Alice could not promise till she had talked with Mrs. Worthington, whose anxiety to go North was even greater than her own. They would be nearer to Hugh, and by going to Washington would probably see him, she said, while it seemed that she should by some means be brought near to her daughter, of whom no tidings had been received as yet. So it was arranged that Mrs. Worthington, Alice and Densie, together with Lulu and Sam, should start at once for Snowdon, where Alice would leave a part of her charge, herself and Mrs. Worthington going on to Washington in hopes of meeting or hearing directly from Hugh. Aunt Eunice and Mug were to remain with Colonel Tiffton, who promised to look after the Spring Bank negroes.
Accordingly, one week after the fire, Alice found herself at the same station in Lexington where once Hugh Worthington, to her unknown, had waited for her coming. The morning papers were just out, and securing one for herself, she entered the car and read the following announcement:
“DIED, at his country residence,
from the effect of a shot received
while dastardly attacking a house belonging to Unionists, Robert
Harney, Esq., aged thirty-three.”
With a shudder Alice pointed out the paragraph to Mrs. Worthington, and laying her head upon her hand prayed silently that there might come a speedy end to the horrors entailed by the cruel war.
Sweet Anna Millbrook’s eyes were dim with tears, and her heart was sore with pain when told that Alice Johnson, was waiting for her in the parlor below. Only the day before had she heard of her brother’s disgrace, feeling as she heard it, how much rather she would that he had died ere there were so many stains upon his name. But Alice would comfort her, and she hastened to meet her. Sitting down beside her, she talked with her long of all that had transpired since last they met; talked, too, of Adah, and then of Willie, who was sent for, and at Alice’s request taken by her to the hotel, where Mrs. Worthington was stopping. He had grown to be a most beautiful and engaging child, and Mrs. Worthington justly felt a thrill of pride as she clasped him to her bosom, weeping over him passionately. She could scarcely bear to lose him from her sight, and when later in the day Anna came down for him, she begged hard for him to stay. But Willie was rather shy of his new grandmother, and preferred returning with Mrs. Millbrook, who promised that he should come every day so long as Mrs. Worthington remained at the hotel.
As soon as Mrs. Richards learned that Mrs. Worthington and Alice were in town, she insisted upon their coming to Terrace Hill. There was room enough, she said, and her friends were welcome there for as long a time as they chose to stay. There were the pleasant chambers fitted up for ’Lina, they had never been occupied, and Mrs. Worthington could have them as well as not; or better yet—could take Anna’s old chamber, with the little room adjoining, where Adah used to sleep. Mrs. Worthington preferred the latter, and removed with Alice at Terrace Hill, while at Anna’s request Densie went to the Riverside Cottage, where she used to live, and where she was much happier than she would have been with strangers.