“Upon my word, Ad, you have improved a heap, in looks I mean. Of course I don’t know about the temper. Spunky as ever, eh?” and he tried to pinch her glowing cheek.
“Pray don’t be foolish,” was ’Lina’s impatient reply, as she drew away from him, and turned, with her blandest smile, to a sprig of a lawyer from Frankfort, who chanced to be there too.
Chilled by her manner, Hugh ordered the carriage, and told her they were ready. Once inside the carriage, and alone with him, ’Lina’s tongue was loosened, and she poured out numberless questions, the first of which was, what they heard from Adah, and if it were true, as her mother had written, that she was at Terrace Hill as Rose Markham, and that no one there knew of her acquaintance with Spring Bank?
Yes, he supposed it was, and he did not like it either. “Ad,” and he turned his honest face full toward her, “does that doctor still believe you rich?”
“How do I know?” ’Lina replied, frowning gloomily. “I’m not to blame if he does. I never told him I was.”
“But your actions implied as much, which amounts to the same thing. It’s all wrong, Ad, all wrong. Even if he loves you, and it is to be hoped he does, he will respect you less when he knows how you deceived him.”
“Hadn’t you better interfere and set the matter right?” asked ’Lina, now really aroused.
“I did think of doing so once,” Hugh rejoined, but ere he could say more, ’Lina grasped his arm fiercely, her face dark with passion as she exclaimed:
“Hugh, if you meddle, you’ll rue the day. It’s my own affair, and I know what I’m doing.”
“I do not intend to meddle, though I encouraged Adah in her wild plan of going to Terrace Hill, because I thought they would learn from her just how rich we are. But Adah has foolishly taken another name, and says nothing of Spring Bank. I don’t like it, neither does Miss Johnson. Indeed, I sometimes think she is more anxious than I am.”
“Miss Johnson,” and ’Lina spoke disdainfully, “I’d thank her to mind her own business. Hugh, you are getting a ministerial kind of look, and you have not sworn at me once since we met. I guess Alice has converted you. Well, I only hope you’ll not backslide.”
’Lina laughed hatefully, and evidently expected an outburst of passion, but though Hugh turned very white, he made her no reply, and they proceeded on in silence, until they came in sight of Spring Bank, when ’Lina broke out afresh.
Such a tumble-down shanty as that. It was not fit for decent people to live in, and mercy knew she was glad her sojourn there was to be short.
“You are not alone in that feeling,” came dryly from Hugh.
’Lina said he was a very affectionate brother; that she was glad there were those who appreciated her, even if he did not, and then the carriage stopped at Spring Bank. Mrs. Worthington was hearty in her welcome, for her mother heart went out warmly toward her daughter. Oh, what airs ’Lina did put on, offering the tips of her fingers to good Aunt Eunice, trying to patronize Alice herself, and only noticing Densie Densmore with a haughty stare.