For only one Sabbath had Adah graced the Richards’ pew, and then it was all Jim’s work. He had driven his wife and Adah first to church, as the day was stormy, and ere returning for the ladies, had escorted Adah up the aisle and turned her into the family pew, where she sat unconscious of the admiring looks cast upon her by those already assembled, or of the indignant astonishment of Miss Asenath and Eudora when they found that for one half day at least they must he disgraced by sitting with their servant. Very haughtily the scandalized ladies swept up the aisle, stopping suddenly at the pew door as if waiting for Adah to leave; but she only drew back further into the corner, while Willie held up to Asenath the picture he had found in her velvet-bound prayer book.
Alas! for the quiet hour Adah had hoped to spend, hallowed by thoughts that the dear ones at Spring Bank were mingling in the same service. She could not even join in the responses at first for the bitterness at her heart, the knowing how much she was despised by the proud ladies beside her.
Very close she kept Willie at her side, allowing him occasionally as he grew tired to stand upon the cushion, a proceeding highly offensive to the Misses Richards and highly gratifying to the row of tittering schoolgirls in the seat behind him. Willie always attracted attention, and numerous were the compliments paid to his infantile beauty by the younger portion of the congregation, while the older ones, they who remembered the doctor when a boy, declared that Willie Markham was exactly like him, when standing in the seat he kept the children in continual excitement by his restless movements and pretty baby ways.
The fire burned brightly in Anna’s room when Adah returned from church, and Anna herself was waiting for her, welcoming her back with a smile which went far toward removing the pain still heavy at her heart. Anna saw something was the matter, but it was her sisters who enlightened her as together they ate their Sunday dinner in the little breakfast room where Anna joined them.
“Such impudence,” Eudora said. “She had not heard one word of Mr. Howard’s sermon, for keeping her book and dress and fur away from that little torment.”
Then followed the story in detail, how “Markham had sat in their seat, parading herself up there just for show, while Willie had kissed the picture of little Samuel in Asenath’a book and left thereon the print of his lips. If Anna would have a maid, they did wish she would get one not quite so affected as Markham, one who did not try to attract attention by assuming the airs of a lady,” and with this the secret was out.
Adah was too pretty, too stylish, to suit the prim Eudora, who felt keenly how she must suffer by comparison with her sister’s waiting maid. Even unsuspicious Anna saw the point, and smiling archly asked “what she could do to make Rose less attractive.”