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Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 239 pages of information about The Maid of Maiden Lane.

“I would not care, nor dare, to venture—­”

“You are a very baby yet.  I am two years older than you.  But indeed you are progressing with some rapidity.  What about George Hyde?”

“You said he had gone out of town.”

“And I am glad of it.  He will not now be insinuating himself with violets, and compelling you to take walks with him on the Battery.  Oh, Cornelia! you see I am not to be put out of your confidence.  Why did you not tell me?”

“You have given me no opportunity; and, as you know all, why should I say any more about it?”

“Cornelia, my dear companion, I fear you are inclined to concealment and to reticence, qualities a young girl should not cultivate—­I am now speaking for dear Sister Maria Beroth—­and I hope you will carefully consider the advantages you will derive from cultivating a more open disposition.”

“You are making a mockery of the good Sisters; and I do not wish to hear you commit such a great fault.  Indeed, I would be pleased to return to their peaceful care again.”

“And wear the little linen cap and collar, and all the other simplicities?  Cornelia!  Cornelia!  You are as fond as I am of French fashions and fripperies.  Let us be honest, if we die for it.  And you may as well tell me all your little coquetries with George Hyde; for I shall be sure to find them out.  Now I am going home; for I must look after the tea-table.  But you will not be sorry, for it will leave you free to think of—­”

“Please, Arenta!”

“Very well.  I will have ‘considerations.’  Good-bye!”

Then the door closed, and Cornelia was left alone.  But the atmosphere of the room was charged with Arenta’s unrest, and a feeling of disappointment was added to it.  She suddenly realized that her lover’s absence from the city left a great vacancy.  What were all the thousands in its streets, if he was not there?  She might now indeed remove her frame from the window; if Hyde was an impossibility, there was no one else she wished to see pass.  And her heart told her the report was a true one; she did not doubt for a moment Arenta’s supposition, that he had gone to Hyde Manor.  But the thought made her lonely.  Something, she knew not what, had altered her life.  She had a new strange happiness, new hopes, new fears and new wishes; but they were not an unmixed delight; for she was also aware of a vague trouble, a want that nothing in her usual duties satisfied:—­in a word, she had crossed the threshold of womanhood and was no longer a girl,

“Singing alone in the morning of life,
 In the happy morning of life, and May.”

CHAPTER IV

THROWING THINGS INTO CONFUSION

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