This afternoon he looked at his visitor with a wondering speculation. There was something in her face, and manner, and voice, he had never before seen or heard, and madame—who watched every expression of her husband—was easily led to the same observation. She observed Cornelia closely, and her gay laugh especially revealed some change. It was like the burst of bird song in early spring, and she followed the happy girl to the front door, and called her back when she had gone down the steps, and said, as she looked earnestly in her face—
“You have heard from Joris Hyde? I know you have!” and Cornelia nodded her head, and blushed, and smiled, and ran away from further question.
When she reached home she found Madame Van Heemskirk sitting with her mother, and the sweet old lady rose to meet her, and said before Cornelia could utter a word:
“Come to me, Cornelia. This morning a letter we have had from my Joris, and sorry am I that I did thee so much wrong.”
“Madame, I have long ago forgotten it; and there was a mistake all round,” answered Cornelia, cheerfully.
“That is so—and thy mistake first of all. Hurry is misfortune; even to be happy, it is not wise to hurry. Listen now! Joris has written to his grandfather, and also to me, and very busy he will keep us both. His grandfather is to look after the stables and the horses, and to buy more horses, and to hire serving men of all kinds. And a long letter also I have had from my daughter Katherine, and she tells me to make her duty to thee my duty. That is my pleasure also, and I have been talking with thy mother about the house. Now I shall go there, and a very pleasant home I shall make it. Many things Joris will bring with him—two new carriages and much fine furniture—and I know not what else beside.”
Then Cornelia kissed madame, and afterwards removed her bonnet; and madame looked at her smiling. The vivid coral in her dark hair, the modest grey dress with its knots of colour, and above all the lovely face alight with love and hope, delighted her.
“Very pretty art thou, very pretty indeed!” she said, impulsively; and then she added, “Many other girls are very pretty also, but my Joris loves thee, and I am glad that it is thee, and very welcome art thou to me, and very proud is my husband of thee. And now I must go, because there is much to do, and little time to do it in.”
For nearly a week Cornelia was too busy to take Arenta into her consideration. She did not care to tell her about Rem’s cruel and dishonourable conduct, and she was afraid the shrewd little Marquise would divine some change, and get the secret out of her. Indeed, Arenta was not long in suspecting something unusual in the Doctor’s household— the number of parcels and of work people astonished her; and she was not a little offended at Madame Van Heemskirk spending a whole afternoon so near to her, and “never even,” as she said to her father, “turning her head this way.” For Arenta had drunk a rather long draught of popular interest, and she could not bear to believe it was declining. Was she not the American heroine of 1793? It was almost a want of patriotism in Madame Van Heemskirk to neglect her.