“At church,” was Anna’s reply. “She is always there, and their pew joins ours.”
Dr. Richards was exceedingly vain, and his vanity manifested itself from the tie of his neckerchief down to the polish of his boots. Once, had Hugh Worthington known him intimately, he would have admitted that there was at least one man whose toilet occupied quite as much time as Adaline’s. In Paris the vain doctor had indulged in the luxury of a valet, carefully keeping it a secret from his mother and sisters, who were often compelled to deny themselves that the money he asked for so often might be forthcoming. But that piece of extravagance was over now; he dared not bring his valet home, though he sadly wished him there as he meditated upon the appearance he would make in church next Sabbath. He was glad there was something new and interesting in Snowdon in the shape of a pretty girl, for he did not care to return at once to New York, where he had intended practicing his profession. There were too many sad memories clustering about that city to make it altogether desirable, but Dr. Richards was not yet a hardened wretch, and thoughts of another than Alice Johnson, with her glorious hair and still more glorious figure, crowded upon his mind as on that first evening of his return, he sat answering questions and asking others of his own.
It was late ere the family group broke up, and the storm, beating so furiously upon Spring Bank, was just making its voice heard around Terrace Hill mansion, when the doctor took the lamp the servant brought, and bidding his mother and sisters good-night, ascended the stairs whither Anna had gone before him. She was not, however, in bed, and called softly to him:
“John, Brother John, come in a moment, please.”
ANNA AND JOHN
He found her in a tasteful gown, its heavy tassels almost sweeping the floor, while her long, glossy hair, loosened from its confinement of ribbon and comb, covered her neck and shoulders as she sat before the fire always kindled in her room.
“How picturesque you look,” he said, gayly.
“John,” and Anna’s voice was soft and pleasing, “was Charlie greatly changed? Tell me, please.”
“I was so young in the days when he came wooing that I hardly remember how he used to look. I should not have known him, but my impression is that he looks about as well as men of forty usually look.”
“Not forty, John, only thirty-eight,” Anna interposed.
“Well, thirty-eight, then. You remember his age remarkably well,” John said, laughingly, adding: “Did you once love him very much?”
“Yes,” and Anna’s voice faltered a little.
“Why didn’t you marry him, then?”
John spoke excitedly, and the flush deepened on his cheek when Anna answered meekly:
“Why didn’t you marry that poor girl?”