Grace would rather she should go anywhere else, but she did not say so to Arthur. She merely replied that Edith was conceited enough to think Mr. Harrington pleased with her just because he had sometimes talked to her when she carried him flowers.
“But of course he don’t care for her,” she said. “What could a blind man do with a child like her? Besides, after what has occurred, I could not conscientiously give her a good name.”
Arthur involuntarily gave an incredulous whistle, which spoke volumes of comfort to the little girl weeping so passionately by the window, and watching with longing eyes the Collingwood carriage now passing from her view.
“We must go or be left,” said Arthur, approaching her gently, and whispering to her not to cry.
“Good bye, Edith,” said Mrs. Atherton, putting out her jewelled band; but Edith would not touch it, and in a tone of voice which sank deep into the proud woman’s heart, she answered:
“You’ll be sorry for this some time.”
Old Rachel was in great distress, for Edith was her pet; and winding her black arms about her neck, she wept over her a simple, heartfelt blessing, and then, as the carriage drove from the gate, ran back to her neglected churning, venting her feelings upon the dasher, which she set down so vigorously that the rich cream flew in every direction, bespattering the wall, the window, the floor, the stove, and settling in large white flakes upon her tawny skin and tall blue turban.
Passing through the kitchen, Grace saw it all, but offered no remonstrance, for she knew what had prompted movements so energetic on the part of odd old Rachel. She, too, was troubled, and all that, day she was conscious of a feeling of remorse which kept whispering to her of a great wrong done the little girl whose farewell words were ringing in her ear: “You’ll be sorry for this some time.”
Arthur and Edith.
If anything could have reconciled Edith to her fate, it would have been the fact that she was travelling with Arthur St. Claire, who, after entering the cars, cared for her as tenderly as if she had been a lady of his own rank, instead of a little disgraced waiting maid, whom he was taking back, to the Asylum. It was preposterous, he thought, for Grace to call one as young as Edith a waiting maid, but it was like her, he knew. It had a lofty sound, and would impress some people with a sense of her greatness; so he could excuse it much more readily than the injustice done to the child by charging her with a crime of which he knew she was innocent. This it was, perhaps, which made him so kind to her, seeking to divert her mind from her grief by asking her many questions concerning herself and her family. But Edith did not care to talk. All the way to Albany she continued crying; and when, at last, they stood within the noisy depot, Arthur saw that the tears were still rolling down her cheeks like rain.