“It was a Mrs. Johnson’s, but she’s dead, and Miss Alice has gone a long ways off. I wish you could see Miss Alice, the most beautiful and the best lady in the world. She and Miss Anna were great friends. She used to be up here every day, and the village folks talked some that she came to see the doctor. But my,” and Pamelia’s face was very expressive of contempt, “she wouldn’t have him, by a great sight. He’s going to be married, though, to a Kentucky belle, with a hundred or more negroes, they say, and mighty big feelin’. But she needn’t bring none of her a’rs nor her darkies here!”
“When does she come?” Adah asked, and Pamelia answered:
“In the spring; so you needn’t begin to dread her. Why, your face is white as paper,” and rather familiarly Pamelia pinched Adah’s marble cheek.
Adah did not mean to be proud, but still she could not help shrinking from the familiarity, drawing back so quickly that Pamelia saw the implied rebuke. She did not ask pardon, but she became at once more respectful.
A moment after Anna’s bell was heard, but Adah paid no heed, till Pamelia said:
“That was Miss Anna’s bell, and it means for you to come.”
Adah colored, and hastily left the room, while Pamelia muttered to herself:
“Ain’t no more a maid than Miss Anna herself. But why has she come here? That’s the mystery. She’s been unfortunate.”
This was the solution in Pamelia’s mind; but the thought went no further than to her better half.
Adah’s feelings at being called just as Lulu and Muggins were at home, had been in a measure shared by Anna, who hesitated several minutes ere touching the bell.
“If she is to be my maid, it will be better for us both not to act under restraint,” she thought, and so rang out the summons which brought Adah to her room.
It was an awkward business, requiring a menial’s service of that ladylike creature, and Anna would have been exceedingly perplexed had not Adah’s good sense come to the rescue, prompting her to do things unasked in such a way that Anna was at once relieved from embarrassment, and felt that in Rose Markham she had found a treasure. She did not join the family in the evening, but kept her room instead, talking with Adah and caressing and playing with little Willie, who persisted in calling her “Arntee,” in spite of all Adah could say.
“Never mind,” Anna answered, laughingly; “I rather like to hear him. No one has ever called me by that name, and maybe never will, though my brother is engaged to be married in the spring. I have a picture of his betrothed there on my bureau. Would you like to see it?”
Adah nodded, and was soon gazing on the dark, haughty face she knew so well, and which, even from the casing, seemed to smile disdainfully upon, her, just as the original had often done.
“What do you think of her?” Anna asked.
Adah must say something, and she replied: