They came, and listened quietly, while Mrs. Richards sanctioned their engagement, and then, with a little eulogy upon her departed son, said to Adah: “You will wait a year, of course. It will not be proper before.”
Irving had hoped for only six months’ probation, but Adah was satisfied with the year, and they went from Mrs. Richards’ presence with the feeling that Providence was indeed smiling upon their pathway, and flooding it with sunshine.
The next day Major Stanley left Snowdon, but not until there had come to Hugh a letter, whose handwriting made Mrs. Worthington turn pale, it brought back so vividly the terror of the olden times. It was from Murdock, and it inclosed for Densie Densmore the sum of five hundred dollars.
“Should she need more, I will try and supply it,” he wrote, “for I have wronged her cruelly.” Then, after speaking of his fruitless search for Adah, and his hearing at last that she was found and Dr. Richards dead, he added: “As there is nothing left for me to do, and as I am sure to be playing mischief if idle, I have joined the army, and am training a band of contrabands to fight as soon as the government comes to its senses, and is willing for the negroes to bear their part in the battle.”
The letter ended with saying that he should never come out of the war alive, simply because it would last until he was too old to live any longer.
It was a relief for Mrs. Worthington to hear from him, and know that he probably would not trouble her again, while Adah, whose memories of him were pleasanter, expressed a strong desire to see him.
“We will find him by and by, when you are mine,” Irving said playfully; then, drawing her into an adjoining room where they could be alone, he said his parting words, and then with Hugh went to meet the train which took him away from Snowdon.
The New England hills were tinged with that peculiar purplish haze so common to the Indian summer time, and the warm sunlight of November fell softly upon Snowdon, whose streets this morning were full of eager, expectant people, all hurrying on to the old brick church, and quickening their steps with every stroke of the merry bell, pealing so joyfully from the tall, dark tower. The Richards’ carriage was out, and waiting before the door of the Riverside Cottage, for the appearance of Anna, who was this morning to venture out for a short time, and leaving her baby Hugh alone. Another, and far handsomer carriage, was standing before the hotel, where Hugh and his mother were yet stopping, and where, in a pleasant private room, Adah Richards helped Alice Johnson make her neat, tasteful toilet, smoothing lovingly the rich folds of grayish-colored silk, arranging the snowy cuffs and collar, and then bringing the stylish hat of brown Neapolitan, with its pretty face trimmings