from touching his lips to the smooth brow gleaming so white and fair before his eyes.