And while he thus resolved, poor Mrs. Worthington at home moved nervously around the house, casting uneasy glances backward, forward, and sideways, as if she were expecting some goblin shape to rise suddenly before her and claim her for its own. They were wretched, uneasy days which followed that visit to Frankfort—days of racking headache to Mrs. Worthington, and days of anxious thought to Hugh, who thus was led in a measure to forget the pain he would otherwise have felt at the memory of Alice’s refusal.
ADAH AT TERRACE HILL
The next morning was cold and frosty, as winter mornings in New England are wont to be, and Adah, accustomed to the more genial climate of Kentucky, shivered involuntarily as from her uncurtained window she looked out upon the bare woods and the frozen fields covered with the snow of yesterday.
Across the track, near to a dilapidated board fence, a family carriage was standing, the driver unnecessarily, as it seemed to Adah—holding the heads of the horses, who neither sheered nor jumped, nor gave other tokens that they feared the hissing engine. She had not seen that carriage when it drove up before the door, nor yet the young man who had alighted from it; but as she stood there, a loud laugh reached her ear, making her start suddenly, it was so like his—like George’s.
“It could not be George,” she said; that were impossible, and yet she crept softly out into the hall, and leaning over the banister, listened eagerly to the sounds from the room below, where a crowd of men were assembled.
The laugh was not repeated, and with a dim feeling of disappointment she went back to the window where on Willie’s neck she wept the tears which always flowed when she thought of George’s desertion. There was a knock at the door, and the baggageman appeared.
“If you please, ma’am,” he began, “the Terrace Hill carriage is here. I told the driver how’t you wanted to go there. Shall I give him your trunk?”
Adah answered in the affirmative, and then hastened to wrap up Willie, glancing again at the carriage, which, now that it was associated with the gentle Anna, looked far better to her than it had at first. She was ready in a moment and descended to the room where Jim, the driver, stood waiting for her.
“A lady,” was his mental comment, and with as much politeness as if she had been Madam Richards herself, he opened the carriage door and held Willie while she entered, asking if she were comfortable, and peering a little curiously in Willie’s face, which puzzled him somewhat. “A near connection, I guess, and mighty pretty too. Them old maids will raise hob with the boy,—nice little shaver,” thought the kind-hearted Jim.
Once, as Adah caught his good-humored eye, she ventured to say to him:
“Has Miss Anna procured a waiting maid yet?”