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Title: Maggie Miller
Author: Holmes, Mary Jane, 1825-1907
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Maggie Miller" ***

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Author of "Lena Rivers," "Tempest and Sunshine," "English Orphans,"
"Dora Deane," etc., etc.

"Lead us not into temptation."
































'Mid the New England hills, and beneath the shadow of their dim old
woods, is a running brook whose deep waters were not always as merry
and frolicsome as now; for years before our story opens, pent up and
impeded in their course, they dashed angrily against their prison
walls, and turned the creaking wheel of an old sawmill with a sullen,
rebellious roar. The mill has gone to decay, and the sturdy men who
fed it with the giant oaks of the forest are sleeping quietly in the
village graveyard. The waters of the mill-pond, too, relieved from
their confinement, leap gayly over the ruined dam, tossing for a
moment in wanton glee their locks of snow-white foam, and then flowing
on, half fearfully as it were, through the deep gorge overhung with
the hemlock and the pine, where the shadows of twilight ever lie, and
where the rocks frown gloomily down upon the stream below, which,
emerging from the darkness, loses itself at last in the waters of the
gracefully winding Chicopee, and leaves far behind the moss-covered
walls of what is familiarly known as the "Old House by the Mill."

'Tis a huge, old-fashioned building, distant nearly a mile from the
public highway, and surrounded so thickly by forest trees that the
bright sunlight, dancing merrily midst the rustling leaves above,
falls but seldom on the time-stained walls of dark gray stone, where
the damp and dews of more than a century have fallen, and where now
the green moss clings with a loving grasp, as if 'twere its rightful
resting-place. When the thunders of the Revolution shook the hills of
the Bay State, and the royal banner floated in the evening breeze,
the house was owned by an old Englishman who, loyal to his king and
country, denounced as rebels the followers of Washington. Against
these, however, he would not raise his hand, for among them were many
long-tried friends who had gathered with him around the festal board;
so he chose the only remaining alternative, and went back to his
native country, cherishing the hope that he should one day return to
the home he loved so well, and listen again to the musical flow of the
brook, which could be distinctly heard from the door of the mansion.
But his wish was vain, for when at last America was free and the
British troops recalled, he slept beneath the sod of England, and the
old house was for many years deserted. The Englishman had been greatly
beloved, and his property was unmolested, while the weeds and grass
grew tall and rank in the garden beds, and the birds of heaven built
their nests beneath the projecting roof or held a holiday in the
gloomy, silent rooms.

As time passed on, however, and no one appeared to dispute their
right, different families occupied the house at intervals, until at
last, when nearly fifty years had elapsed, news was one day received
that Madam Conway, a granddaughter of the old Englishman, having met
with reverses at home, had determined to emigrate to the New World,
and remembering the "House by the Mill," of which she had heard so
much, she wished to know if peaceable possession of it would be
allowed her, in case she decided upon removing thither and making it
her future home. To this plan no objection was made, for the aged
people of Hillsdale still cherished the memory of the hospitable old
man whose locks were gray while they were yet but children, and the
younger portion of the community hoped for a renewal of the gayeties
which they had heard were once so common at the old stone house.

But in this they were disappointed, for Madam Conway was a proud,
unsociable woman, desiring no acquaintance whatever with her
neighbors, who, after many ineffectual attempts at something like
friendly intercourse, concluded to leave her entirely alone, and
contented themselves with watching the progress of matters at "Mill
Farm," as she designated the place, which soon began to show visible
marks of improvement. The Englishman was a man of taste, and Madam
Conway's first work was an attempt to restore the grounds to something
of their former beauty. The yard and garden were cleared of weeds,
the walks and flower-beds laid out with care, and then the neighbors
looked to see her cut away a few of the multitude of trees which had
sprung up around her home. But this she had no intention of doing.
"They shut me out," she said, "from the prying eyes of the vulgar, and
I would rather it should be so." So the trees remained, throwing their
long shadows upon the high, narrow windows, and into the large square
rooms, where the morning light and the noonday heat seldom found
entrance, and which seemed like so many cold, silent caverns, with
their old-fashioned massive furniture, their dark, heavy curtains, and
the noiseless footfall of the stately lady, who moved ever with the
same measured tread, speaking always softly and low to the household
servants, who, having been trained in her service, had followed her
across the sea.

From these the neighbors learned that Madam Conway had in London
a married daughter, Mrs. Miller; that old Hagar Warren, the
strange-looking woman who more than anyone else shared her mistress'
confidence, had grown up in the family, receiving a very good
education, and had nursed their young mistress, Miss Margaret, which
of course entitled her to more respect than was usually bestowed upon
menials like her; that Madam Conway was very aristocratic, very proud
of her high English blood; that though she lived alone she attended
strictly to all the formalities of high life, dressing each day with
the utmost precision for her solitary dinner--dining off a service
of solid silver, and presiding with great dignity in her straight,
high-backed chair. She was fond, too, of the ruby wine, and her cellar
was stored with the choicest liquors, some of which she had brought
with her from home, while others, it was said, had belonged to
her grandfather, and for half a century had remained unseen and
unmolested, while the cobwebs of time had woven around them a misty
covering, making them still more valuable to the lady, who knew full
well how age improved such things.

Regularly each day she rode in her ponderous carriage, sometimes alone
and sometimes accompanied by Hester, the daughter of old Hagar, a
handsome, intelligent-looking girl, who, after two or three years
of comparative idleness at Mill Farm, went to Meriden, Conn., as
seamstress in a family which had advertised for such a person. With
her departed the only life of the house, and during the following year
there ensued a monotonous quiet, which was broken at last for Hagar by
the startling announcement that her daughter's young mistress had died
four months before, and the husband, a gray-haired, elderly man, had
proved conclusively that he was in his dotage by talking of marriage
to Hester, who, ere the letter reached her mother, would probably be
the third bride of one whose reputed wealth was the only possible
inducement to a girl like Hester Warren.

With an immense degree of satisfaction Hagar read the letter through,
exulting that fortune had favored her at last. Possessed of many
sterling qualities, Hagar Warren had one glaring fault, which had
imbittered her whole life. Why others were rich while she was poor she
could not understand, and her heart rebelled at the fate which had
made her what she was.

But Hester would be wealthy--nay, would perhaps one day rival the
haughty Mrs. Miller across the water, who had been her playmate; there
was comfort in that, and she wrote to her daughter expressing her
entire approbation, and hinting vaguely of the possibility that she
herself might some time cease to be a servant, and help do the honors
of Mr. Hamilton's house! To this there came no reply, and Hagar was
thinking seriously of making a visit to Meriden, when one rainy
autumnal night, nearly a year after Hester's marriage, there came
another letter sealed with black. With a sad foreboding Hagar opened
it, and read that Mr. Hamilton had failed; that his house and farm
were sold, and that he, overwhelmed with mortification both at his
failure and the opposition of his friends to his last marriage, had
died suddenly, leaving Hester with no home in the wide world unless
Madam Conway received her again into her family.

"Just my luck!" was Hagar's mental comment, as she finished reading
the letter and carried it to her mistress, who had always liked
Hester, and who readily consented to give her a home, provided she put
on no airs from having been for a time the wife of a reputed wealthy
man. "Mustn't put on airs!" muttered Hagar, as she left the room.
"Just as if airs wasn't for anybody but high bloods!" And with the
canker-worm of envy at her heart she wrote to Hester, who came
immediately; and Hagar--when she heard her tell the story of her
wrongs, how her husband's sister, indignant at his marriage with a
sewing-girl, had removed from him the children, one a stepchild and
one his own, and how of all his vast fortune there was not left for
her a penny--experienced again the old bitterness of feeling, and
murmured that fate should thus deal with her and hers.

With the next day's mail there came to Madam Conway a letter bearing
a foreign postmark, and bringing the sad news that her son-in-law had
been lost in a storm while crossing the English Channel, and that
her daughter Margaret, utterly crushed and heartbroken, would sail
immediately for America, where she wished only to lay her weary head
upon her mother's bosom and die.

"So there is one person that has no respect for blood, and that is
Death," said old Hagar to her mistress, when she heard the news. "He
has served us both alike, he has taken my son-in-law first and yours

Frowning haughtily, Madam Conway bade her be silent, telling her at
the same time to see that the rooms in the north part of the building
were put in perfect order for Mrs. Miller, who would probably come in
the next vessel. In sullen silence Hagar withdrew, and for several
days worked half reluctantly in the "north rooms," as Madam Conway
termed a comparatively pleasant, airy suite of apartments, with a
balcony above, which looked out upon the old mill-dam and the brook
pouring over it.

"There'll be big doings when my lady comes," said Hagar one day to her
daughter. "It'll be Hagar here, and Hagar there, and Hagar everywhere,
but I shan't hurry myself. I'm getting too old to wait on a chit like

"Don't talk so, mother," said Hester. "Margaret was always kind to me.
She is not to blame for being rich, while I am poor."

"But somebody's to blame," interrupted old Hagar. "You was always
accounted the handsomest and cleverest of the two, and yet for all
you'll be nothing but a drudge to wait on her and the little girl."

Hester only sighed in reply, while her thoughts went forward to
the future and what it would probably bring her. Hester Warren and
Margaret Conway had been children together, and in spite of the
difference of their stations they had loved each other dearly; and
when at last the weary traveler came, with her pale sad face and
mourning garb, none gave her so heartfelt a welcome as Hester; and
during the week when, from exhaustion and excitement, she was confined
to her bed, it was Hester who nursed her with the utmost care,
soothing her to sleep, and then amusing the little Theo, a child
of two years. Hagar, too, softened by her young mistress' sorrow,
repented of her harsh words, and watched each night with the invalid,
who once, when her mind seemed wandering far back in the past,
whispered softly, "Tell me the Lord's prayer, dear Hagar, just as you
told it to me years ago when I was a little child."

It was a long time since Hagar had breathed that prayer, but at Mrs.
Miller's request she commenced it, repeating it correctly until she
came to the words, "Give us this day our daily bread"; then she
hesitated, and bending forward said, "What comes next, Miss Margaret?
Is it 'Lead us not into temptation?"

"Yes, yes," whispered the half-unconscious lady. "'Lead us not into
temptation,' that's it." Then, as if there were around her a dim
foreboding of the great wrong Hagar was to do, she took her old
nurse's hand between her own, and continued, "Say it often, Hagar,
'Lead us not into temptation'; you have much need for that prayer."

A moment more, and Margaret Miller slept, while beside her sat Hagar
Warren, half shuddering, she knew not why, as she thought of her
mistress' words, which seemed to her so much like the spirit of

"Why do I need that prayer more than anyone else?" she said at last.
"I have never been tempted more than I could bear--never shall be
tempted--and if I am, old Hagar Warren, bad as she is, can resist
temptation without that prayer."

Still, reason as she would, Hagar could not shake off the strange
feeling, and as she sat half dozing in her chair, with the dim
lamplight flickering over her dark face, she fancied that the October
wind, sighing so mournfully through the locust trees beneath the
window, and then dying away in the distance, bore upon its wing,
"'Lead us not into temptation.' Hagar, you have much need to say that

Aye, Hagar Warren--much need, much need!



The wintry winds were blowing cold and chill around the old stone
house, and the deep untrodden snow lay highly piled upon the ground.
For many days the gray, leaden clouds had frowned gloomily down upon
the earth below, covering it with a thick veil of white. But the storm
was over now; with the setting sun it had gone to rest, and the pale
moonlight stole softly into the silent chamber, where Madam Conway
bent anxiously down to see if but the faintest breath came from the
parted lips of her only daughter. There had been born to her that
night another grandchild--a little, helpless girl, which now in an
adjoining room was Hagar's special care; and Hagar, sitting there with
the wee creature upon her lap, and the dread fear at her heart that
her young mistress might die, forgot for once to repine at her lot,
and did cheerfully whatever was required of her to do.

There was silence in the rooms below--silence in the chambers
above,--silence everywhere,--for the sick woman seemed fast nearing
the deep, dark river whose waters move onward, but never return.

Almost a week went by, and then, in a room far more humble than where
Margaret Miller lay, another immortal being was given to the world;
and, with a softened light in her keen black eyes, old Hagar told to
her stately mistress, when she met her on the stair, that she too was
a grandmother.

"You must not on that account neglect Margaret's child," was Madam
Conway's answer, as with a wave of her hand she passed on; and this
was all she said--not a word of sympathy or congratulation for the
peculiar old woman whose heart, so long benumbed, had been roused to
a better state of feeling, and who in the first joy of her newborn
happiness had hurried to her mistress, fancying for the moment that
she was almost her equal.

"Don't neglect Margaret's child for that!" How the words rang in her
ears as she fled up the narrow stairs and through the dark hall, till
the low room was reached where lay the babe for whom Margaret's child
was not to be neglected. All the old bitterness had returned, and as
hour after hour went by, and Madam Conway came not near, while the
physician and the servants looked in for a moment only and then
hurried away to the other sickroom, where all their services were kept
in requisition, she muttered: "Little would they care if Hester died
upon my hands. And she will die too," she continued, as by the fading
daylight she saw the pallor deepen on her daughter's face.

And Hagar was right, for Hester's sands were nearer run than those of
Mrs. Miller. The utmost care might not, perhaps, have saved her; but
the matter was not tested; and when the long clock at the head of the
stairs struck the hour of midnight she murmured: "It is getting dark
here, mother--so dark--and I am growing cold. Can it be death?"

"Yes, Hester, 'tis death," answered Hagar, and her voice was
unnaturally calm as she laid her hand on the clammy brow of her

An hour later, and Madam Conway, who sat dozing in the parlor below,
ready for any summons which might come from Margaret's room, was
roused by the touch of a cold, hard hand, and Hagar Warren stood
before her.

"Come," she said, "come with me;" and, thinking only of Margaret,
Madam Conway arose to follow her. "Not there--but this way," said
Hagar, as her mistress turned towards Mrs. Miller's door, and grasping
firmly the lady's arm she led to the room where Hester lay dead, with
her young baby clasped lovingly to her bosom. "Look at her--and pity
me now, if you never did before. She was all I had in the world to
love," said Hagar passionately.

Madam Conway was not naturally a hard-hearted woman, and she answered
gently: "I do pity you, Hagar, and I did not think Hester was so ill.
Why haven't you let me know?" To this Hagar made no direct reply, and
after a few more inquiries Madam Conway left the room, saying she
would send up the servants to do whatever was necessary. When it was
known throughout the house that Hester was dead much surprise was
expressed and a good deal of sympathy manifested for old Hagar, who,
with a gloomy brow, hugged to her heart the demon of jealousy, which
kept whispering to her of the difference there would be were Margaret
to die. It was deemed advisable to keep Hester's death a secret from
Mrs. Miller; so, with as little ceremony as possible, the body was
buried at the close of the day, in an inclosure which had been set
apart as a family burying-ground; and when again the night shadows
fell Hagar Warren sat in her silent room, brooding over her grief, and
looking oft at the plain pine cradle where lay the little motherless
child, her granddaughter. Occasionally, too, her eye wandered towards
the mahogany crib, where another infant slept. Perfect quiet seemed
necessary for Mrs. Miller, and Madam Conway had ordered her baby to
be removed from the antechamber where first it had been kept, so that
Hagar had the two children in her own room.

In the pine cradle there was a rustling sound; the baby was awaking,
and taking it upon her lap Hagar soothed it again to sleep, gazing
earnestly upon it to see if it were like its mother. It was a bright,
healthy-looking infant, and though five days younger than that of Mrs.
Miller was quite as large and looked as old.

"And you will be a drudge, while she will be a lady," muttered Hagar,
as her tears fell on the face of the sleeping child. "Why need this
difference be?"

Old Hagar had forgotten the words "Lead us not into temptation"; and
when the Tempter answered, "It need not be," she only started suddenly
as if smitten by a heavy blow; but she did not drive him from her, and
she sat there reasoning with herself that "it need not be." Neither
the physician nor Madam Conway had paid any attention to Margaret's
child; it had been her special care, while no one had noticed hers,
and newly born babies were so much alike that deception was an easy
matter. But could she do it? Could she bear that secret on her soul?
Madam Conway, though proud, had been kind to her, and could she thus
deceive her! Would her daughter, sleeping in her early grave, approve
the deed. "No, no," she answered aloud, "she would not!" and the great
drops of perspiration stood thick upon her dark, haggard face as she
arose and laid back in her cradle the child whom she had thought to
make an heiress.

For a time the Tempter left her, but returned ere long, and creeping
into her heart sung to her beautiful songs of the future which might
be were Hester's baby a lady. And Hagar, listening to that song,
fell asleep, dreaming that the deed was done by other agency than
hers--that the little face resting on the downy pillow, and shaded
by the costly lace, was lowly born; while the child wrapped in the
coarser blanket came of nobler blood, even that of the Conways, who
boasted more than one lordly title. With a nervous start she awoke
at last, and creeping to the cradle of mahogany looked to see if her
dream were true; but it was not. She knew it by the pinched, blue
look about the nose, and the thin covering of hair. This was all the
difference which even her eye could see, and probably no other person
had noticed that, for the child had never been seen save in a darkened

The sin was growing gradually less heinous, and she could now calmly
calculate the chances for detection. Still, the conflict was long and
severe, and it was not until morning that the Tempter gained a point
by compromising the matter, and suggesting that while dressing the
infants she should change their clothes for once, just to see how
fine cambrics and soft flannels would look upon a grandchild of Hagar
Warren! "I can easily change them again--it is only an experiment,"
she said, as with trembling hands she proceeded to divest the children
of their wrappings. But her fingers seemed all thumbs, and more than
one sharp pin pierced the tender flesh of her little grandchild as she
fastened together the embroidered slip, teaching her thus early, had
she been able to learn the lesson, that the pathway of the rich is not
free from thorns.

Their toilet was completed at last--their cradle beds exchanged; and
then, with a strange, undefined feeling, old Hagar stood back and
looked to see how the little usurper became her new position. She
became it well, and to Hagar's partial eyes it seemed more meet that
she should lie there beneath the silken covering than the other one,
whose nose looked still more pinched and blue in the plain white dress
and cradle of pine. Still, there was a gnawing pain at Hagar's heart,
and she would perhaps have undone the wrong had not Madam Conway
appeared with inquiries for the baby's health. Hagar could not face
her mistress, so she turned away and pretended to busy herself with
the arrangement of the room, while the lady, bending over the cradle,
said, "I think she is improving, Hagar; I never saw her look so well";
and she pushed back the window curtain to obtain a better view.

With a wild, startled look in her eye, Hagar held her breath to hear
what might come next, but her fears were groundless; for, in her
anxiety for her daughter, Madam Conway had heretofore scarcely seen
her grandchild, and had no suspicion now that the sleeper before her
was of plebeian birth, nor yet that the other little one, at whom she
did not deign to look, was bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh.
She started to leave the room, but, impelled by some sudden impulse,
turned back and stooped to kiss the child. Involuntarily old Hagar
sprang forward to stay the act, and grasped the lady's arm, but she
was too late; the aristocratic lips had touched the cheek of Hagar
Warren's grandchild, and the secret, if now confessed, would never be

"It can't be helped," muttered Hagar, and then, when Mrs. Conway asked
an explanation of her conduct, she answered, "I was afraid you'd wake
her up, and mercy knows I've had worry enough with both the brats."

Not till then had Madam Conway observed how haggard and worn was
Hagar's face, and instead of reproving her for her boldness she said
gently: "You have indeed been sorely tried! Shall I send up Bertha to
relieve you!"

"No, no," answered Hagar hurriedly, "I am better alone."

The next moment Madam Conway was moving silently down the narrow
hall, while Hagar on her knees was weeping passionately. One word of
kindness had effected more than a thousand reproaches would have done;
and wringing her hands she cried, "I will not do it; I cannot."

Approaching the cradle, she was about to lift the child, when again
Madam Conway was at the door. She had come, she said, to take the babe
to Margaret, who seemed better this morning, and had asked to see it.

"Not now, not now. Wait till I put on her a handsomer dress, and I'll
bring her myself," pleaded Hagar.

But Madam Conway saw no fault in the fine cambric wrapper, and
taking the infant in her arms she walked away, while Hagar followed
stealthily. Very lovingly the mother folded to her bosom the babe,
calling it her fatherless one, and wetting its face with her tears,
while through the half-closed door peered Hagar's wild dark eyes--one
moment lighting up with exultation as she muttered, "It's my flesh,
my blood, proud lady!" and the next growing dim with tears, as she
thought of the evil she had done.

"I did not know she had so much hair," said Mrs. Miller, parting the
silken locks. "I think it will be like mine," and she gave the child
to her mother, while Hagar glided swiftly back to her room.

That afternoon the clergyman whose church Mrs. Conway usually
attended, called to see Mrs. Miller, who suggested that both the
children should receive the rite of baptism. Hagar was accordingly
bidden to prepare them for the ceremony, and resolving to make one
more effort to undo what she had done she dressed the child whom she
had thought to wrong in its own clothes, and then anxiously awaited
her mistress' coming.

"Hagar Warren! What does this mean? Are you crazy!" sternly demanded
Madam Conway, when the old nurse held up before her the child with the
blue nose.

"No, not crazy yet; but I shall be, if you don't take this one first,"
answered Hagar.

More than once that day Madam Conway had heard the servants hint that
Hagar's grief had driven her insane; and now when she observed the
unnatural brightness in her eyes, and saw what she had done, she too
thought it possible that her mind was partially unsettled; so she said
gently, but firmly: "This is no time for foolishness, Hagar. They are
waiting for us in the sickroom; so make haste and change the baby's

There was something authoritative in her manner, and Hagar obeyed,
whispering incoherently to herself, and thus further confirming
her mistress' suspicions that she was partially insane. During the
ceremony she stood tall and erect like some dark, grim statue, her
hands firmly locked together, and her eyes fixed upon the face of
the little one who was baptized Margaret Miller. As the clergyman
pronounced that name she uttered a low, gasping moan, but her face
betrayed no emotion, and very calmly she stepped forward with the
other child upon her arm.

"What name?" asked the minister; and she answered, "Her mother's; call
her for her mother!"

"Hester," said Madam Conway, turning to the clergyman, who understood
nothing from Hagar's reply.

So Hester was the name given to the child in whose veins the blood of
English noblemen was flowing; and when the ceremony was ended Hagar
bore back to her room Hester Hamilton, the child defrauded of her
birthright, and Maggie Miller, the heroine of our story.



"It is over now," old Hagar thought, as she laid the children upon
their pillows. "The deed is done, and by their own hands too. There is
nothing left for me now but a confession, and that I cannot make;" so
with a heavy weight upon her soul she sat down, resolving to keep her
own counsel and abide the consequence, whatever it might be.

But it wore upon her terribly,--that secret,--and though it helped
in a measure to divert her mind from dwelling too much upon her
daughter's death it haunted her continually, making her a strange,
eccentric woman whom the servants persisted in calling crazy, while
even Madam Conway failed to comprehend her. Her face, always dark,
seemed to have acquired a darker, harder look, while her eyes wore a
wild, startled expression, as if she were constantly followed by some
tormenting fear. At first Mrs. Miller objected to trusting her with
the babe; but when Madam Conway suggested that the woman who had
charge of little Theo should also take care of Maggie she fell upon
her knees and begged most piteously that the child might not be taken
from her. "Everything I have ever loved has left me," said she, "and I
cannot give her up."

"But they say you are crazy," answered Madam Conway, somewhat
surprised that Hagar should manifest so much affection for a child not
at all connected to her. "They say you are crazy, and no one trusts a
crazy woman."

"Crazy!" repeated Hagar half-scornfully; "crazy--'tis not
craziness--'tis the trouble--the trouble--that's killing me! But I'll
hide it closer than it's hidden now," she continued, "if you'll let
her stay; and 'fore Heaven I swear that sooner than harm one hair of
Maggie's head I'd part with my own life;" and taking the sleeping
child in her arms she stood like a wild beast at bay.

Madam Conway did not herself really believe in Hagar's insanity. She
had heretofore been perfectly faithful to whatever was committed to
her care, so she bade her be quiet, saying they would trust her for a

"It's the talking to myself," said Hagar, when left alone. "It's the
talking to myself which makes them call me crazy; and though I might
talk to many a worse woman than old Hagar Warren, I'll stop it; I'll
be still as the grave, and when next they gossip about me it shall be
of something besides craziness."

So Hagar became suddenly silent and uncommunicative, mingling but
little with the servants, but staying all day long in her room, where
she watched the children with untiring care. Especially was she kind
to Hester, who as time passed on proved to be a puny, sickly thing,
never noticing anyone, but moaning frequently as if in pain. Very
tenderly old Hagar nursed her, carrying her often in her arms until
they ached from very weariness, while Madam Conway, who watched her
with a vigilant eye, complained that she neglected little Maggie.

"And what if I do?" returned Hagar somewhat bitterly. "Aint there a
vast difference between the two? S'pose Hester was your own flesh and
blood, would you think I could do too much for the poor thing?" And
she glanced compassionately at the poor wasted form which lay upon her
lap, gasping for breath, and presenting a striking contrast to little
Maggie, who in her cradle was crowing and laughing in childish glee at
the bright firelight which blazed upon the hearth.

Maggie was indeed a beautiful child. From her mother she had inherited
the boon of perfect health, and she throve well in spite of the bumped
heads and pinched fingers which frequently fell to her lot, when Hagar
was too busy with the feeble child to notice her. The plaything of the
whole house, she was greatly petted by the servants, who vied with
each other in tracing points of resemblance between her and the
Conways; while the grandmother prided herself particularly on the
arched eyebrows and finely cut upper lip, which she said were sure
marks of high blood, and never found in the lower ranks! With a
scornful expression on her face, old Hagar would listen to these
remarks, and then, when sure that no one heard her, she would mutter:
"Marks of blood! What nonsense! I'm almost glad I've solved the
riddle, and know 'taint blood that makes the difference. Just tell
her the truth once, and she'd quickly change her mind. Hester's blue,
pinched nose, which makes one think of fits, would be the very essence
of aristocracy, while Maggie's lip would come of the little Paddy
blood there is running in her veins!"

And still Madam Conway herself was not one-half so proud of the
bright, playful Maggie as was old Hagar, who, when they were alone,
would hug her to her bosom, and gaze fondly on her fair, round face
and locks of silken hair, so like those now resting in the grave. In
the meantime Mrs. Miller, who since her daughter's birth, had never
left her room, was growing daily weaker, and when Maggie was nearly
nine months old she died, with the little one folded to her bosom,
just as Hester Hamilton had held it when she too passed from earth.

"Doubly blessed," whispered old Hagar, who was present, and then when
she remembered that to poor little Hester a mother's blessing would
never be given she felt that her load of guilt was greater than she
could bear. "She will perhaps forgive me if I confess it to her
over Miss Margaret's coffin," she thought; and once when they stood
together by the sleeping dead, and Madam Conway, with Maggie in her
arms, was bidding the child kiss the clay-cold lips of its mother, old
Hagar attempted to tell her. "Could you bear Miss Margaret's death as
well," she said, "if Maggie, instead of being bright and playful
as she is, were weak and sick like Hester?" and her eyes fastened
themselves upon Madam Conway with an agonizing intensity which that
lady could not fathom. "Say, would you bear it as well--could you love
her as much--would you change with me, take Hester for your own, and
give me little Maggie?" she persisted, and Madam Conway, surprised
at her excited manner, which she attributed in a measure to envy,
answered coldly: "Of course not. Still, if God had seen fit to give me
a child like Hester, I should try to be reconciled, but I am thankful
he has not thus dealt with me."

"'Tis enough. I am satisfied," thought Hagar. "She would not thank me
for telling her. The secret shall be kept;" and half exultingly she
anticipated the pride she should feel in seeing her granddaughter
grown up a lady and an heiress.

Anon, however, there came stealing over her a feeling of remorse, as
she reflected that the child defrauded of its birthright would, if it
lived, be compelled to serve in the capacity of a servant; and many a
night, when all else was silent in the old stone house, she paced up
and down the room, her long hair, now fast turning gray, falling over
her shoulders, and her large eyes dimmed with tears, as she thought
what the future would bring to the infant she carried in her arms.

But the evil she so much dreaded never came, for when the winter snows
were again falling they made a little grave beneath the same pine tree
where Hester Hamilton lay sleeping, and, while they dug that grave,
old Hagar sat, with folded arms and tearless eyes, gazing fixedly upon
the still white face and thin blue lips which would never again be
distorted with pain. Her habit of talking to herself had returned, and
as she sat there she would at intervals whisper: "Poor little babe! I
would willingly have cared for you all my life, but I am glad you
are gone to Miss Margaret, who, it may be, will wonder what little
thin-faced angel is calling her mother! But somebody'll introduce you,
somebody'll tell her who you are, and when she knows how proud her
mother is of Maggie she'll forgive old Hagar Warren!"

"Gone stark mad!" was the report carried by the servants to their
mistress, who believed the story when Hagar herself came to her with
the request that Hester might be buried in some of Maggie's clothes.

Touched with pity by her worn, haggard face, Madam Conway answered,
"Yes, take some of her common ones," and, choosing the cambric robe
which Hester had worn on the morning when the exchange was made, Hagar
dressed the body for the grave. When at last everything was ready,
and the tiny coffin stood upon the table, Madam Conway drew near and
looked for a moment on the emaciated form which rested quietly from
all its pain. Hovering at her side was Hagar, and feeling it her duty
to say a word of comfort the stately lady remarked that it was best
the babe should die; that were it her grandchild she should feel
relieved; for had it lived, it would undoubtedly have been physically
and intellectually feeble.

"Thank you! I am considerably comforted," was the cool reply of Hagar,
who felt how cruel were the words, and who for a moment was strongly
tempted to claim the beautiful Maggie as her own, and give back to the
cold, proud woman the senseless clay on which she looked so calmly.

But love for her grandchild conquered. There was nothing in the way of
her advancement now, and when at the grave she knelt her down to weep,
as the bystanders thought, over her dead, she was breathing there a
vow that never so long as she lived should the secret of Maggie's
birth be given to the world unless some circumstance then unforeseen
should make it absolutely and unavoidably necessary. To see Maggie
grow up into a beautiful, refined, and cultivated woman was now the
great object of Hagar's life; and, fearing lest by some inadvertent
word or action the secret should be disclosed, she wished to live by
herself, where naught but the winds of heaven could listen to the
incoherent whisperings which made her fellow-servants accuse her of

Down in the deepest shadow of the woods, and distant from the old
stone house nearly a mile, was a half-ruined cottage which, years
before, had been occupied by miners, who had dug in the hillside
for particles of yellow ore which they fancied to be gold. Long and
frequent were the night revels said to have been held in the old hut,
which had at last fallen into bad repute and been for years deserted.
To one like Hagar, however, there was nothing intimidating in its
creaking old floors, its rattling windows and noisome chimney, where
the bats and the swallows built their nests; and when one day Madam
Conway proposed giving little Maggie into the charge of a younger and
less nervous person than herself she made no objection, but surprised
her mistress by asking permission to live by herself in the "cottage
by the mine," as it was called.

"It is better for me to be alone," said she, "for I may do something
terrible if I stay here, something I would sooner die than do," and
her eyes fell upon Maggie sleeping in her cradle.

This satisfied Madam Conway that the half-crazed woman meditated harm
to her favorite grandchild, and she consented readily to her
removal to the cottage, which by her orders was made comparatively
comfortable. For several weeks, when she came, as she did each day, to
the house, Madam Conway kept Maggie carefully from her sight, until at
last she begged so hard to see her that her wish was gratified; and
as she manifested no disposition whatever to molest the child, Madam
Conway's fears gradually subsided, and Hagar was permitted to fondle
and caress her as often as she chose.

Here now, for a time, we leave them; Hagar in her cottage by the mine;
Madam Conway in her gloomy home; Maggie in her nurse's arms; and Theo,
of whom as yet but little has been said, playing on the nursery floor;
while with our readers we pass silently over a period of time which
shall bring us to Maggie's girlhood.



Fifteen years have passed away, and around the old stone house there
is outwardly no change. The moss still clings to the damp, dark wall,
just as it clung there long ago, while the swaying branches of the
forest trees still cast their shadows across the floor, or scream to
the autumn blast, just as they did in years gone by, when Hagar Warren
breathed that prayer, "Lead us not into temptation." Madam Conway,
stiff and straight and cold as ever, moves with the same measured
tread through her gloomy rooms, which are not as noiseless now as they
were wont to be, for girlhood--joyous, merry girlhood--has a home in
those dark rooms, and their silence is broken by the sound of other
feet, not moving stealthily and slow, as if following in a funeral
train, but dancing down the stairs, tripping through the halls,
skipping across the floor, and bounding over the grass, they go, never
tiring, never ceasing, till the birds and the sun have gone to rest.

And do what she may, the good lady cannot check the gleeful mirth, or
hush the clear ringing laughter of one at least of the fair maidens,
who, since last we looked upon them, have grown up to womanhood.
Wondrously beautiful is Maggie Miller now, with her bright sunny face,
her soft dark eyes and raven hair, so glossy and smooth that her
sister, the pale-faced, blue-eyed Theo, likens it to a piece of
shining satin. Now, as ever, the pet and darling of the household, she
moves among them like a ray of sunshine; and the servants, when they
hear her bird-like voice waking the echoes of the weird old place,
pause in their work to listen, blessing Miss Margaret for the joy and
gladness her presence has brought them.

Old Hagar, in her cottage by the mine, has kept her secret well,
whispering it only to the rushing wind and the running brook, which
have told no tales to the gay, light-hearted girl, save to murmur
in her ear that a life untrammeled by etiquette and form would be a
blissful life indeed. And Maggie, listening to the voices which speak
to her so oft in the autumn wind, the running brook, the opening
flower, and the falling leaf, has learned a lesson different far from
those taught her daily by the prim, stiff governess, who, imported
from England six years ago, has drilled both Theo and Maggie in all
the prescribed rules of high life as practiced in the Old World. She
has taught them how to sit and how to stand, how to eat and how to
drink, as becomes young ladies of Conway blood and birth. And Madam
Conway, through her golden spectacles, looks each day to see some good
from all this teaching come to the bold, dashing, untamable Maggie,
who, spurning birth and blood alike, laughs at form and etiquette as
taught by Mrs. Jeffrey, and, winding her arms around her grandmother's
neck, crumples her rich lace ruffle with a most unladylike hug, and
then bounds away to the stables, pretending not to hear the distressed
Mrs. Jeffrey calling after her not to run, "it is so Yankeefied and
vulgar"; or if she did hear, answering back, "I am a Yankee, native
born, and shall run for all Johnny Bull!"

Greatly horrified at this evidence of total depravity, Mrs. Jeffrey
brushes down her black silk apron and goes back to Theo, her more
tractable pupil; while Maggie, emerging ere long from the stable,
clears the fence with one leap of her high-mettled pony, which John,
the coachman, had bought at an enormous price, of a traveling circus,
on purpose for his young mistress, who complained that grandma's
horses were all too lazy and aristocratic in their movements for her.

In perfect amazement Madam Conway looked out when first Gritty, as the
pony was called, was led up to the door, prancing, pawing, chafing at
the bit, and impatient to be off. "Margaret shall never mount that
animal," she said; but Margaret had ruled for sixteen years, and now,
at a sign from John, she sprang gayly upon the back of the fiery
steed, who, feeling instinctively that the rider he carried was a
stranger to fear, became under her training perfectly gentle, obeying
her slightest command, and following her ere long like a sagacious
dog. Not thus easily could Madam Conway manage Maggie, and with a
groan she saw her each day fly over the garden gate and out into the
woods, which she scoured in all directions.

"She'll break her neck, I know," the disturbed old lady would say, as
Maggie's flowing skirt and waving plumes disappeared in the shadow of
the trees. "She'll break her neck some day;" and thinking someone must
be in fault, her eyes would turn reprovingly upon Mrs. Jeffrey for
having failed in subduing Maggie, whom the old governess pronounced
the "veriest madcap" in the world. "There is nothing like her in all
England," she said; "and her low-bred ways must be the result of her
having been born on American soil."

If Maggie was to be censured, Madam Conway chose to do it herself; and
on such occasions she would answer: "'Low-bred,' Mrs. Jeffrey, is not
a proper term to apply to Margaret. She's a little wild, I admit, but
no one with my blood in their veins can be low-bred;" and, in her
indignation at the governess, Madam would usually forget to reprove
her granddaughter when she came back from her ride, her cheeks flushed
and her eyes shining like stars with the healthful exercise. Throwing
herself upon a stool at her grandmother's feet, Maggie would lay her
head upon the lap of the proud lady, who very lovingly would smooth
the soft, shining hair, "so much like her own," she said.

"Before you had to color it, you mean, don't you, grandma?" the
mischievous Maggie would rejoin, looking up archly to her grandmother,
who would call her a saucy child, and stroke still more fondly the
silken locks.

Wholly unlike Maggie was Theo, a pale-faced, fair-haired girl, who was
called pretty, when not overshadowed by the queenly presence of her
more gifted sister. And Theo was very proud of this sister, too; proud
of the beautiful Maggie, to whom, though two years her junior, she
looked for counsel, willing always to abide by her judgment; for what
Maggie did must of course be right, and grandma would not scold. So if
at any time Theo was led into error, Maggie stood ready to bear the
blame, which was never very severe, for Mrs. Jeffrey had learned
not to censure her too much, lest by so doing she should incur the
displeasure of her employer, who in turn loved Maggie, if it were
possible, better than the daughter whose name she bore, and whom
Maggie called her mother. Well kept and beautiful was the spot where
that mother lay, and the grave was marked by a costly marble which
gleamed clear and white through the surrounding evergreens. This was
Maggie's favorite resort, and here she often sat in the moonlight,
musing of one who slept there, and who, they said, had held her on her
bosom when she died.

At no great distance from this spot was another grave, where the grass
grew tall and green, and where the headstone, half sunken in the
earth, betokened that she who rested there was of humble origin. Here
Maggie seldom tarried long. The place had no attraction for her, for
rarely now was the name of Hester Hamilton heard at the old stone
house, and all save one seemed to have forgotten that such as she had
ever lived. This was Hagar Warren, who in her cottage by the mine has
grown older and more crazy-like since last we saw her. Her hair, once
so much like that which Madam Conway likens to her own, has bleached
as white as snow, and her tall form is shriveled now, and bent. The
secret is wearing her life away, and yet she does not regret what she
has done. She cannot, when she looks upon the beautiful girl who comes
each day to her lonely hut, and whom she worships with a species of
wild idolatry. Maggie knows not why it is, and yet to her there is a
peculiar fascination about that strange old woman, with her snow-white
hair, her wrinkled face, her bony hand, and wild, dark eyes, which,
when they rest on her, have in them a look of unutterable tenderness.

Regularly each day, when the sun nears the western horizon, Maggie
steals away to the cottage, and the lonely woman, waiting for her on
the rude bench by the door, can tell her bounding footstep from all
others which pass that way. She does not say much now herself; but the
sound of Maggie's voice, talking to her in the gathering twilight, is
the sweetest she has ever heard; and so she sits and listens, while
her hands work nervously together, and her whole body trembles with a
longing, intense desire to clasp the young girl to her bosom and claim
her as her own. But this she dare not do, for Madam Conway's training
has had its effect, and in Maggie's bearing there is ever a degree of
pride which forbids anything like undue familiarity. And it was this
very pride which Hagar liked to see, whispering often to herself,
"Warren blood and Conway airs--the two go well together."

Sometimes a word or a look would make her start, they reminded her so
forcibly of the dead; and once she said involuntarily: "You are like
your mother, Maggie. Exactly what she was at your age."

"My mother!" answered Maggie. "You never talked to me of her; tell me
of her now. I did not suppose I was like her in anything."

"Yes, in everything," said old Hagar; "the same dark eyes and hair,
the same bright red cheeks, the same--"

"Why, Hagar, what can you mean?" interrupted Maggie. "My mother had
light blue eyes and fair brown hair, like Theo. Grandma says I am
not like her at all, while old Hannah, the cook, when she feels
ill-natured and wishes to tease me, says I am the very image of Hester

"And what if you are? What if you are?" eagerly rejoined old Hagar.
"Would you feel badly to know you looked like Hester?" and the old
woman bent anxiously forward to hear the answer: "Not for myself,
perhaps, provided Hester was handsome, for I think a good deal of
beauty, that's a fact; but it would annoy grandma terribly to have me
look like a servant. She might fancy I was Hester's daughter, for she
wonders every day where I get my low-bred ways, as she calls my liking
to sing and laugh and be natural."

"And s'posin' Hester was your mother, would you care?" persisted

"Of course I should," answered Maggie, her large eyes opening wide at
the strange question. "I wouldn't for the whole world be anybody
but Maggie Miller, just who I am. To be sure, I get awfully out of
patience with grandma and Mrs. Jeffrey for talking so much about birth
and blood and family, and all that sort of nonsense, but after all I
wouldn't for anything be poor and work as poor folks do."

"I'll never tell her, never," muttered Hagar; and Maggie continued:
"What a queer habit you have of talking to yourself. Did you always do

"Not always. It came upon me with the secret," Hagar answered
inadvertently; and eagerly catching at the last word, which to her
implied a world of romance and mystery, Maggie exclaimed: "The secret,
Hagar, the secret! If there's anything I delight in it's a secret!"
and, sliding down from the rude bench to the grass-plat at Hagar's
feet, she continued: "Tell it to me, Hagar, that's a dear old woman.
I'll never tell anybody as long as I live. I won't, upon my word,"
she continued, as she saw the look of horror resting on Hagar's face;
"I'll help you keep it, and we'll have such grand times talking it
over. Did it concern yourself?" and Maggie folded her arms upon the
lap of the old woman, who answered in a voice so hoarse and unnatural
that Maggie involuntarily shuddered, "Old Hagar would die inch by inch
sooner than tell you, Maggie Miller, her secret."

"Was it, then, so dreadful?" asked Maggie half fearfully, and casting
a stealthy glance at the dim woods, where the night shadows were
falling, and whose winding path she must traverse alone on her
homeward route. "Was it, then, so dreadful?"

"Yes, dreadful, dreadful; and yet, Maggie, I have sometimes wished
you knew it. You would forgive me, perhaps. If you knew how I was
tempted," said Hagar, and her voice was full of yearning tenderness,
while her bony fingers parted lovingly the shining hair from off the
white brow of the young girl, who pleaded again, "Tell it to me,

There was a fierce struggle in Hagar's bosom, but the night wind,
moving through the hemlock boughs, seemed to say, "Not yet--not yet";
and, remembering her vow, she answered: "Leave me, Maggie Miller, I
cannot tell you the secret. You of all others. You would hate me for
it, and that I could not bear. Leave me alone, or the sight of you, so
beautiful, pleading for my secret, will kill me dead."

There was command in the tones of her voice, and rising to her feet
Maggie walked away, with a dread feeling at her heart, a feeling which
whispered vaguely to her of a deed of blood--for what save this
could thus affect old Hagar? Her road home led near the little
burying-ground, and impelled by something she could not resist she
paused at her mother's grave. The moonlight was falling softly upon
it; and, seating herself within the shadow of the monument, she sat
a long time thinking, not of the dead, but of Hagar and the strange
words she had uttered. Suddenly, from the opposite side of the
graveyard, there came a sound as of someone walking; and, looking
up, Maggie saw approaching her the bent figure of the old woman, who
seemed unusually excited. Her first impulse was to fly, but knowing
how improbable it was that Hagar should seek to do her harm, and
thinking she might discover some clew to the mystery if she remained,
she sat still, while, kneeling on Hester's grave, old Hagar wept
bitterly, talking the while, but so incoherently that Maggie could
distinguish nothing save the words, "You, Hester, have forgiven me."

"Can it be that she has killed her own child!" thought Maggie, and
starting to her feet she stood face to face with Hagar, who screamed:
"You here, Maggie Miller!--here with the others who know my secret!
But you shan't wring it from me. You shall never know it, unless the
dead rise up to tell you."

"Hagar Warren," said Margaret sternly, "is murder your secret? Did
Hester Hamilton die at her mother's hands?"

With a short gasping moan, Hagar staggered backward a pace or two, and
then, standing far more erect than Margaret had ever seen her before,
she answered: "No, Maggie Miller, no; murder is not my secret. These
hands," and she tossed in the air her shriveled arms, "these hands are
as free from blood as yours. And now go. Leave me alone with my dead,
and see that you tell no tales. You like secrets, you say. Let what
you have heard to-night be _your_ secret. Go."

Maggie obeyed, and walked slowly homeward, feeling greatly relieved
that her suspicion was false, and experiencing a degree of
satisfaction in thinking that she too had a secret, which she would
guard most carefully from her grandmother and Theo. "She would never
tell them what she had seen and heard--never!"

Seated upon the piazza were Madam Conway and Theo, the former of whom
chided her for staying so late at the cottage, while Theo asked what
queer things the old witch-woman had said to-night.

With a very expressive look, which seemed to say, "I know, but I
shan't tell," Maggie seated herself at her grandmother's feet, and
asked how long Hagar had been crazy. "Did it come upon her when her
daughter died?" she inquired; and Madam Conway answered: "Yes, about
that time, or more particularly when the baby died. Then she began to
act so strangely that I removed you from her care, for, from something
she said, I fancied she meditated harm to you."

For a moment Maggie sat wrapped in thought--then clapping her hands
together she exclaimed: "I have it; I know now what ails her! She felt
so badly to see you happy with me that she tried to poison me. She
said she was sorely tempted--and that's the secret which is killing

"Secret! What secret?" cried Theo; and, womanlike, forgetting her
resolution not to tell, Maggie told what she had seen and heard,
adding it as her firm belief that Hagar had made an attempt upon her

"I would advise you for the future to keep away from her, then," said
Madam Conway, to whom the suggestion seemed a very probable one.

But Maggie knew full well that whatever Hagar might once have thought
to do, there was no danger to be apprehended from her now, and the
next day found her as usual on her way to the cottage. Bounding into
the room where the old woman sat at her knitting, she exclaimed: "I
know what it is! I know your secret!"

There was a gathering mist before Hagar's eyes, and her face was
deathly white, as she gasped: "You know the secret! How? Where? Have
the dead come back to tell? Did anybody see me do it?"

"Why, no," answered Maggie, beginning to grow a little mystified. "The
dead have nothing to do with it. You tried to poison me when I was a
baby, and that's what makes you crazy. Isn't it so? Grandma thought it
was, when I told her how you talked last night."

There was a heavy load lifted from Hagar's heart, and she answered
calmly, but somewhat indignantly, "So you told--I thought I could
trust you, Maggie."

Instantly the tears came to Maggie's eyes, and, coloring crimson, she
said: "I didn't mean to tell--indeed I didn't, but I forgot all about
your charge. Forgive me, Hagar, do," and, sinking on the floor,
she looked up in Hagar's face so pleadingly that the old woman was
softened, and answered gently: "You are like the rest of your sex,
Margaret. No woman but Hagar Warren ever kept a secret; and it's
killing her, you see!"

"Don't keep it, then," said Maggie. "Tell it to me. Confess that you
tried to poison me because you envied grandma," and the soft eyes
looked with an anxious, expectant expression into the dark, wild orbs
of Hagar, who replied: "Envy was at the bottom of it all, but I never
tried to harm you, Margaret, in any way. I only thought to do you
good. You have not guessed it. You cannot, and you must not try."

"Tell it to me, then. I want to know it so badly," persisted Maggie,
her curiosity each moment increasing.

"Maggie Miller," said old Hagar, and the knitting dropped from her
fingers, which moved slowly on till they reached and touched the
little snowflake of a hand resting on her knee--"Maggie Miller, if
you knew that the telling of that secret would make you perfectly
wretched, would you wish to hear it?"

For a moment Maggie was silent, and then, half laughingly, she
replied: "I'd risk it, Hagar, for I never wanted to know anything half
so bad in all my life. Tell it to me, won't you?"

Very beautiful looked Maggie Miller then--her straw flat set jauntily
on one side of her head, her glossy hair combed smoothly back, her
soft lustrous eyes shining with eager curiosity, and her cheeks
flushed with excitement. Very, very beautiful she seemed to the old
woman, who, in her intense longing to take the bright creature to her
bosom, was, for an instant, sorely tempted.

"Margaret!" she began, and at the sound of her voice the young girl
shuddered involuntarily. "Margaret!" she said again; but ere another
word was uttered the autumn wind, which for the last half-hour had
been rising rapidly, came roaring down the wide-mouthed chimney, and
the heavy fireboard fell upon the floor with a tremendous crash,
nearly crushing old Hagar's foot, and driving for a time all thoughts
of the secret from Maggie's mind. "Served me right," muttered Hagar,
as Maggie left the room for water with which to bathe the swollen
foot. "Served me right; and if ever I'm tempted to tell her again may
every bone in my body be smashed!"

The foot was carefully cared for, Maggie's own hands tenderly
bandaging it up; and then with redoubled zeal she returned to
the attack, pressing old Hagar so hard that the large drops of
perspiration gathered thickly about her forehead and lips, which were
white as ashes. Wearied at last, Maggie gave it up for the time being,
but her curiosity was thoroughly aroused, and for many days she
persisted in her importunity, until at last, in self-defense, old
Hagar, when she saw her coming, would steal away to the low-roofed
chamber, and, hiding behind a pile of rubbish, would listen
breathlessly while Margaret hunted for her in vain. Then when she was
gone she would crawl out from her hiding-place, covered with cobwebs
and dust, and mutter to herself: "I never expected this, and it's more
than I can bear. Why will she torment me so, when a knowledge of the
secret would drive her mad!"

This, however, Maggie Miller did not know. Blessed with an uncommon
degree of curiosity, which increased each time she saw old Hagar, she
resolved to solve the mystery, which she felt sure was connected with
herself, though in what manner she could not guess. "But I _will_
know," she would say to herself when returning from a fruitless
quizzing of old Hagar, whose hiding-place she had at last discovered;
"I _will_ know what 'tis about me. I shall never be quite happy till I

Ah, Maggie, Maggie, be happy while you can, and leave the secret
alone! It will come to you soon enough--aye, soon enough!



Very rapidly the winter passed away, and one morning early in March
Maggie went down to the cottage with the news that Madam Conway was
intending to start immediately for England, where she had business
which would probably detain her until fall.

"Oh, won't I have fun in her absence!" she cried. "I'll visit every
family in the neighborhood. Here she's kept Theo and me caged up like
two wild animals, and now I am going to see a little of the world. I
don't mean to study a bit, and instead of visiting you once a day I
shall come at least three times."

"Lord help me!" ejaculated old Hagar, who, much as she loved Maggie,
was beginning to dread her daily visits.

"Why do you want help?" asked Maggie laughingly. "Are you tired of me,
Hagar? Don't you like me any more?"

"Like you, Maggie Miller!--like you!" repeated old Hagar, and in the
tones of her voice there was a world of tenderness and love. "There
is nothing on earth I love as I do you. But you worry me to death

"Oh, yes, I know," answered Maggie; "but I'm not going to tease you
for a while. I shall have so much else to do when grandma is gone that
I shall forget it. I wish she wasn't so proud," she continued, after a
moment. "I wish she'd let Theo and me see a little more of the world
than she does. I wonder how she ever expects us to get married, or be
anybody, if she keeps us here in the woods like young savages. Why, as
true as you live, Hagar, I have never been anywhere in my life, except
to church Sundays, once to Douglas' store in Worcester, once to Patty
Thompson's funeral, and once to a Methodist camp-meeting; and I never
spoke to more than a dozen men besides the minister and the school
boys! It's too bad!" and Maggie pouted quite becomingly at the
injustice done her by her grandmother in keeping her thus secluded.
"Theo don't care," she said. "She is prouder than I am, and does not
wish to know the Yankees, as grandma calls the folks in this country;
but I'm glad I am a Yankee. I wouldn't live in England for anything."

"Why don't your grandmother take you with her?" asked Hagar, who in a
measure sympathized with Maggie for being thus isolated.

"She says we are too young to go into society," answered Maggie. "It
will be time enough two years hence, when I am eighteen and Theo
twenty. Then I believe she intends taking us to London, where we can
show off our accomplishments, and practice that wonderful courtesy
which Mrs. Jeffrey has taught us. I dare say the queen will be
astonished at our qualifications;" and with a merry laugh, as she
thought of the appearance she should make at the Court of St. James,
Maggie leaped on Gritty's back and bounded away, while Hagar looked
wistfully after her, saying as she wiped the tears from her eyes:
"Heaven bless the girl! She might sit on the throne of England any
day, and Victoria wouldn't disgrace herself at all by doing her
reverence, even if she be a child of Hagar Warren."

As Maggie had said, Madam Conway was going to England. At first she
thought of taking the young ladies with her, but, thinking they were
hardly old enough yet to be emancipated from the schoolroom, she
decided to leave them under the supervision of Mrs. Jeffrey, whose
niece she promised to bring with her on her return to America. Upon
her departure she bade Theo and Maggie a most affectionate adieu,

"Be good girls while I am away, keep in the house, mind Mrs. Jeffrey,
and don't fall in love."

This last injunction came involuntarily from the old lady, to whom
the idea of their falling in love was quite as preposterous as to

"Fall in love!" repeated Maggie, when her tears were dried, and she
with Theo was driving slowly home. "What could grandma mean! I wonder
who there is for us to love, unless it be John the coachman, or Bill
the gardener. I almost wish we could get in love though, just to see
how 'twould seem, don't you?" she continued.

"Not with anybody here," answered Theo, her nose slightly elevated at
the thought of people whom she had been educated to despise.

"Why not here as well as elsewhere?" asked Maggie. "I don't see any
difference. But grandma needn't be troubled, for such things as men's
boots never come near our house. It's a shame, though," she continued,
"that we don't know anybody, either male or female. Let's go down to
Worcester some day, and get acquainted. Don't you remember the two
handsome young men whom we saw five years ago in Douglas' store, and
how they winked at each other when grandma ran down their goods and
said there were not any darning needles fit to use this side of the

On most subjects Theo's memory was treacherous, but she remembered
perfectly well the two young men, particularly the taller one, who had
given her a remnant of blue ribbon which he said was just the color
of her eyes. Still, the idea of going to Worcester did not strike her
favorably. "She wished Worcester would come to them," she said, "but
she should not dare to go there. They would surely get lost. Grandma
would not like it, and Mrs. Jeffrey would not let them go, even if
they wished."

"A fig for Mrs. Jeffrey," said Maggie. "I shan't mind her much. I'm
going to have a real good time, doing as I please, and if you are wise
you'll have one too."

"I suppose I shall do what you tell me to--I always do," answered Theo
submissively, and there the conversation ceased.

Arrived at home they found dinner awaiting them, and Maggie, when
seated, suggested to Mrs. Jeffrey that she should give them a vacation
of a few weeks, just long enough for them to get rested and visit the
neighbors. But this Mrs. Jeffrey refused to do.

She had her orders to keep them at their books, she said, and "study
was healthful"; at the same time she bade them be in the schoolroom on
the morrow. There was a wicked look in Maggie's eyes, but her tongue
told no tales, and when next morning she went with Theo demurely to
the schoolroom she seemed surprised at hearing from Mrs. Jeffrey that
every book had disappeared from the desk where they were usually kept;
and though the greatly disturbed and astonished lady had sought for
them nearly an hour, they were not to be found.

"Maggie has hidden them, I know," said Theo, as she saw the
mischievous look on her sister's face.

"Margaret wouldn't do such a thing, I'm sure," answered Mrs. Jeffrey,
her voice and manner indicating a little doubt, however, as to the
truth of her assertion.

But Maggie had hidden them, and no amount of coaxing could persuade
her to bring them back. "You refused me a vacation when I asked for
it," she said, "so I'm going to have it perforce;" and, playfully
catching up the little dumpy figure of her governess, she carried her
out upon the piazza, and, seating her in a large easy-chair, bade her
take snuff, and comfort too, as long as she liked.

Mrs. Jeffrey knew perfectly well that Maggie in reality was mistress
of the house, that whatever she did Madam Conway would ultimately
sanction; and as a rest was by no means disagreeable, she yielded
with a good grace, dividing her time between sleeping, snuffing, and
dressing, while Theo lounged upon the sofa and devoured some musty old
novels which Maggie, in her rummaging, had discovered.

Meanwhile Maggie kept her promise of visiting the neighbors, and
almost every family had something to say in praise of the merry,
light-hearted girl of whom they had heretofore known but little. Her
favorite recreation, however, was riding on horseback, and almost
every day she galloped through the woods and over the fields, usually
terminating her ride with a call upon old Hagar, whom she still
continued to tease unmercifully for the secret, and who was glad when
at last an incident occurred which for a time drove all thoughts of
the secret from Maggie's mind.



One afternoon towards the middle of April, when Maggie as usual was
flying through the woods, she paused for a moment beneath the shadow
of a sycamore while Gritty drank from a small running brook. The pony
having quenched his thirst, she gathered up her reins for a fresh
gallop, when her ear caught the sound of another horse's hoofs; and,
looking back, she saw approaching her at a rapid rate a gentleman whom
she knew to be a stranger. Not caring to be overtaken, she chirruped
to the spirited Gritty, who, bounding over the velvety turf, left the
unknown rider far in the rear.

"Who can she be?" thought the young man, admiring the utter
fearlessness with which she rode; then, feeling a little piqued, as he
saw how the distance between them was increasing, he exclaimed, "Be
she woman, or be she witch, I'll overtake her"; and, whistling to his
own fleet animal, he too dashed on at a furious rate.

"Trying to catch me, are you?" thought Maggie. "I'd laugh to see you
do it." And entering at once into the spirit of the race, she rode
on for a time with headlong speed--then, by way of tantalizing her
pursuer, she paused for a moment until he had almost reached her, when
at a peculiar whistle Gritty sprang forward, while Maggie's mocking
laugh was borne back to the discomfited young man, whose interest in
the daring girl increased each moment. It was a long, long chase she
led him, over hills, across plains, and through the grassy valley,
until she stopped at last within a hundred yards of the deep, narrow
gorge through which the mill-stream ran.

"I have you now," thought the stranger, who knew by the dull, roaring
sound of the water that a chasm lay between him and the opposite bank.

But Maggie had not yet half displayed her daring feats of
horsemanship, and when he came so near that his waving brown locks and
handsome dark eyes were plainly discernible, she said to herself: "He
rides tolerably well. I'll see how good he is at a leap," and, setting
herself more firmly in the saddle, she patted Gritty upon the neck.
The well-trained animal understood the signal, and, rearing high in
the air, was fast nearing the bank, when the young man, suspecting her
design, shrieked out: "Stop, lady, stop! It's madness to attempt it."

"Follow me if you can," was Maggie's defiant answer, and the next
moment she hung in mid-air over the dark abyss.

Involuntarily the young man closed his eyes, while his ear listened
anxiously for the cry which would come next. But Maggie knew full well
what she was doing. She had leaped that narrow gorge often, and now
when the stranger's eyes unclosed she stood upon the opposite bank,
caressing the noble animal which had borne her safely there.

"It shall never be said that Henry Warner was beaten by a schoolgirl,"
muttered the stranger. "If she can clear that, I can, bad rider as I
am!" and burying his spurs deep in the sides of his horse, he pressed
on while Maggie held her breath in fear, for she knew that without
practice no one could do what she had done.

There was a partially downward plunge--a fierce struggle on the
shelving bank, where the animal had struck a few feet from the
top--then the steed stood panting on terra firma, while a piercing
shriek broke the deep silence of the wood, and Maggie's cheeks
blanched to a marble hue. The rider, either from dizziness or fear,
had fallen at the moment the horse first struck the bank, and from the
ravine below there came no sound to tell if yet he lived.

"He's dead; he's dead!" cried Maggie. "'Twas my own foolishness which
killed him," and springing from Gritty's back she gathered up her long
riding skirt and glided swiftly down the bank, until she came to a
wide, projecting rock, where the stranger lay, motionless and still,
his white face upturned to the sunlight, which came stealing down
through the overhanging boughs. In an instant she was at his side, and
his head was resting on her lap, while her trembling fingers parted
back from his pale brow the damp mass of curling hair.

"The fall alone would not kill him," she said, as her eye measured the
distance, and then she looked anxiously round for water with which to
bathe his face.

But water there was none, save in the stream below, whose murmuring
flow fell mockingly on her ears, for it seemed to say she could not
reach it. But Maggie Miller was equal to any emergency, and venturing
out to the very edge of the rock she poised herself on one foot, and
looked down the dizzy height to see if it were possible to descend.

"I can try at least," she said, and glancing at the pale face of the
stranger unhesitatingly resolved to attempt it.

The descent was less difficult than she had anticipated, and in an
incredibly short space of time she was dipping her pretty velvet cap
in the brook, whose sparkling foam had never before been disturbed by
the touch of a hand as soft and fair as hers. To ascend was not so
easy a matter; but, chamois-like, Maggie's feet trod safely the
dangerous path, and she soon knelt by the unconscious man, bathing his
forehead in the clear cold water, until he showed signs of returning
life. His lips moved slowly at last, as if he would speak; and Maggie,
bending low to catch the faintest sound, heard him utter the name of
"Rose." In Maggie's bosom there was no feeling for the stranger save
that of pity, and yet that one word "Rose" thrilled her with a strange
undefinable emotion, awaking at once a yearning desire to know
something of her who bore that beautiful name, and who to the young
man was undoubtedly the one in all the world most dear.

"Rose," he said again, "is it you?" and his eyes, which opened slowly,
scanned with an eager, questioning look the face of Maggie, who,
open-hearted and impulsive as usual, answered somewhat sadly: "I am
nobody but Maggie Miller. I am not Rose, though I wish I was, if you
would like to see her."

The tones of her voice recalled the stranger's wandering mind, and he
answered: "Your voice is like Rose, but I would rather see you, Maggie
Miller. I like your fearlessness, so unlike most of your sex. Rose is
far more gentle, more feminine than you, and if her very life depended
upon it she would never dare leap that gorge."

The young man intended no reproof; but Maggie took his words as such,
and for the first time in her life began to think that possibly her
manner was not always as womanly as might be. At all events, she was
not like the gentle Rose, whom she instantly invested with every
possible grace and beauty, wishing that she herself was like her
instead of the wild madcap she was. Then, thinking that her conduct
required some apology, she answered, as none save one as fresh and
ingenuous as Maggie Miller would have answered: "I don't know any
better than to behave as I do. I've always lived in the woods--have
never been to school a day in my life--never been anywhere except to
camp-meeting, and once to Douglas' store in Worcester!"

This was entirely a new phase of character to the man of the world,
who laughed aloud, and at the mention of Douglas' store started so
quickly that a spasm of pain distorted his features, causing Maggie to
ask if he were badly hurt.

"Nothing but a broken leg," he answered; and Maggie, to whose mind
broken bones conveyed a world of pain and suffering, replied: "Oh, I
am so sorry for you! and it's my fault, too. Will you forgive me?" and
her hands clasped his so pleadingly that, raising himself upon his
elbow so as to obtain a better view of her bright face, he answered,
"I'd willingly break a hundred bones for the sake of meeting a girl
like you, Maggie Miller."

Maggie was unused to flattery, save as it came from her grandmother,
Theo, or old Hagar, and now paying no heed to his remark she said:
"Can you stay here alone while I go for help? Our house is not far

"I'd rather you would remain with me," he replied; "but as you cannot
do both, I suppose you must go."

"I shan't be gone long, and I'll send old Hagar to keep you company."
So saying, Maggie climbed the bank, and, mounting Gritty, who stood
quietly awaiting her, seized the other horse by the bridle and rode
swiftly away, leaving the young man to meditate upon the novel
situation in which he had so suddenly been placed.

"Aint I in a pretty predicament!" said he, as he tried in vain to move
his swollen limb, which was broken in two places, but which being
partially benumbed did not now pain him much. "But it serves me right
for chasing a harum-scarum thing when I ought to have been minding my
own business and collecting bills for Douglas & Co. And she says she's
been there, too. I wonder who she is, the handsome sprite. I believe I
made her more than half jealous talking of my golden-haired Rose; but
she is far more beautiful than Rose, more beautiful than anyone I ever
saw. I wish she'd come back again," and, shutting his eyes, he tried
to recall the bright, animated face which had so lately bent anxiously
above him. "She tarries long," he said at last, beginning to grow
uneasy. "I wonder how far it is; and where the deuce can this old
Hagar be, of whom she spoke?"

"She's here," answered a shrill voice, and looking up he saw before
him the bent form of Hagar Warren, at whose door Maggie had paused for
a moment while she told of the accident and begged of Hagar to hasten.

Accordingly, equipped with a blanket and pillow, a brandy bottle and
camphor, old Hagar had come, but when she offered the latter for the
young man's acceptance he pushed it from him, saying that camphor was
his detestation, but he shouldn't object particularly to smelling of
the other bottle!

"No, you don't," said Hagar, who thought him in not quite so
deplorable a condition as she had expected to find him. "My creed is
never to give young folks brandy except in cases of emergency." So
saying, she made him more comfortable by placing a pillow beneath his
head; and then, thinking possibly that this to herself was a "case of
emergency," she withdrew to a little distance, and sitting down upon
the gnarled roots of an upturned tree drank a swallow of the old
Cognac, while the young man, maimed and disabled, looked wistfully at

Not that he cared for the brandy, of which he seldom tasted; but he
needed something to relieve the deathlike faintness which occasionally
came over him, and which old Hagar, looking only at his mischievous
eyes, failed to observe. Only those who knew Henry Warner intimately
gave him credit for many admirable qualities he really possessed--so
full was he of fun. It was in his merry eyes and about his quizzically
shaped mouth that the principal difficulty lay; and most persons,
seeing him for the first time, fancied that in some way he was making
sport of them. This was old Hagar's impression, as she sat there in
dignified silence, rather enjoying, than otherwise, the occasional
groans which came from his white lips. There were intervals, however,
when he was comparatively free from pain, and these he improved by
questioning her with regard to Maggie, asking who she was and where
she lived.

"She is Maggie Miller, and she lives in a house," answered the old
woman rather pettishly.

"Ah, indeed--snappish, are you?" said the young man, attempting to
turn himself a little, the better to see his companion. "Confound that
leg!" he continued, as a fierce twinge gave him warning not to try
many experiments. "I know her name is Maggie Miller, and I supposed
she lived in a house; but who is she, anyway, and what is she?"

"If you mean is she anybody, I can answer that question quick,"
returned Hagar. "She calls Madam Conway her grandmother, and Madam
Conway came from one of the best families in England--that's who she
is; and as to what she is, she's the finest, handsomest, smartest girl
in America; and as long as old Hagar Warren lives no city chap with
strapped-down pantaloons and sneering mouth is going to fool with her

"Confound my mouth--it's always getting me into trouble!" thought the
stranger, trying in vain to smooth down the corners of the offending
organ, which in spite of him would curve with what Hagar called a
sneer, and from which there finally broke a merry laugh, sadly at
variance with the suffering expression of his face.

"Your leg must hurt you mightily, the way you go on," muttered Hagar;
and the young man answered: "It does almost murder me, but when a
laugh is in a fellow he can't help letting it out, can he? But where
the plague can that witch of a--I beg your pardon, Mrs. Hagar," he
added hastily, as he saw the frown settling on the old woman's face,
"I mean to say where can Miss Miller be? I shall faint away unless she
comes soon, or you give me a taste of the brandy!"

This time there was something in the tone of his voice which prompted
Hagar to draw near, and she was about to offer him the brandy when
Maggie appeared, together with three men bearing a litter. The sight
of her produced a much better effect upon him than Hagar's brandy
would have done, and motioning the old woman aside he declared himself
ready to be removed.

"Now, John, do pray be careful and not hurt him much!" cried Maggie,
as she saw how pale and faint he was, while even Hagar forgot the
curled lip, which the young man bit until the blood started through,
so intense was his agony when they lifted him upon the litter. "The
camphor, Hagar, the camphor!" said Maggie; and the stranger did not
push it aside when her hand poured it on his head, but the laughing
eyes, now dim with pain, smiled gratefully upon her, and the quivering
lips once murmured as she walked beside him, "Heaven bless you, Maggie

Arrived at Hagar's cottage, the old woman suggested that he be carried
in there, saying as she met Maggie's questioning glance, "I can take
care of him better than anyone else."

The pain by this time was intolerable, and scarcely knowing what he
said the stranger whispered, "Yes, yes, leave me here."

For a moment the bearers paused, while Maggie, bending over the
wounded man, said softly: "Can't you bear it a little longer, until
our house is reached? You'll be more comfortable there. Grandma has
gone to England, and I'll take care of you myself!"

This last was perfectly in accordance with Maggie's frank, impulsive
character, and it had the desired effect. Henry Warner would have
borne almost death itself for the sake of being nursed by the young
girl beside him, and he signified his willingness to proceed, while at
the same time his hand involuntarily grasped that of Maggie, as if in
the touch of her snowy fingers there were a mesmeric power to soothe
his pain. In the meantime a hurried consultation had been held between
Mrs. Jeffrey and Theo as to the room suitable for the stranger to be
placed in.

"It's not likely he is much," said Theo; "and if grandma were here I
presume she would assign him the chamber over the kitchen. The wall
is low on one side, I know, but I dare say he is not accustomed to
anything better."

Accordingly several articles of stray lumber were removed from the
chamber, which the ladies arranged with care, and which when completed
presented quite a respectable appearance. But Maggie had no idea of
putting her guest, as she considered him, in the kitchen chamber; and
when, as the party entered the house, Mrs. Jeffrey, from the head of
the stairs, called out, "This way, Maggie; tell them to come this
way," she waved her aside, and led the way to a large airy room over
the parlor, where, in a high, old-fashioned bed, surrounded on all
sides by heavy damask curtains, they laid the weary stranger. The
village surgeon arriving soon after, the fractured bones were set, and
then, as perfect quiet seemed necessary, the room was vacated by all
save Maggie, who glided noiselessly around the apartment, while the
eyes of the sick man followed her with eager, admiring glances, so
beautiful she looked to him in her new capacity of nurse.

Henry Warner, as the stranger was called, was the junior partner of
the firm of Douglas & Co., Worcester, and his object in visiting the
Hillsdale neighborhood was to collect several bills which for a long
time had been due. He had left the cars at the depot, and, hiring a
livery horse, was taking the shortest route from the east side of town
to the west, when he came accidentally upon Maggie Miller, and, as we
have seen, brought his ride to a sudden close. All this he told to her
on the morning following the accident, retaining until the last the
name of the firm of which he was a member.

"And you were once at our store?" he said. "How long ago?"

"Five years," answered Maggie; "when I was eleven, and Theo thirteen;"
then, looking earnestly at him, she exclaimed. "And you are the very
one, the clerk with the saucy eyes whom grandma disliked so much
because she thought he made fun of her; but we didn't think so--Theo
and I," she added hastily, as she saw the curious expression on
Henry's mouth, and fancied he might be displeased. "We liked them both
very much, and knew they must of course be annoyed with grandma's
English whims."

For a moment the saucy eyes studied intently the fair girlish face of
Maggie Miller, then slowly closed, while a train of thought something
like the following passed through the young man's mind: "A woman, and
yet a perfect child--innocent and unsuspecting as little Rose herself.
In one respect they are alike, knowing no evil and expecting none; and
if I, Henry Warner, do aught by thought or deed to injure this young
girl may I never again look on the light of day or breathe the air of

The vow had passed his lips. Henry Warner never broke his word, and
henceforth Maggie Miller was as safe with him as if she had been
an only and well-beloved sister. Thinking him to be asleep, Maggie
started to leave the room, but he called her back, saying, "Don't go;
stay with me, won't you?"

"Certainly," she answered, drawing a chair to the bedside. "I supposed
you were sleeping."

"I was not," he replied. "I was thinking of you and of Rose. Your
voices are much alike. I thought of it yesterday when I lay upon the

"Who is Rose?" trembled on Maggie's lips, while at the sound of that
name she was conscious of the same undefinable emotion she had once
before experienced. But the question was not asked. "If she were
his sister he would tell me," she thought; "and if she is not his

She did not finish the sentence, neither did she understand that if
Rose to him was something dearer than a sister, she, Maggie Miller,
did not care to know it.

"Is she beautiful as her name, this Rose?" she asked at last.

"She is beautiful, but not so beautiful as you. There are few who
are," answered Henry; and his eyes fixed themselves upon Maggie to see
how she would bear the compliment.

But she scarcely heeded it, so intent was she upon knowing something
more of the mysterious Rose. "She is beautiful, you say. Will you tell
me how she looks?" she continued; and Henry Warner answered, "She is a
frail, delicate little creature, almost dwarfish in size, but perfect
in form and feature."

Involuntarily Maggie shrunk back in her chair, wishing her own queenly
form had been a very trifle shorter, while Mr. Warner continued, "She
has a sweet, angel face, Maggie, with eyes of lustrous blue and curls
of golden hair."

"You must love her very dearly," said Maggie, the tone of her voice
indicating a partial dread of what the answer might be.

"I do indeed love her," was Mr. Warner's reply--"love her better than
all the world beside. And she has made me what I am; but for her I
should have been a worthless, dissipated fellow. It's my natural
disposition; but Rose has saved me, and I almost worship her for it.
She is my good angel--my darling--my--"

Here he paused abruptly, and leaning back upon his pillows rather
enjoyed than otherwise the look of disappointment plainly visible on
Maggie's face. She had fully expected to learn who Rose was; but this
knowledge he purposely kept from her. It did not need a very close
observer of human nature to read at a glance the ingenuous Maggie,
whose speaking face betrayed all she felt. She was unused to the
world. He was the first young gentleman whose acquaintance she had
ever made, and he knew that she already felt for him a deeper interest
than she supposed. To increase this interest was his object, and this
he thought to do by withholding from her, for a time, a knowledge of
the relation existing between him and the Rose of whom he had talked
so much. The ruse was successful, for during the remainder of the day
thoughts of the golden-haired Rose were running through Maggie's mind,
and it was late that night ere she could compose herself to sleep, so
absorbed was she in wondering what Rose was to Henry Warner. Not that
she cared particularly, she tried to persuade herself; but she would
very much like to be at ease upon the subject.

To Theo she had communicated the fact that their guest was a partner
of Douglas & Co., and this tended greatly to raise the young man in
the estimation of a young lady like Theo Miller. Next to rank and
station, money was with her the one thing necessary to make a person
"somebody." Douglas, she had heard, was an immensely wealthy man;
possibly the junior partner was wealthy, too; and if so, the parlor
chamber to which she had at first objected was none too good for his
aristocratic bones. She would go herself and see him in the morning.

Accordingly, on the morning of the second day she went with Maggie to
the sickroom, speaking to the stranger for the first time; but keeping
still at a respectable distance, until she should know something
definite concerning him.

"We have met before, it seems," he said, after the first interchange
of civilities was over; "but I did not think our acquaintance would be
renewed in this manner."

No answer from Theo, who, like many others, had taken a dislike to his
mouth, and felt puzzled to know whether he intended ridiculing her or

"I have a distinct recollection of your grandmother," he continued,
"and now I think of it I believe Douglas has once or twice mentioned
the elder of the two girls. That must be you?" and he looked at Theo,
whose face brightened perceptibly.

"Douglas," she repeated. "He is the owner of the store; and the one I
saw, with black eyes and black hair, was only a clerk."

"The veritable man himself!" cried Mr. Warner. "George Douglas, the
senior partner of the firm, said by some to be worth two hundred
thousand dollars, and only twenty-eight years old, and the best fellow
in the world, except that he pretends to dislike women."

By this time Theo's proud blue eyes shone with delight, and when,
after a little further conversation, Mr. Warner expressed a wish to
write to his partner, she brought her own rosewood writing desk for
him to use, and then, seating herself by the window, waited until the
letter was written.

"What shall I say for you, Miss Theo?" he asked, near the close; and,
coloring slightly, she answered, "Invite him to come out and see you."

"Oh, that will be grand!" cried Maggie, who was far more enthusiastic,
though not more anxious, than her sister.

Of her Henry Warner did not ask any message. He would not have written
it had she sent one; and folding the letter, after adding Theo's
invitation, he laid it aside.

"I must write to Rose next," he said; "'tis a whole week since I have
written, and she has never been so long without hearing from me."

Instantly there came a shadow over Maggie's face, while Theo, less
scrupulous, asked who Rose was.

"A very dear friend of mine," said Henry; and, as Mrs. Jeffrey just
then sent for Theo, Maggie was left with him alone.

"Wait one moment," she said, as she saw him about to commence the
letter. "Wait till I bring you a sheet of gilt-edged paper. It is more
worthy of Rose, I fancy, than the plainer kind."

"Thank you," he said. "I will tell her of your suggestion."

The paper was brought, and then seating herself by the window Maggie
looked out abstractedly, seeing nothing, and hearing nothing save the
sound of the pen, as it wrote down words of love for the gentle Rose.
It was not a long epistle; and, as at the close of the Douglas letter
he had asked a message from Theo, so now at the close of this he
claimed one from Maggie.

"What shall I say for you?" he asked; and, coming toward him, Margaret
answered, "Tell her I love her, though I don't know who she is!"

"Why have you never asked me?" queried Henry; and, coloring crimson,
Maggie answered hesitatingly, "I thought you would tell me if you
wished me to know."

"Read this letter, and that will explain who she is," the young man
continued, offering the letter to Maggie, who, grasping it eagerly,
sat down opposite, so that every motion of her face was clearly
visible to him.

The letter was as follows:

"MY DARLING LITTLE ROSE: Do you fancy some direful calamity has
befallen me, because I have not written to you for more than a week?
Away with your fears, then, for nothing worse has come upon me than a
badly broken limb, which will probably keep me a prisoner here for two
months or more. Now don't be frightened, Rosa. I am not crippled for
life, and even if I were I could love you just the same, while you,
I'm sure, would love me more.

"As you probably know, I left Worcester on Tuesday morning for the
purpose of collecting some bills in this neighborhood. Arrived at
Hillsdale I procured a horse, and was sauntering leisurely through
the woods, when I came suddenly upon a flying witch in the shape of a
beautiful young girl. She was the finest rider I ever saw; and such a
chase as she led me, until at last, to my dismay, she leaped across a
chasm down which a nervous little creature like you would be afraid to
look. Not wishing to be outdone, I followed her, and as a matter of
course broke my bones.

"Were it not that the accident will somewhat incommode Douglas, and
greatly fidget you, I should not much regret it, for to me there is a
peculiar charm about this old stone house and its quaint surroundings.
But the greatest charm of all, perhaps, lies in my fair nurse, Maggie
Miller, for whom I risked my neck. You two would be fast friends in a
moment, and yet you are totally dissimilar, save that your voices are
much alike.

"Write to me soon, dear Rose, and believe me ever

"Your affectionate brother,


"Oh!" said Maggie, catching her breath, which for a time had been
partially suspended, "Oh!" and in that single monosyllable there was
to the young man watching her a world of meaning. "She's your sister,
this little Rose," and the soft dark eyes flashed brightly upon him.

"What did you suppose her to be?" he asked, and Maggie answered, "I
thought she might be your wife, though I should rather have her for a
sister if I were you."

The young man smiled involuntarily, thinking to himself how his
fashionable city friends would be shocked at such perfect frankness,
which meant no more than their own studied airs.

"You are a good girl, Maggie," he said at last, "and I wouldn't for
the world deceive you; Rose is my step-sister. We are in no way
connected save by marriage, still I love her all the same. We were
brought up together by a lady who is aunt to both, and Rose seems to
me like an own dear sister. She has saved me from almost everything. I
once loved the wine cup; but her kindly words and gentle influence won
me back, so that now I seldom taste it. And once I thought to run away
to sea, but Rose found it out, and, meeting me at the gate, persuaded
me to return. It is wonderful, the influence she has over me, keeping
my wild spirits in check; and if I am ever anything I shall owe it all
to her."

"Does she live in Worcester?" asked Maggie; and Henry answered: "No;
in Leominster, which is not far distant. I go home once a month; and
I fancy I can see Rose now, just as she looks when she comes tripping
down the walk to meet me, her blue eyes shining like stars and her
golden curls blowing over her pale forehead. She is very, very frail;
and sometimes when I look upon her the dread fear steals over me that
there will come a time, ere long, when I shall have no sister."

There were tears in Maggie's eyes, tears for the fair young girl whom
she had never seen, and she felt a yearning desire to look on the
beautiful face of her whom Henry called his sister. "I wish she would
come here; I want to see her," she said at last; and Henry replied:
"She does not go often from home. But I have her daguerreotype in
Worcester. I'll write to Douglas to bring it," and opening the letter,
which was not yet sealed, he added a few lines. "Come, Maggie," he
said, when this was finished, "you need exercise. Suppose you ride
over to the office with these letters?"

Maggie would rather have remained with him; but she expressed her
willingness to go, and in a few moments was seated on Gritty's back
with the two letters clasped firmly in her hand. At one of these, the
one bearing the name of Rose Warner, she looked often and wistfully;
it was a most beautiful name, she thought, and she who bore it was
beautiful too. And then there arose within her a wish--shadowy and
undefined to herself, it is true; but still a wish--that she, Maggie
Miller, might one day call that gentle Rose her sister. "I shall see
her sometimes, anyway," she thought, "and this George Douglas, too. I
wish they'd visit us together;" and having by this time reached the
post-office she deposited the letters and galloped rapidly toward



The establishment of Douglas & Co. was closed for the night. The
clerks had gone each to his own home; old Safford, the poor relation,
the man-of-all-work, who attended faithfully to everything, groaning
often and praying oftener over the careless habits of "the boys," as
he called the two young men, his employers, had sought his comfortless
bachelor attic, where he slept always with one ear open, listening for
any burglarious sound which might come from the store below, and which
had it come to him listening thus would have frightened him half
to death. George Douglas, too, the senior partner of the firm, had
retired to his own room, which was far more elegantly furnished than
that of the old man in the attic, and now in a velvet easy-chair he
sat reading the letter from Hillsdale, which had arrived that evening,
and a portion of which we subjoin for the reader's benefit.

After giving an account of his accident, and the manner in which it
occurred, Warner continued:

"They say 'tis a mighty bad wind which blows no one any good, and so,
though I verily believe I suffer all a man can suffer with a broken
bone, yet when I look at the fair face of Maggie Miller I feel that
I would not exchange this high old bed, to enter which needs a short
ladder, even for a seat by you on that three-legged stool behind the
old writing-desk. I never saw anything like her in my life. Everything
she thinks, she says, and as to flattering her, it can't be done. I've
told her a dozen times at least that she was beautiful, and she didn't
mind it any more than Rose does when I flatter her. Still, I fancy if
I were to talk to her of love it might make a difference, and perhaps
I shall ere I leave the place.

"You know, George, I have always insisted there was but one female in
the world fit to be a wife, and as that one was my sister I should
probably never have the pleasure of paying any bills for Mrs. Henry
Warner; but I've half changed my mind, and I'm terribly afraid this
Maggie Miller, not content with breaking my bones, has made sad work
with another portion of the body, called by physiologists the heart.
I don't know how a man feels when he is in love; but when this Maggie
Miller looks me straight in the face with her sunshiny eyes, while her
little soft white hand pushes back my hair (which, by the way, I slyly
disarrange on purpose), I feel the blood tingle to the ends of my
toes, and still I dare not hint such a thing to her. 'Twould frighten
her off in a moment, and she'll send in her place either an old hag of
a woman called Hagar, or her proud sister Theo, whom I cannot endure.

"By the way, George, this Theo will just suit you, who are fond of
aristocracy. She's proud as Lucifer; thinks because she was born
in England, and sprang from a high family, that there is no one in
America worthy of her ladyship's notice, unless indeed they chance to
have money. You ought to have seen how her eyes lighted up when I told
her you were said to be worth two hundred thousand dollars! She told
me directly to invite you out here, and this, I assure you, was a
good deal for her to do. So don your best attire, not forgetting the
diamond cross, and come for a day or two. Old Safford will attend to
the store. It's what he was made for, and he likes it. But as I am a
Warner, so shall I do my duty and warn you not to meddle with Maggie.
She is my own exclusive property, and altogether too good for a
worldly fellow like you. Theo will suit you better. She's just
aristocratic enough in her nature. I don't see how the two girls come
to be so wholly unlike as they are. Why, I'd sooner take Maggie for
Rose's sister than for Theo's!

"Bless me, I had almost forgotten to ask if you remember that stiff
old English woman with the snuff-colored satin who came to our store
some five years ago, and found so much fault with Yankee goods, as she
called them? If you have forgotten her, you surely remember the
two girls in flats, one of whom seemed so much distressed at her
grandmother's remarks. She, the distressed one, was Maggie; the other
was Theo; and the old lady was Madam Conway, who, luckily for me,
chances at this time to be in England, buying up goods, I presume.
Maggie says that this trip to Worcester, together with a camp-meeting
held in the Hillsdale woods last year, is the extent of her travels,
and one would think so to see her. A perfect child of nature, full
of fun, beautiful as a Hebe, and possessing the kindest heart in the
world. If you wish to know more of her come and see for yourself; but
again I warn you, hands off; nobody is to flirt with her but myself,
and it is very doubtful whether even I can do it peaceably, for
that old Hagar, who, by the way, is a curious specimen, gave me to
understand when I lay on the rock, with her sitting by, as a sort of
ogress, that so long as she lived no city chap with strapped pants (do
pray, bring me a pair, George, without straps!) and sneering mouth was
going to fool with Margaret Miller.

"So you see my mouth is at fault again. Hang it all, I can't imagine
what ails it, that everybody should think I'm making fun of them.
Even old Safford mutters about my making mouths at him when I haven't
thought of him in a month! Present my compliments to the old gentleman
and tell him one of 'the boys' thinks seriously of following his
advice, which you know is 'to sow our wild oats and get a wife.' Do,
pray, come, for I am only half myself without you.

"Yours in the brotherhood,


For a time after reading the above George Douglas sat wrapped in
thought, then bursting into a laugh as he thought how much the letter
was like the jovial, light-hearted fellow who wrote it, he put it
aside, and leaning back in his chair mused long and silently, not of
Theo, but of Maggie, half wishing he were in Warner's place instead of
being there in the dusty city. But as this could not be, he contented
himself with thinking that at some time not far distant he would visit
the old stone house--would see for himself this wonderful Maggie--and,
though he had been warned against it, would possibly win her from
his friend, who, unconsciously perhaps, had often crossed his path,
watching him jealously lest he should look too often and too long upon
the fragile Rose, blooming so sweetly in her bird's-nest of a home
among the tall old trees of Leominster.

"But he need not fear," he said somewhat bitterly, "he need not fear
for her, for it is over now. She has refused me, this Rose Warner, and
though it touched my pride to hear her tell me no, I cannot hate her
for it. She had given her love to another, she said, and Warner is
blind or crazy that he does not see the truth. But it is not for me to
enlighten him. He may call her sister if he likes, though there is
no tie of blood between them. I'd far rather it would be thus, than
something nearer;" and, slowly rising up, George Douglas retired to
dream of a calm, almost heavenly face which but the day before had
been bathed in tears as he told to Rose Warner the story of his love.
Mingled, too, with that dream was another face, a laughing, sparkling,
merry face, upon which no man ever yet had looked and escaped with a
whole heart.

The morning light dispelled the dream, and when in the store old
Safford inquired, "What news from the boy?" the senior partner
answered gravely that he was lying among the Hillsdale hills, with a
broken leg caused by a fall from his horse.

"Always was a careless rider," muttered old Safford, mentally
deploring the increased amount of labor which would necessarily fall
upon him, but which he performed without a word of complaint.

The fair May blossoms were faded, and the last June roses were
blooming ere George Douglas found time or inclination to accept the
invitation indirectly extended to him by Theo Miller. Rose Warner's
refusal had affected him more than he chose to confess, and the wound
must be slightly healed ere he could find pleasure in the sight of
another. Possessed of many excellent qualities, he had unfortunately
fallen into the error of thinking that almost anyone whom he should
select would take him for his money. And when Rose Warner, sitting by
his side in the shadowy twilight, had said, "I cannot be your wife,"
the shock was sudden and hard to bear. But the first keen bitterness
was over now, and remembering "the wild girls of the woods," as he
mentally styled both Theo and Maggie, he determined at last to see
them for himself.

Accordingly, on the last day of June he started for Hillsdale, where
he intended to remain until after the Fourth. To find the old house
was an easy matter, for almost everyone in town was familiar with its
locality, and towards the close of the afternoon he found himself
upon its broad steps applying vigorous strokes to the ponderous brass
knocker, and half hoping the summons would be answered by Maggie
herself. But it was not, and in the bent, white-haired woman who came
with measured footsteps we recognize old Hagar, who spent much of her
time at the house, and who came to the door in compliance with the
request of the young ladies, both of whom, from an upper window, were
curiously watching the stranger.

"Just the old witch one would expect to find in this out-of-the-way
place," thought Mr. Douglas, while at the same time he asked if that
were Madam Conway's residence, and if a young man by the name of
Warner were staying there.

"Another city beau!" muttered Hagar, as she answered in the
affirmative, and ushered him into the parlor. "Another city
beau--there'll be high carryings-on now, if he's anything like the
other one, who's come mighty nigh turning the house upside down."

"What did you say?" asked George Douglas, catching the sound of her
muttering, and thinking she was addressing himself.

"I wasn't speaking to you. I was talking to a likelier person,"
answered old Hagar in an undertone, as she shuffled away in quest of
Henry Warner, who by this time was able to walk with the help of a

The meeting between the young men was a joyful one, for though George
Douglas was a little sore on the subject of Rose, he would not suffer
a matter like that to come between him and Henry Warner, whom he had
known and liked from boyhood. Henry's first inquiries were naturally
of a business character, and then George Douglas spoke of the young
ladies, saying he was only anxious to see Maggie, for he knew of
course he should dislike the other.

Such, however, is wayward human nature that the fair, pale face, and
quiet, dignified manner of Theo Miller had greater attractions for a
person of George Douglas' peculiar temperament than had the dashing,
brilliant Maggie. There was a resemblance, he imagined, between Theo
and Rose, and this of itself was sufficient to attract him towards
her. Theo, too, was equally pleased; and when, that evening, Madam
Jeffrey faintly interposed her fast-departing authority, telling her
quondam pupils it was time they were asleep, Theo did not, as usual,
heed the warning, but sat very still beneath the vine-wreathed
portico, listening while George Douglas told her of the world which
she had never seen. She was not proud towards him, for he possessed
the charm of money, and as he looked down upon her, conversing with
him so familiarly, he wondered how Henry could have called her cold
and haughty--she was merely dignified, high-bred, he thought; and
George Douglas liked anything which savored of aristocracy.

Meanwhile Henry and Maggie had wandered to a little summer-house,
where, with the bright moonlight falling upon them, they sat together,
but not exactly as of old, for Maggie did not now look up into his
face as she was wont to do, and if she thought his eye was resting
upon her she moved uneasily, while the rich blood deepened on her
cheek. A change has come over Maggie Miller; it is the old story,
too--old to hundreds of thousands, but new to her, the blushing
maiden. Theo calls her nervous--Mrs. Jeffrey calls her sick--the
servants call her mighty queer--while old Hagar, hovering ever near,
and watching her with a jealous eye, knows she is in love.

Faithfully and well had Hagar studied Henry Warner, to see if there
were aught in him of evil; and though he was not what she would have
chosen for the queenly Maggie she was satisfied if Margaret loved him
and he loved Margaret. But did he? He had never told her so; and
in Hagar Warren's wild black eyes there was a savage gleam, as she
thought, "He'll rue the day that he dares trifle with Maggie Miller."

But Henry Warner was not trifling with her. He was only waiting a
favorable opportunity for telling her the story of his love; and now,
as they sit together in the moonlight, with the musical flow of the
mill-stream falling on his ear, he essays to speak--to tell how she
has grown into his heart; to ask her to go with him where he goes; to
make his home her home, and so be with him always; but ere the first
word was uttered Maggie asked if Mr. Douglas had brought the picture
of his sister.

"Why, yes," he answered; "I had forgotten it entirely. Here it is;"
and taking it from his pocket he passed it to her.

It was a face of almost ethereal loveliness that through the moonlight
looked up to Maggie Miller, and again she experienced the same
undefinable emotion, a mysterious, invisible something drawing her
towards the original of the beautiful likeness.

"It is strange how thoughts of Rose always affect me," she said,
gazing earnestly upon the large eyes of blue shadowed forth upon the
picture. "It seems as though she must be nearer to me than an unknown

"Seems she like a sister?" asked Henry Warner, coming so near that
Maggie felt his warm breath upon her cheek.

"Yes, yes, that's it," she answered, with something of her olden
frankness. "And had I somewhere in the world an unknown sister I
should say it was Rose Warner!"

There were a few low, whispered words, and when the full moon, which
for a time had hidden itself behind the clouds, again shone forth in
all its glory, Henry had asked Maggie Miller to be the sister of Rose
Warner, and Maggie had answered "Yes"!

That night in Maggie's dreams there was a strange commingling
of thoughts. Thoughts of Henry Warner, as he told her of his
love--thoughts of the gentle girl whose eyes of blue had looked so
lovingly up to her, as if between them there was indeed a common bond
of sympathy--and, stranger far than all, thoughts of the little
grave beneath the pine where slept the so-called child of Hester
Hamilton--the child defrauded of its birthright, and who, in the misty
vagaries of dreamland, seemed to stand between her and the beautiful
Rose Warner!



On the rude bench by her cabin door sat Hagar Warren, her black eyes
peering out into the woods and her quick ear turned to catch the first
sound of bounding footsteps, which came at last, and Maggie Miller was
sitting by her side.

"What is it, darling?" Hagar asked, and her shriveled hand smoothed
caressingly the silken hair, as she looked into the glowing face of
the young girl, and half guessed what was written there.

To Theo Maggie had whispered the words, "I am engaged," and Theo had
coldly answered: "Pshaw! Grandma will quickly break that up. Why,
Henry Warner is comparatively poor! Mr. Douglas told me so, or rather
I quizzed him until I found it out. He says, though, that Henry has
rare business talents, and he could not do without him."

To the latter part of Theo's remark Maggie paid little heed; but the
mention of her grandmother troubled her. She would oppose it, Maggie
was sure of that, and it was to talk on this very subject that she had
come to Hagar's cottage.

"Just the way I s'posed it would end," said Hagar, when Maggie, with
blushing, half-averted face, told the story of her engagement. "Just
the way I s'posed 'twould end, but I didn't think 'twould be so

"Two months and a half is a great while, and then we have been
together so much," replied Maggie, at the same time asking if Hagar
did not approve her choice.

"Henry Warner's well enough," answered Hagar. "I've watched him close
and see no evil in him; but he isn't the one for you, nor are you the
one for him. You are both too wild, too full of fun, and if yoked
together will go to destruction, I know. You need somebody to hold you
back, and so does he."

Involuntarily Maggie thought of Rose, mentally resolving to be, if
possible, more like her.

"You are not angry with me?" said Hagar, observing Maggie's silence.
"You asked my opinion, and I gave it to you. You are too young to know
who you like. Henry Warner is the first man you ever knew, and in two
years' time you'll tire of him."

"Tire of him, Hagar? Tire of Henry Warner?" cried Maggie a little
indignantly. "You do not know me, if you think I'll ever tire of him;
and then, too, did I tell you grandma keeps writing to me about a Mr.
Carrollton, who she says is wealthy, fine-looking, highly educated,
and very aristocratic--and that last makes me hate him! I've heard so
much about aristocracy that I'm sick of it, and just for that reason
I would not have this Mr. Carrollton if I knew he'd make me queen of
England. But grandma's heart is set upon it, I know, and she thinks
of course he would marry me--says he is delighted with my
daguerreotype--that awful one, too, with the staring eyes. In
grandma's last letter he sent me a note. 'Twas beautifully written,
and I dare say he is a fine young man, at least he talks common sense,
but I shan't answer it; and, if you'll believe me, I used part of
it in lighting Henry's cigar, and with the rest I shall light
firecrackers on the Fourth of July; Henry has bought a lot of them,
and we're going to have fun. How grandma would scold!--but I shall
marry Henry Warner, anyway. Do you think she will oppose me, when she
sees how determined I am?"

"Of course she will," answered Hagar. "I know those Carrolltons--they
are a haughty race; and if your grandmother has one of them in view
she'll turn you from her door sooner than see you married to another,
and an American, too."

There was a moment's silence, and then, with an unnatural gleam in
her eye, old Hagar turned towards Maggie, and, grasping her shoulder,
said: "If she does this thing, Maggie Miller,--if she casts you
off,--will you take me for your grandmother? Will you let me live with
you? I'll be your drudge, your slave; say, Maggie, may I go with you?
Will you call me grandmother? I'd willingly die if only once I could
hear you speak to me thus, and know it was in love."

For a moment Maggie looked at her in astonishment; then thinking to
herself, "She surely is half-crazed," she answered laughingly: "Yes,
Hagar, if grandma casts me off, you may go with me. I shall need your
care, but I can't promise to call you grandma, because you know you
are not."

The corners of Hagar's mouth worked nervously, but her teeth shut
firmly over the thin, white lip, forcing back the wild words trembling
there, and the secret was not told.

"Go home, Maggie Miller," she said at last, rising slowly to her feet.
"Go home now, and leave me alone. I am willing you should marry Henry
Warner--nay, I wish you to do it; but you must remember your promise."

Maggie was about to answer, when her thoughts were directed to another
channel by the sight of George Douglas and Theo coming slowly down the
shaded pathway which led past Hagar's door. Old Hagar saw them too,
and, whispering to Maggie, said, "There's another marriage brewing, or
the signs do not tell true, and madam will sanction this one, too, for
there's money there, and gold can purify any blood."

Ere Maggie could reply Theo called out, "You here, Maggie, as usual?"
adding, aside, to her companion: "She has the most unaccountable
taste, so different from me, who cannot endure anything low and
vulgar. Can you? But I need not ask," she continued, "for your
associations have been of a refined nature."

George Douglas did not answer, for his thoughts were back in the brown
farmhouse at the foot of the hill, where his boyhood was passed, and
he wondered what the high-bred lady at his side would say if she could
see the sunburned man and plain, old-fashioned woman who called him
their son George Washington. He would not confess that he was ashamed
of his parentage, for he tried to be a kind and dutiful child, but he
would a little rather that Theo Miller should not know how democratic
had been his early training. So he made no answer, but, addressing
himself to Maggie, asked how she could find it in her heart to leave
her patient so long.

"I'm going back directly," she said, and donning her hat she started
for home, thinking she had gained but little satisfaction from Hagar,
who, as Douglas and Theo passed on, resumed her seat by the door, and,
listening to the sound of Margaret's retreating footsteps, muttered:
"The old light-heartedness is gone. There are shadows gathering round
her; for once in love, she'll never be as free and joyous again. But
it can't be helped; it's the destiny of women, and I only hope this
Warner is worthy of her. But he aint. He's too wild--too full of what
Hagar Warren calls bedevilment. And Maggie does everything he tells
her to do. Not content with tearing down his bed-curtains, which have
hung there full twenty years, she's set things all cornerwise, because
the folks do so in Worcester, and has turned the parlor into a
smoking-room, till all the air of Hillsdale can't take away that
tobacco scent. Why, it almost knocks me down!" and the old lady
groaned aloud, as she recounted to herself the recent innovations upon
the time-honored habits of her mistress' house.

Henry Warner was, indeed, rather a fast young man, but it needed the
suggestive presence of George Douglas to bring out his true character;
and for the four days succeeding the arrival of the latter there were
rare doings at the old stone house, where the astonished and rather
delighted servants looked on in amazement while the young men sang
their jovial songs and drank of the rare old wine which Maggie,
utterly fearless of what her grandmother might say, brought from the
cellar below. But when, on the morning of the Fourth, Henry Warner
suggested that they have a celebration, or at least hang out the
American flag by way of showing their patriotism, there were signs of
rebellion in the kitchen, while even Mrs. Jeffrey, who had long since
ceased to interfere, felt it her duty to remonstrate. Accordingly, she
descended to the parlor, where she found George Douglas and Maggie
dancing to the tune of "Yankee Doodle," which Theo played upon the
piano, while Henry Warner whistled a most stirring accompaniment! To
be heard above that din was impossible, and involuntarily patting her
own slippered foot to the lively strain the distressed little lady
went back to her room, wondering what Madam Conway would say if she
knew how her house was being desecrated.

But Madam Conway did not know. She was three thousand miles away, and
with this distance between them Maggie dared do anything; so when the
flag was again mentioned, she answered apologetically, as if it were
something of which they ought to be ashamed: "We never had any, but
we can soon make one, I know. 'Twill be fun to see it float from the
housetop!" and, flying up the stairs to the dusty garret, she drew
from a huge oaken chest a scarlet coat which had belonged to the
former owner of the place, who little thought, as he sat in state,
that his favorite coat would one day furnish material for the emblem
of American freedom!

No such thought as this, however, obtruded itself upon Maggie as she
bent over the chest. "The coat is of no use," she said, and gathering
it up she ran back to the parlor, where, throwing it across Henry's
lap, she told how it had belonged to her great-great-grandfather, who
at the time of the Revolution went home to England. The young men
exchanged a meaning look, and then burst into a laugh, but the cause
of their merriment they did not explain, lest the prejudices of the
girls should be aroused.

"This is just the thing," said Henry, entering heart and soul into the
spirit of the fun. "This is grand. Can't you find some blue for the
groundwork of the stars?"

Maggie thought a moment, and then exclaimed: "Oh, yes--I have it;
grandma has a blue satin bodice which she wore when she was a young
lady. She once gave me a part of the back for my doll's dress. She
won't care if I cut up the rest for a banner."

"Of course not," answered George Douglas. "She'll be glad to have
it used for such a laudable purpose," and walking to the window
he laughed heartily as he saw in fancy the wrath of the proud
Englishwoman when she learned the use to which her satin bodice had
been appropriated.

The waist was brought in a twinkling, and then, when Henry asked for
some white, Maggie cried, "A sheet will be just the thing--one of
grandma's small linen ones. It won't hurt it a bit," she added, as
she saw a shadow on Theo's brow, and, mounting to the top of the high
chest of drawers, she brought out a sheet of finest linen, which, with
rose leaves and fragrant herbs, had been carefully packed away.

It was a long, delightful process, the making of that banner; and
Maggie's voice rang out loud and clear as she saw how cleverly Henry
Warner managed the shears, cutting the red coat into stripes. The
arrangement of the satin fell to Maggie's lot; and while George
Douglas made the stars, Theo looked on a little doubtfully--not that
her nationality was in any way affected, for what George Douglas
sanctioned was by this time right with her; but she felt some
misgiving as to what her grandmother might say; and, thinking if she
did nothing but look on and laugh the blame would fall on Maggie, she
stood aloof, making occasionally a suggestion, and seeming as pleased
as anyone when at last the flag was done. A quilting-frame served as
a flagstaff, and Maggie was chosen to plant it upon the top of the
house, where was a cupola, or miniature tower, overlooking the
surrounding country. Leading to this tower was a narrow staircase, and
up these stairs Maggie bore the flag, assisted by one of the servant
girls, whose birthplace was green Erin, and whose broad, good-humored
face shone with delight as she fastened the pole securely in its
place, and then shook aloft her checked apron, in answer to the cheer
which came up from below, when first the American banner waved over
the old stone house.

Attracted by the noise, and wondering what fresh mischief they were
doing, Mrs. Jeffrey went out into the yard just in time to see the
flag of freedom as it shook itself out in the summer breeze.

"Heaven help me!" she ejaculated; "the 'Stars and Stripes' on Madam
Conway's house!" and, resolutely shutting her eyes, lest they should
look again on what to her seemed sacrilege, she groped her way back
to the house; and, retiring to her room, wrote to Madam Conway an
exaggerated account of the proceedings, bidding her hasten home or
everything would be ruined.

The letter being written, the good lady felt better--so much better,
indeed, that after an hour's deliberation she concluded not to send
it, inasmuch as it contained many complaints against the young lady
Margaret, who she knew was sure in the end to find favor in her
grandmother's eyes. This was the first time Mrs. Jeffrey had
attempted a letter to her employer, for Maggie had been the chosen
correspondent, Theo affecting to dislike anything like letter-writing.
On the day previous to Henry Warner's arrival at the stone house
Maggie had written to her grandmother, and ere the time came for her
to write again she had concluded to keep his presence there a secret:
so Madam Conway was, as yet, ignorant of his existence; and while
in the homes of the English nobility she bore herself like a royal
duchess, talking to young Arthur Carrollton of her beautiful
granddaughter, she little dreamed of the real state of affairs at

But it was not for Mrs. Jeffrey to enlighten her, and tearing her
letter in pieces the governess sat down in her easy-chair by the
window, mentally congratulating herself upon the fact that "the two
young savages," as she styled Douglas and Warner, were to leave on the
morrow. This last act of theirs, the hoisting of the banner, had been
the culminating point; and, too indignant to sit with them at the same
table, she resolutely kept her room throughout the entire day, poring
intently over Baxter's "Saints' Rest," her favorite volume when at all
flurried or excited. Occasionally, too, she would stop her ears with
jeweler's cotton, to shut out the sound of "Hail, Columbia!" as it
came up to her from the parlor below, where the young men were doing
their best to show their patriotism.

Towards evening, alarmed by a whizzing sound, which seemed to be often
repeated, and wishing to know the cause, she stole halfway down the
stairs, when the mischievous Maggie greeted her with a "serpent,"
which, hissing beneath her feet, sent her quickly back to her
room, from which she did not venture again. Mrs. Jeffrey was very
good-natured, and reflecting that "young folks must have fun," she
became at last comparatively calm, and at an early hour sought her
pillow. But thoughts of "stars and stripes" waving directly over her
head, as she knew they were, made her nervous, and the long clock
struck the hour of two, and she was yet restless and wakeful,
notwithstanding the near approach of dawn.

"Maybe the 'Saints' Rest' will quiet me a trifle," she thought; and,
striking a light, she attempted to read; but in vain, for every word
was a star, every line a stripe, and every leaf a flag. Shutting the
book and hurriedly pacing the floor, she exclaimed: "It's of no use
trying to sleep, or meditate either. Baxter himself couldn't do it
with that thing over his head, and I mean to take it down. It's a duty
I owe to King George's memory, and to Madam Conway;" and, stealing
from her room, she groped her way up the dark, narrow stairway, until,
emerging into the bright moonlight, she stood directly beneath the
American banner, waving so gracefully in the night wind. "It's a
clever enough device," she said, gazing rather admiringly at it. "And
I'd let it be if I s'posed I could sleep a wink; but I can't. It's
worse for my nerves than strong green tea, and I'll not lie awake for
all the Yankee flags in Christendom." So saying, the resolute little
woman tugged at the quilt-frame until she loosened it from its
fastenings, and then started to return.

But, alas! the way was narrow and dark, the banner was large and
cumbersome, while the lady that bore it was nervous and weak. It is
not strange, then, that Maggie, who slept at no great distance, was
awakened by a tremendous crash, as of someone falling the entire
length of the tower stairs, while a voice, frightened and faint,
called out; "Help me, Margaret, do! I am dead! I know I am!"

Striking a light, Maggie hurried to the spot, while her merry laugh
aroused the servants, who came together in a body. Stretched upon the
floor, with one foot thrust entirely through the banner, which was
folded about her so that the quilt-frame lay directly upon her bosom,
was Mrs. Jeffrey, the broad frill of her cap standing up erect, and
herself asserting with every breath that "she was dead and buried, she
knew she was."

"Wrapped in a winding-sheet, I'll admit," said Maggie, "but not
quite dead, I trust;" and, putting down her light, she attempted to
extricate her governess, who continued to apologize for what she had
done. "Not that I cared so much about your celebrating America; but I
couldn't sleep with the thing over my head; I was going to put it back
in the morning before you were up. There! there! careful! It's broken
short off!" she screamed, as Maggie tried to release her foot from the
rent in the linen sheet, a rent which the frightened woman persisted
in saying she could darn as good as new, while at the same time she
implored of Maggie to handle carefully her ankle, which had been
sprained by the fall.

Maggie's recent experience in broken bones had made her quite an
adept, and taking the slight form of Mrs. Jeffrey in her arms she
carried her back to her room, where, growing more quiet, the old
lady told her how she happened to fall, saying she never thought of
stumbling, until she fancied that Washington and all his regiment were
after her, and when she turned her head to see, she lost her footing
and fell.

Forcing back her merriment, which in spite of herself would
occasionally burst forth, Maggie made her teacher as comfortable as
possible, and then stayed with her until morning, when, leaving her
in charge of a servant, she went below to say farewell to her guests.
Between George Douglas and Theo there were a few low-spoken words, she
granting him permission to write, while he promised to visit her again
in the early autumn. He had not yet talked to her of love, for Rose
Warner had still a home in his heart, and she must be dislodged ere
another could take her place. But his affection for her was growing
gradually less. Theo suited him well; her family suited him better,
and when at parting he took her hand in his he resolved to ask her for
it when next he came to Hillsdale.

Meanwhile between Henry Warner and Maggie there was a far more
affectionate farewell, he whispering to her of a time not far distant
when he would claim her as his own, and, she should go with him. He
would write to her every week, he said, and Rose should write too. He
would see Rose in a few days, and tell her of his engagement, which he
knew would please her.

"Let me send her a line," said Maggie, and on a tiny sheet of paper
she wrote: "Dear Rose: Are you willing I should be your sister

Half an hour later, and Hagar Warren, coming through the garden gate,
looked after the carriage which bore the gentlemen to the depot,
muttering to herself: "I'm glad the high bucks have gone. A good
riddance to them both."

In her disorderly chamber, too, Mrs. Jeffrey hobbled on one foot to
the window, where, with a deep sigh of relief, she sent after the
young men a not very complimentary adieu, which was echoed in part by
the servants below, while Theo, on the piazza, exclaimed against the
lonesome old house, which was never so lonesome before, and Maggie
seated herself upon the stairs and cried!



Nestled among the tall old trees which skirt the borders of Leominster
village was the bird's-nest of a cottage which Rose Warner called her
home, and which, with its wealth of roses, its trailing vines and
flowering shrubs, seemed fitted for the abode of one like her. Slight
as a child twelve summers old, and fair as the white pond lily when
first to the morning sun it unfolds its delicate petals, she seemed
too frail for earth; and both her aunt and he whom she called brother
watched carefully lest the cold north wind should blow too rudely on
the golden curls which shaded her childish brow. Very, very beautiful
was little Rose, and yet few ever looked upon her without a feeling of
sadness; for in the deep blue of her eyes there was a mournful, dreamy
look, as if the shadow of some great sorrow were resting thus early
upon her.

And Rose Warner had a sorrow, too--a grief which none save one had
ever suspected. To him it had come with the words, "I cannot be your
wife for I love another; one who will never know how dear he is to

The words were involuntarily spoken, and George Douglas, looking down
upon her, guessed rightly that he who would never know how much he
was beloved was Henry Warner. To her the knowledge that Henry was
something dearer than a brother had come slowly, filling her heart
with pain, for she well knew that whether he clasped her to his bosom,
as he often did, or pressed his lips upon her brow, he thought of her
only as a brother thinks of a beautiful and idolized sister. It had
heretofore been some consolation to know that his affections were
untrammeled with thoughts of another, that she alone was the object of
his love, and hope had sometimes faintly whispered of what perchance
might be; but from that dream she was waking now, and her face grew
whiter still as there came to her from time to time letters fraught
with praises of Margaret Miller; and if in Rose Warner's nature there
had been a particle of bitterness, it would have been called forth
toward one who, she foresaw, would be her rival. But Rose knew no
malice, and she felt that she would sooner die than do aught to mar
the happiness of Maggie Miller.

For nearly two weeks she had not heard from Henry, and she was
beginning to feel very anxious, when one morning, two or three days
succeeding the memorable Hillsdale celebration, as she sat in a small
arbor so thickly overgrown with the Michigan rose as to render her
invisible at a little distance, she was startled by hearing him call
her name, as he came in quest of her down the garden walk. The next
moment he held her in his arms, kissing her forehead, her lips, her
cheek; then holding her off, he looked to see if there had been in her
aught of change since last they met.

"You are paler than you were, Rose darling," he said, "and your eyes
look as if they had of late been used to tears. What is it, dearest?
What troubles you?"

Rose could not answer immediately, for his sudden coming had taken
away her breath, and as he saw a faint blush stealing over her face he
continued, "Can it be my little sister has been falling in love during
my absence?"

Never before had he spoken to her thus; but a change had come over
him, his heart was full of a beautiful image, and fancying Rose might
have followed his example he asked her the question he did, without,
however, expecting or receiving a definite answer.

"I am so lonely, Henry, when you are gone and do not write to me!" she
said; and in the tones of her voice there was a slight reproof, which
Henry felt keenly.

He had been so engrossed with Maggie Miller and the free joyous life
he led in the Hillsdale woods, that for a time he had neglected Rose,
who, in his absence, depended so much on his letters for comfort.

"I have been very selfish, I know," he said; "but I was so happy, that
for a time I forgot everything save Maggie Miller."

An involuntary shudder ran through Rose's slender form; but,
conquering her emotion, she answered calmly: "What of this Maggie
Miller? Tell me of her, will you?"

Winding his arm around her waist, and drawing her closely to his side,
Henry Warner rested her head upon his bosom, where it had often lain,
and, smoothing her golden curls, told her of Maggie Miller, of her
queenly beauty, of her dashing, independent spirit, her frank,
ingenuous manner, her kindness of heart; and last of all, bending very
low, lest the vine leaves and the fair blossoms of the rose should
hear, he told her of his love; and Rose, the fairest flower of all
which bloomed around that bower, clasped her hand upon her heart, lest
he should see its wild throbbings, and, forcing back the tears which
moistened her long lashes, listened to the knell of all her hopes.
Henceforth her love for him must be an idle mockery, and the time
would come when to love him as she loved him then would be a sin--a
wrong to herself, a wrong to him, and a wrong to Maggie Miller.

"You are surely not asleep," he said at last, as she made him no
reply, and bending forward he saw the tear-drops resting on her cheek.
"Not asleep, but weeping!" he exclaimed. "What is it, darling? What
troubles you?" And lifting up her head, Rose Warner answered, "I was
thinking how this new love of yours would take you from me, and I
should be alone."

"No, not alone," he said, wiping her tears away. "Maggie and I have
arranged that matter. You are to live with us, and instead of losing
me you are to gain another--a sister, Rose. You have often wished you
had one, and you could surely find none worthier than Maggie Miller."

"Will she watch over you, Henry? Will she be to you what your wife
should be?" asked Rose; and Henry answered: "She is not at all like
you, my little sister. She relies implicitly upon my judgment; so you
see I shall need your blessed influence all the same, to make me what
your brother and Maggie's husband ought to be."

"Did she send me no message?" asked Rose; and taking out the tiny
note, Henry passed it to her, just as his aunt called to him from the
house, whither he went, leaving her alone.

There were blinding tears in Rose's eyes as she read the few lines,
and involuntarily she pressed her lips to the paper which she knew had
been touched by Maggie Miller's hands.

"My sister--sister Maggie," she repeated; and at the sound of that
name her fast-beating heart grew still, for they seemed very sweet to
her, those words "my sister," thrilling her with a new and strange
emotion, and awakening within her a germ of the deep, undying love she
was yet to feel for her who had traced those words and asked to be her
sister. "I will do right," she thought; "I will conquer this foolish
heart of mine, or break it in the struggle, and Henry Warner shall
never know how sorely it was wrung."

The resolution gave her strength, and, rising up, she too sought the
house, where, retiring to her room, she penned a hasty note to Maggie,
growing calmer with each word she wrote.

"I grant your request [she said] and take you for a sister well
beloved. I had a half-sister once, they say, but she died when a
little babe. I never looked upon her face, and connected with her
birth there was too much of sorrow and humiliation for me to think
much of her, save as of one who, under other circumstances, might have
been dear to me. And yet as I grow older I often find myself wishing
she had lived, for my father's blood was in her veins. But I do not
even know where her grave was made, for we only heard one winter
morning, years ago, that she was dead with the mother who bore her.
Forgive me, Maggie dear, for saying so much about that little child.
Thoughts of you, who are to be my sister, make me think of her, who,
had she lived, would have been a young lady now nearly your own age.
So in the place of her, whom, knowing, I would have loved, I adopt
you, sweet Maggie Miller, my sister and my friend. May Heaven's
choicest blessings rest on you forever, and no shadow come between you
and the one you have chosen for your husband! To my partial eyes he is
worthy of you, Maggie, royal in bearing and queenly in form though you
be, and that you may be happy with him will be the daily prayer of


The letter was finished, and Rose gave it to her brother, who, after
its perusal, kissed her, saying: "It is right, my darling. I will send
it to-morrow with mine; and now for a ride. I will see what a little
exercise can do for you. I do not like the color of your face."

But neither the fragrant summer air, nor yet the presence of Henry
Warner, who tarried several days, could rouse the drooping Rose; and
when at last she was left alone she sought her bed, where for many
weeks she hovered between life and death, while her brother and her
aunt hung over her pillow, and Maggie, from her woodland home, sent
many an anxious inquiry and message of love to the sick girl. In the
close atmosphere of his counting-room George Douglas too again battled
manfully with his olden love, listening each day to hear that she was
dead. But not thus early was Rose to die, and with the waning summer
days she came slowly back to life. More beautiful than ever, because
more ethereal and fair, she walked the earth like one who, having
struggled with a mighty sorrow, had won the victory at last; and Henry
Warner, when he looked on her sweet, placid face, and listened to her
voice as she made plans for the future, when Maggie would be his wife,
dreamed not of the grave hidden in the deep recesses of her heart,
where grew no flower of hope or semblance of earthly joy.

Thus little know mankind of each other!



On the Hillsdale hills the October sun was shining, and the forest
trees were donning their robes of scarlet and brown, when again the
old stone house presented an air of joyous expectancy. The large, dark
parlors were thrown open, the best chambers were aired, the bright,
autumnal flowers were gathered and in tastefully arranged bouquets
adorned the mantels, while Theo and Maggie, in their best attire,
flitted uneasily from room to room, running sometimes to the gate
to look down the grassy road which led from the highway, and again
mounting the tower stairs to obtain a more extended view.

In her pleasant apartment, where last we left her with a sprained
ankle, Mrs. Jeffrey, too, fidgeted about, half sympathizing with her
pupils in their happiness, and half regretting the cause of that
happiness, which was the expected arrival of George Douglas and Henry
Warner, who, true to their promise, were coming again to try for a
week the Hillsdale air, and retrieve their character as fast young
men. So, at least, they told Mrs. Jeffrey, who, mindful of her exploit
with the banner, and wishing to make some amends, met them alone on
the threshhold, Maggie having at the last moment run away, while Theo
sat in a state of dignified perturbation upon the sofa.

A few days prior to their arrival letters had been received from Madam
Conway saying she should probably, remain in England two or three
weeks longer, and thus the house was again clear to the young men,
who, forgetting to retrieve their characters, fairly outdid all they
had done before. The weather was remarkably clear and bracing, and the
greater part of each day was spent in the open air, either in fishing,
riding, or hunting; Maggie teaching Henry Warner how to ride and leap,
while he in turn taught her to shoot a bird upon the wing, until the
pupil was equal to her master. In these outdoor excursions George
Douglas and Theo did not always join, for he had something to say
which he would rather tell her in the silent parlor, and which, when
told, furnished food for many a quiet conversation; so Henry and
Maggie rode oftentimes alone; and old Hagar, when she saw them dashing
past her door, Maggie usually taking the lead, would shake her head
and mutter to herself: "'Twill never do--that match. He ought to hold
her back, instead of leading her on. I wish Madam Conway would, come
home and end it."

Mrs. Jeffrey wished so too, as night after night her slumbers were
disturbed by the sounds of merriment which came up to her from the
parlor below, where the young people were "enjoying themselves," as
Maggie said when reproved for the noisy revels. The day previous
to the one set for their departure chanced to be Henry Warner's
twenty-seventh birthday, and this Maggie resolved to honor with an
extra supper, which was served at an unusually late hour in the dining
room, the door of which opened out upon a closely latticed piazza.

"I wish we could think of something new to do," said Maggie, as she
presided at the table--"something real funny;" then, as her eyes fell
upon the dark piazza, where a single light was burning dimly, she
exclaimed: "Why can't we get up tableaux? There are heaps of the
queerest clothes in the big oaken chest in the garret. The servants
can be audience, and they need some recreation!"

The suggestion was at once approved, and in half an hour's time the
floor was strewn with garments of every conceivable fashion, from long
stockings and small clothes to scarlet cloaks and gored skirts, the
latter of which were immediately donned by Henry Warner, to the
infinite delight of the servants, who enjoyed seeing the grotesque
costumes, even if they did not exactly understand what the tableaux
were intended to represent. The banner, too, was brought out, and
after bearing a conspicuous part in the performance was placed at the
end of the dining room, where it would be the first thing visible to a
person opening the door opposite. At a late hour the servants retired,
and then George Douglas, who took kindly to the luscious old wine,
which Maggie again had brought from her grandmother's choicest store,
filled a goblet to the brim, and, pledging first the health of the
young girls, drank to "the old lady across the water" with whose goods
they were thus making free!

Henry Warner rarely tasted wine, for though miles away from Rose her
influence was around him--so, filling his glass with water, he too
drank to the wish that "the lady across the sea" would remain there
yet a while, or at all events not "stumble upon us to-night!"

"What if she should!" thought Maggie, glancing around at the different
articles scattered all over the floor, and laughing as she saw in
fancy her grandmother's look of dismay should she by any possible
chance obtain a view of the room, where perfect order and quiet had
been wont to reign.

But the good lady was undoubtedly taking her morning nap on the
shores of old England. There was no danger to be apprehended from her
unexpected arrival, they thought; and just as the clock struck one the
young men sought their rooms, greatly to the relief of Mrs. Jeffrey,
who, in her long night robe, with streaming candle in hand, had
more than a dozen times leaned over the banister, wondering if the
"carouse" would ever end.

It did end at last; and, tired and sleepy, Theo went directly to her
chamber, while Maggie stayed below, thinking to arrange matters a
little, for their guests were to leave on the first train, and she had
ordered an early breakfast. But it was a hopeless task, the putting
of that room to rights; and trusting much to the good-nature of the
housekeeper, she finally gave it up and went to bed, forgetting in her
drowsiness to fasten the outer door, or yet to extinguish the lamp
which burned upon the sideboard.



At the delightful country seat of Arthur Carrollton Madam Conway had
passed many pleasant days, and was fully intending to while away
several more, when an unexpected summons from his father made it
necessary for the young man to go immediately to London; and, as an
American steamer was about to leave the port of Liverpool, Madam
Conway determined to start for home at once. Accordingly, she wrote
for Anna Jeffrey, whom she had promised to take with her, to meet her
in Liverpool, and a few days previous to the arrival of George Douglas
and Henry Warner at Hillsdale, the two ladies embarked with an endless
variety of luggage, to say nothing of Miss Anna's guitar-case,
bird-cage, and favorite lap-dog "Lottie."

Once fairly on the sea, Madam Conway became exceedingly impatient and
disagreeable, complaining both of fare and speed, and at length came
on deck one morning with the firm belief that something dreadful had
happened to Maggie! She was dangerously sick, she knew, for never but
once before had she been visited with a like presentiment, and that
was just before her daughter died. Then it came to her just as this
had done, in her sleep, and very nervously the lady paced the vessel's
deck, counting the days as they passed, and almost weeping for joy
when told Boston was in sight. Immediately after landing she made
inquiries as to when the next train passing Hillsdale station would
leave the city, and though it was midnight she resolved at all hazards
to go on, for if Maggie were really ill there was no time to be lost!

Accordingly, when at four o'clock A.M. Maggie, who was partially
awake, heard in the distance the shrill scream of the engine, as the
night express thundered through the town, she little dreamed of the
boxes, bundles, trunks, and bags which lined the platform of Hillsdale
station, nor yet of the resolute woman in brown who persevered until a
rude one-horse wagon was found in which to transport herself and her
baggage to the old stone house. The driver of the vehicle, in which,
under ordinary circumstances, Madam Conway would have scorned to
ride, was a long, lean, half-witted fellow, utterly unfitted for his
business. Still, he managed quite well until they turned into the
grassy by-road, and Madam Conway saw through the darkness the light
which Maggie had inadvertently left within the dining room!

There was no longer a shadow of uncertainty. "Margaret was dead!"
and the lank Tim was ordered to drive faster, or the excited woman,
perched on one of her traveling-trunks, would be obliged to foot it! A
few vigorous strokes of the whip set the sorrel horse into a canter,
and as the night was dark, and the road wound round among the trees,
it is not at all surprising that Madam Conway, with her eye still on
the beacon light, found herself seated rather unceremoniously in the
midst of a brush heap, her goods and chattels rolling promiscuously
around her, while lying across a log, her right hand clutching at the
bird-cage, and her left grasping the shaggy hide of Lottie, who yelled
most furiously, was Anna Jeffrey, half blinded with mud, and bitterly
denouncing American drivers and Yankee roads! To gather themselves
together was not an easy matter, but the ten pieces were at last all
told, and then, holding up her skirts, bedraggled with dew, Madam
Conway resumed her seat in the wagon, which was this time driven in
safety to her door. Giving orders for her numerous boxes to be safely
bestowed, she hastened forward and soon stood upon the threshold.

"Great Heaven!" she exclaimed, starting backward so suddenly that she
trod upon the foot of Lottie, who again sent forth an outcry, which
Anna Jeffrey managed to choke down. "Is this bedlam, or what?" And
stepping out upon the piazza, she looked to see if the blundering
driver had made a mistake. But no; it was the same old gray stone
house she had left some months before; and again pressing boldly
forward, she took the lamp from the sideboard and commenced to
reconnoiter. "My mother's wedding dress, as I live! and her scarlet
broadcloth, too!" she cried, holding to view the garments which
Henry Warner had thrown upon the arm of the long settee. A turban or
cushion, which she recognized as belonging to her grandmother, next
caught her view, together with the smallclothes of her sire.

"The entire contents of the oaken chest," she continued, in a tone far
from calm and cool. "What can have happened! It's some of that crazy
Hagar's work, I know. I'll have her put in the--" But whatever the
evil was which threatened Hagar Warren it was not defined by words,
for at that moment the indignant lady caught sight of an empty bottle,
which she instantly recognized as having held her very oldest,
choicest wine. "The Lord help me!" she cried, "I've been robbed;" and
grasping the bottle by the neck, she leaned up against the banner
which she had not yet descried.

"In the name of wonder, what's this?" she almost screamed, as the full
blaze of the lamp fell upon the flag, revealing the truth at once, and
partially stopping her breath.

Robbery was nothing to insult; and, forgetting the wine, she gasped:
"'Stars and Stripes' in this house! In the house of my grandfather,
as loyal a subject as King George ever boasted! What can Margaret be
doing to suffer a thing like this?"

A few steps further on, and Margaret herself might have been seen
peering out into the darkened upper hall, and listening anxiously
to her grandmother's voice. The sound of the rattling old wagon had
aroused her, and, curious to know who was stirring at this early hour,
she had cautiously opened her window, which overlooked the piazza, and
to her great dismay had recognized her grandmother as she gave orders
concerning her baggage. Flying back to her room, she awoke her sister,
who, springing up in bed, whispered faintly: "Will she kill us dead,
Maggie? Will she kill us dead?"

"Pshaw! no," answered Maggie, her own courage rising with Theo's
fears. "She'll have to scold a spell, I suppose; but I can coax her, I

By this time the old lady was ascending the stairs, and closing the
door Maggie applied her eye to the keyhole, listening breathlessly for
what might follow. George Douglas and Henry Warner occupied separate
rooms, and their boots were now standing outside their doors, ready
for the chore boy, Jim, who thus earned a quarter every day. Stumbling
first upon the pair belonging to George Douglas, the lady took them
up, ejaculating: "Boots! boots! Yes, men's boots, as I'm a living
woman! The like was never seen by me before in this hall. Another
pair!" she continued, as her eye fell on those of Henry Warner.
"Another pair, and in the best chamber, too! What will come next?" And
setting down her light, she wiped the drops of perspiration from her
face, at the same time looking around in some alarm lest the owners of
said boots should come forth.

Just at that moment Mrs. Jeffrey appeared. Alarmed by the unusual
noise, and fancying the young gentlemen might be robbing the house as
a farewell performance, she had donned a calico wrapper, and tying a
black silk handkerchief over her cap, had taken her scissors, the only
weapon of defense she could find, and thus equipped for battle she had
sallied forth. She was prepared for burglars--nay, she would not
have been disappointed had she found the young men busily engaged in
removing the ponderous furniture from their rooms; but the sight of
Madam Conway, at that unseasonable hour, was wholly unexpected, and in
her fright she dropped the lamp which she had lighted in place of her
candle, and which was broken in fragments, deluging the carpet with
oil and eliciting a fresh groan from Madam Conway.

"Jeffrey, Jeffrey!" she gasped; "what have you done?"

"Great goodness!" ejaculated Mrs. Jeffrey, remembering her adventure
when once before she left her room in the night. "I certainly am the
most unfortunate of mortals. Catch me out of bed again, let what will
happen;" and turning, she was about to leave the hall, when Madam
Conway, anxious to know what had been done, called her back, saying
rather indignantly, "I'd like to know whose house I am in?"

"A body would suppose 'twas Miss Margaret's, the way she's conducted,"
answered Mrs. Jeffrey; and Madam Conway continued, pointing to the
boots: "Who have we here? These are not Margaret's, surely?"

"No, ma'am, they belong to the young men who have turned the house
topsy-turvy with their tableaux, their Revolution celebration, their
banner, and carousing generally," said Mrs. Jeffrey, rather pleased
than otherwise at being the first to tell the news.

"Young men!" repeated Madam Conway--"what young men? Where did they
come from, and why are they here?"

"They are Douglas and Warner," said Mrs. Jeffrey, "two as big
scapegraces as there are this side of Old Bailey--that's what they
are. They came from Worcester, and if I've any discernment they are
after your girls, and your girls are after them."

"After my girls! After Maggie! It can't be possible!" gasped Mrs.
Conway, thinking of Arthur Carrollton.

"It's the very truth, though," returned Mrs. Jeffrey. "Henry Warner,
who, in my opinion, is the worst of the two, got to chasing Margaret
in the woods, as long ago as last April. She jumped Gritty across the
gorge, and he, like a fool, jumped after, breaking his leg--"

"Pity it hadn't been his neck," interrupted Madam Conway; and Mrs.
Jeffrey continued: "Of course he was brought here, and Margaret took
care of him. After a while his comrade Douglas came out, and of all
the carousals you ever thought of, I reckon they had the worst. 'Twas
the Fourth of July, and if you'll believe it they made a banner, and
Maggie planted it herself on the housetop. They went off next morning;
but now they've come again, and last night the row beat all. I never
got a wink of sleep till after two o'clock."

Here, entirely out of breath, the old lady paused, and, going to her
room, brought out a basin of water and a towel, with which she tried
to wipe off the oil. But Madam Conway paid little heed to the spoiled
carpet, so engrossed was she with what she had heard.

"I am astonished at Margaret's want of discretion," said she, "and I
depended so much upon her, too."

"I always knew you were deceived by her," said Mrs. Jeffrey, still
bending over the oil; "but it wasn't for me to say so, for you are
blinded towards that girl. She's got some of the queerest notions, and
then she's so high-strung. She won't listen to reason. But I did my
country good service once. I went up in the dead of night to take down
the flag, and I don't regret it either, even if it did pitch me to the
bottom of the stairs, and sprained my ankle."

"Served you right," interposed Madam Conway, who, not at all pleased
at hearing Margaret thus censured, now turned the full force of her
wrath upon the poor little governess, blaming her for having suffered
such proceedings. "What did Margaret and Theo know, young things as
they were? and what was Mrs. Jeffrey there for if not to keep them
circumspect! But instead of doing this, she had undoubtedly encouraged
them in their folly, and then charged it upon Margaret."

It was in vain that the greatly distressed and astonished lady
protested her innocence, pleading her sleepless nights and lame ankle
as proofs of having done her duty; Madam Conway would not listen.
"Somebody was of course to blame," and as it is a long-established
rule that a part of every teacher's duty is to be responsible for the
faults of the pupils, so Madam Conway now continued to chide Mrs.
Jeffrey as the prime-mover of everything, until that lady, overwhelmed
with the sense of injustice done her, left the oil and retired to her
room, saying as she closed the door: "I was never so injured in all my
life--never. To think that after all my trouble she should charge it
to me! It will break my heart, I know. Where shall I go for comfort or

This last word was opportune and suggestive. If rest could not be
found in Baxter's "Saints' Rest," it was not by her to be found at
all; and, sitting down by the window in the gray dawn of the morning,
she strove to draw comfort from the words of the good divine; but in
vain. It had never failed her before; but never before had she been so
deeply injured; and, closing the volume at last, she paced the floor
in a very perturbed state of mind.

Meantime, Madam Conway had sought her granddaughter's chamber, where
Theo in her fright had taken refuge under the bed, while Maggie
feigned a deep, sound sleep. A few vigorous shakes, however, aroused
her, when, greatly to the amazement of her grandmother, she burst into
a merry laugh, and, winding her arms around the highly scandalized
lady's neck, said: "Forgive me, grandma, I've been awake ever since
you came home. I did not mean to leave the dining room in such
disorder, but I was so tired, and we had such fun! Hear me out," she
continued, laying her hand over the mouth of her grandmother, who
attempted to speak; "Mrs. Jeffrey told you how Mr. Warner broke his
leg, and was brought here. He is a real nice young man, and so is Mr.
Douglas, who came out to see him. They are partners in the firm of
Douglas & Co., Worcester."

"Henry Warner is nothing but the Co., though; Mr. Douglas owns the
store, and is worth two hundred thousand dollars!" cried a smothered
voice under the bed; and Theo emerged into view, with a feather or
two ornamenting her hair, and herself looking a little uneasy and

The two hundred thousand dollars produced a magical effect upon the
old lady, exonerating George Douglas at once from all blame. But
towards Henry Warner she was not thus lenient; for, coward-like, Theo
charged him with having suggested everything, even to the cutting up
of the ancestral red coat for Freedom's banner!

"What!" fairly screamed Madam Conway, who in her hasty glance at the
flag had not observed the material; "not taken my grandfather's coat
for a banner!"

"Yes, he did," said Theo, "and Maggie cut up your blue satin bodice
for stars, and took one of your fine linen sheets for the foundation."

"The wretch!" exclaimed Madam Conway, stamping her foot in her wrath,
and thinking only of Henry Warner; "I'll turn him from my door
instantly. My blue satin bodice, indeed!"

"'Twas I, grandma--'twas I," interrupted Maggie, looking reproachfully
at Theo. "'Twas I who cut up the bodice. I who brought down the
scarlet coat."

"And I didn't do a thing but look on," said Theo. "I knew you'd be
angry, and I tried to make Maggie behave, but she wouldn't."

"I don't know as it is anything to you what Maggie does, and I think
it would look quite as well in you to take part of the blame yourself,
instead of putting it all upon your sister," was Madam Conway's reply;
and, feeling almost as deeply injured as Mrs. Jeffrey herself, Theo
began to cry, while Maggie, with a few masterly strokes, succeeded
in so far appeasing the anger of her grandmother that the good lady
consented for the young gentlemen to stay to breakfast, saying,
though, that "they should decamp immediately after, and never darken
her doors again."

"But Mr. Douglas is rich," sobbed Theo from behind her pocket
handkerchief--"immensely rich, and of a very aristocratic family, I'm
sure, else where did he get his money?"

This remark was timely, and when fifteen minutes later Madam Conway
was presented to the gentlemen in the hall her manner was far more
gracious towards George Douglas than it was towards Henry Warner, to
whom she merely nodded, deigning no answer whatever to his polite
apology for having made himself so much at home in her house. The
expression of his mouth was as usual against him, and, fancying he
intended adding insult to injury by laughing in her face, she coolly
turned her back upon him ere he had finished speaking, and walked
downstairs, leaving him to wind up his speech with "an old

By this time both the sun and the servants had arisen, the former
shining into the disorderly dining room, and disclosing to the latter
the weary, jaded Anna, who, while Madam Conway was exploring the
house, had thrown herself upon the lounge and had fallen asleep.

"Who is she, and where did she come from?" was anxiously inquired,
and they were about going in quest of Margaret when their mistress
appeared suddenly in their midst, and their noisy demonstrations of
joyful surprise awoke the sleeping girl, who, rubbing her red eyelids,
asked for her aunt, and why she did not come to meet her.

"She has been a little excited, and forgot you, perhaps," answered
Madam Conway, at the same time bidding one of the servants to show the
young lady to Mrs. Jeffrey's room.

The good lady had recovered her composure somewhat, and was just
wondering why her niece had not come with Madam Conway, as had
been arranged, when Anna appeared, and in her delight at once more
beholding a child of her only sister, and her husband's brother, she
forgot in a measure how injured she had felt. Ere long the breakfast
bell rang; but Anna declared herself too weary to go down, and as Mrs.
Jeffrey felt that she could not yet meet Madam Conway face to face,
they both remained in their room, Anna again falling away to sleep,
while her aunt, grown more calm, sought, and this time found, comfort
in her favorite volume. Very cool, indeed, was that breakfast,
partaken in almost unbroken silence below. The toast was cold, the
steak was cold, the coffee was cold, and frosty as an icicle was the
lady who sat where the merry Maggie had heretofore presided. Scarcely
a word was spoken by anyone; but in the laughing eyes of Maggie there
was a world of fun, to which the mischievous mouth of Henry Warner
responded by a curl exceedingly annoying to his stately hostess, who,
in passing him his coffee, turned her head in another direction lest
she should be too civil!

Breakfast being over, George Douglas, who began to understand Madam
Conway tolerably well, asked of her a private interview, which was
granted, when he conciliated her first by apologizing for anything
ungentlemanly he might have done in her house, and startled her next
by asking for Theo as his wife.

"You can," said he, "easily ascertain my character and standing in
Worcester, where for the last ten years I have been known first as
clerk, then as junior partner, and finally as proprietor of the large
establishment which I now conduct."

Madam Conway was at first too astonished to speak. Had it been Maggie
for whom he asked, the matter would have been decided at once,
for Maggie was her pet, her pride, the intended bride of Arthur
Carrollton; but Theo was a different creature altogether, and
though the Conway blood flowing in her veins entitled her to much
consideration, she was neither showy nor brilliant, and if she could
marry two hundred thousand dollars, even though it were American coin,
she would perhaps be doing quite as well as could be expected. So
Madam Conway replied at last that she would consider the matter,
and if she found that Theo's feelings were fully enlisted she would
perhaps return a favorable answer. "I know the firm of Douglas & Co.
by reputation," said she, "and I know it to be a wealthy firm; but
with me family is quite as important as money."

"My family, madam, are certainly respectable," interrupted George
Douglas, a deep flush overspreading his face.

He was indignant at her presuming to question his respectability,
Madam Conway thought, and so she hastened to appease him by saying:
"Certainly, I have no doubt of it. There are marks by which I can
always tell."

George Douglas bowed low to the far-seeing lady, while a train of
thought, not altogether complimentary to her discernment in this case,
passed through his mind.

Not thus lenient would Madam Conway have been towards Henry Warner had
he presumed to ask her that morning for Maggie, but he knew better
than to broach the subject then. He would write her, he said,
immediately after his return to Worcester, and in the meantime Maggie,
if she saw proper, was to prepare her grandmother for it by herself
announcing the engagement. This, and much more, he said to Maggie as
they sat together in the library, so much absorbed in each other as
not to observe the approach of Madam Conway, who entered the door just
in time to see Henry Warner with his arm around Maggie's waist. She
was a woman of bitter prejudices, and had conceived a violent dislike
for Henry, not only on account of the "Stars and Stripes," but because
she read to a certain extent the true state of affairs. Her suspicions
were now confirmed, and rapidly crossing the floor she confronted him,
saying, "Let my granddaughter alone, young man, both now and forever."

Something of Hagar's fiery spirit flashed from Maggie's dark eyes, but
forcing down her anger she answered half earnestly, half playfully, "I
am nearly old enough, grandma, to decide that matter for myself."

A fierce expression of scorn passed over Madam Conway's face, and
harsh words might have ensued had not the carriage at that moment been
announced. Wringing Maggie's hand, Henry arose and left the room,
followed by the indignant lady, who would willingly have suffered him
to walk; but thinking two hundred thousand dollars quite too much
money to go on foot, she had ordered her carriage, and both the senior
and junior partner of Douglas & Co. Were ere long riding a second time
away from the old house by the mill.



"Grandma wishes to see you, Maggie, in her room," said Theo to her
sister one morning, three days after the departure of their guests.

"Wishes to see me! For what?" asked Maggie; and Theo answered, "I
don't know, unless it is to talk with you about Arthur Carrollton."

"Arthur Carrollton!" repeated Maggie. "Much good it will do her to
talk to me of him. I hate the very sound of his name;" and, rising,
she walked slowly to her grandmother's room, where in her stiff brown
satin dress, her golden spectacles planted firmly upon her nose, and
the Valenciennes border of her cap shading but not concealing the
determined look on her face, Madam Conway sat erect in her high-backed
chair, with an open letter upon her lap.

It was from Henry. Maggie knew his handwriting in a moment, and there
was another too for her; but she was too proud to ask for it, and,
seating herself by the window, she waited for her grandmother to break
the silence, which she did ere long as follows:

"I have just received a letter from that Warner, asking me to sanction
an engagement which he says exists between himself and you. Is it
true? Are you engaged to him?"

"I am," answered Maggie, playing nervously with the tassel of her
wrapper, and wondering why Henry had written so soon, before she had
prepared the way by a little judicious coaxing.

"Well, then," continued Madam Conway, "the sooner it is broken the
better. I am astonished that you should stoop to such an act, and I
hope you are not in earnest."

"But I am," answered Maggie; and in the same cold, decided manner her
grandmother continued: "Then nothing remains for me but to forbid your
having any communication whatever with one whose conduct in my house
has been so unpardonably rude and vulgar. You will never marry him,
Margaret, never! Nay, I would sooner see you dead than the wife of
that low, mean, impertinent fellow!"

In the large dark eyes there was a gleam decidedly "Hagarish" as
Maggie arose, and, standing before her grandmother, made answer: "You
must not, in my presence, speak thus of Henry Warner. He is neither
low, mean, vulgar, nor impertinent. You are prejudiced against him
because you think him comparatively poor, and because he has dared
to look at me, who have yet to understand why the fact of my being a
Conway makes me any better. I have promised to be Henry Warner's wife,
and Margaret Miller never yet has broken her word."

"But in this instance you will," said Madam Conway, now thoroughly
aroused. "I will never suffer it; and to prove I am in earnest I will
here, before your face, burn the letter he has presumed to send you;
and this I will do to any others which may come to you from him."

Maggie offered no remonstrance; but the fire of a volcano burned
within, as she watched the letter blackening upon the coals; and when
next her eyes met those of her grandmother there was in them a fierce,
determined look which prompted that lady at once to change her tactics
and try the power of persuasion rather than of force. Feigning a
smile, she said: "What ails you, child? You look to me like Hagar. It
was wrong in me, perhaps, to burn your letter, and had I reflected a
moment I might not have done it; but I cannot suffer you to receive
any more. I have other prospects in view for you, and have only waited
a favorable opportunity to tell you what they are. Sit down by me,
Margaret, while I talk with you on the subject."

The burning of her letter had affected Margaret strangely, and with a
benumbed feeling at her heart she sat down without a word and listened
patiently to praises long and praises loud of Arthur Carrollton, who
was described as being every way desirable, both as a friend and a
husband. "His father, the elder Mr. Carrollton, was an intimate friend
of my husband," said Madam Conway, "and wishes our families to be more
closely united, by a marriage between you and his son Arthur, who is
rather fastidious in his taste, and though twenty-eight years old has
never yet seen a face which suited him. But he is pleased with you,
Maggie. He liked your picture, imperfect as it is, and he liked the
tone of your letters, which I read to him. They were so original,
he said, so much like what he fancied you to be. He has a splendid
country seat, and more than one nobleman's daughter would gladly share
it with him; but I think he fancies you. He has a large estate near
Montreal, and some difficulty connected with it will ere long bring
him to America. Of course he will visit here, and with a little tact
on your part you can, I'm sure, secure one of the best matches in
England. He is fine-looking, too. I have his daguerreotype;" and
opening her workbox she drew it forth and held it before Maggie, who
resolutely shut her eyes lest she should see the face of one she was
so determined to dislike.

"What do you think of him?" asked Madam Conway as her arm began to
ache, and Maggie had not yet spoken.

"I haven't looked at him," answered Maggie; "I hate him, and if he
comes here after me I'll tell him so, too. I hate him because he is
an Englishman. I hate him because he is aristocratic. I hate him for
everything, and before I marry him I'll run away!"

Here, wholly overcome, Maggie burst into tears, and precipitately left
the room. An hour later, and Hagar, sitting by her fire, which the
coolness of the day rendered necessary, was startled by the abrupt
entrance of Maggie, who, throwing herself upon the floor, and burying
her face in the old woman's lap, sobbed bitterly.

"What is it, child? What is it, darling?" asked Hagar; and in a
few words Maggie explained the whole. "I am persecuted, dreadfully
persecuted! Nobody before ever had so much trouble as I. Grandma
has burned a letter from Henry Warner, and would not give it to me.
Grandma said, too, I should never marry him, should never write to
him, nor see anything he might send to me. Oh, Hagar, Hagar, isn't
it cruel?" and the eyes, whose wrathful, defiant expression was now
quenched in tears, looked up in Hagar's face for sympathy.

The right chord was touched, and much as Hagar might have disliked
Henry Warner she was his fast friend now. Her mistress' opposition and
Maggie's tears had wrought a change, and henceforth all her energies
should be given to the advancement of the young couple's cause.

"I can manage it," she said, smoothing the long silken tresses which
lay in disorder upon her lap. "Richland post office is only four miles
from here; I can walk double that distance easy. Your grandmother
never thinks of going there, neither am I known to anyone in that
neighborhood. Write your letter to Henry Warner, and before the sun
goes down it shall be safe in the letter-box. He can write to the
same place, but he had better direct to me, as your name might excite

This plan seemed perfectly feasible; but it struck Maggie
unpleasantly. She had never attempted to deceive in her life, and she
shrunk from the first deception. She would rather, she said, try again
to win her grandmother's consent. But this she found impossible; Madam
Conway was determined, and would not listen.

"It grieves me sorely," she said, "thus to cross my favorite child,
whom I love better than my life; but it is for her good, and must be

So she wrote a cold and rather insulting letter to Henry Warner,
bidding him, as she had done before, "let her granddaughter alone,"
and saying it was useless for him to attempt anything secret, for
Maggie would be closely watched, the moment there were indications of
a clandestine correspondence.

This letter, which was read to Margaret, destroyed all hope, and
still she wavered, uncertain whether it would be right to deceive her
grandmother. But while she was yet undecided, Hagar's fingers, of late
unused to the pen, traced a few lines to Henry Warner, who, acting at
once upon her suggestion, wrote to Margaret a letter which he directed
to "Hagar Warren, Richland."

In it he urged so many reasons why Maggie should avail herself of this
opportunity for communicating with him that she yielded at last, and
regularly each week old Hagar toiled through sunshine and through
storm to the Richland post office, feeling amply repaid for her
trouble when she saw the bright expectant face which almost always
greeted her return. Occasionally, by way of lulling the suspicions of
Madam Conway, Henry would direct a letter to Hillsdale, knowing full
well it would never meet the eyes of Margaret, over whom, for the time
being, a spy had been set, in the person of Anna Jeffrey.

This young lady, though but little connected with our story, may
perhaps deserve a brief notice. Older than either Theo or Margaret,
she was neither remarkable for beauty nor talent. Dark-haired,
dark-eyed, dark-browed, and, as the servants said, "dark in her
disposition," she was naturally envious of those whose rank in life
entitled them to more attention than she was herself accustomed to
receive. For this reason Maggie Miller had from the first been to her
an object of dislike, and she was well pleased when Madam Conway,
enjoining the strictest secrecy, appointed her to watch that young
lady, and see that no letter was ever carried by her to the post
office which Madam Conway had not first examined. In the snaky eyes
there was a look of exultation as Anna Jeffrey promised to be faithful
to her trust, and for a time she became literally Maggie Miller's
shadow, following her here, following her there, and following her
everywhere, until Maggie complained so bitterly of the annoyance that
Madam Conway at last, feeling tolerably sure that no counterplot was
intended, revoked her orders, and bade Anna Jeffrey leave Margaret
free to do as she pleased.

Thus relieved from espionage, Maggie became a little more like
herself, though a sense of the injustice done her by her grandmother,
together with the deception she knew she was practicing, wore upon
her; and the servants at their work listened in vain for the merry
laugh they had loved so well to hear. In the present state of
Margaret's feelings Madam Conway deemed it prudent to say nothing of
Arthur Carrollton, whose name was never mentioned save by Theo and
Anna, the latter of whom had seen him in England, and was never so
well pleased as when talking of his fine country seat, his splendid
park, his handsome horses, and last, though not least, of himself. "He
is," she said, "without exception, the most elegant and aristocratic
young man I have ever seen;" and then for more than an hour she would
entertain Theo with a repetition of the many agreeable things he had
said to her during the one day she had spent at his house while Madam
Conway was visiting there.

In perfect indifference, Maggie, who was frequently present, would
listen to these stories, sometimes listlessly turning the leaves of a
book, and again smiling scornfully as she thought how impossible it
was that the fastidious Arthur Carrolton should have been at all
pleased with a girl like Anna Jeffrey; and positive as Maggie was that
she hated him, she insensibly began to feel a very slight degree of
interest in him; at least, she would like to know how he looked; and
one day when her grandmother and Theo were riding she stole cautiously
to the box where she knew his picture lay, and, taking it out, looked
to see if he were so very fine-looking.

Yes, he was,--Maggie acknowledged that; and, sure that she hated
him terribly, she lingered long over that picture, admiring the
classically shaped head, the finely cut mouth, and more than all the
large dark eyes which seemed so full of goodness and truth. "Pshaw!"
she exclaimed at last, restoring the picture to its place; "if Henry
were only a little taller, and had as handsome eyes, he'd be a great
deal better-looking. Anyway, I like him, and I hate Arthur Carrollton,
who I know is domineering, and would try to make me mind. He has asked
for my daguerreotype, grandma says--one which looks as I do now. I'll
send it too," and she burst into a loud laugh at the novel idea which
had crossed her mind.

That day when Madam Conway returned from her ride she was surprised at
Maggie's proposing that Theo and herself should have their likenesses
taken for Arthur Carrollton.

"If he wants my picture," said she, "I am willing he shall have it. It
is all he'll ever get."

Delighted at this unexpected concession, Madam Conway gave her
consent, and the next afternoon found Theo and Maggie at the
daguerrean gallery in Hillsdale, where the latter astonished both her
sister and the artist by declaring her intention of not only sitting
with her bonnet and shawl on; but also of turning her back to the
instrument! It was in vain that Theo remonstrated! "That position or
none," she said; and the picture was accordingly taken, presenting
a very correct likeness, when finished, of a bonnet, a veil, and a
shawl, beneath which Maggie Miller was supposed to be.

Strange as it may seem, this freak struck Madam Conway favorably.
Arthur Carrollton knew that Maggie was unlike any other person, and
the joke, she thought, would increase, rather than diminish, the
interest he already felt in her. So she made no objection, and in a
few days it was on its way to England, together with a lock of Hagar's
snow-white hair, which Maggie had coaxed from the old lady, and,
unknown to her grandmother, placed in the casing at the last moment.

Several weeks passed away, and then there came an answer--a letter so
full of wit and humor that Maggie confessed to herself that he must
be very clever to write so many shrewd things and to be withal so
perfectly refined. Accompanying the package was a small rosewood box,
containing a most exquisite little pin made of Hagar's frosty hair,
and richly ornamented with gold. Not a word was written concerning
it, and as Maggie kept her own counsel, both Theo and her grandmother
marveled greatly, admiring its beauty and wondering for whom it was

"For me, of course," said Madam Conway. "The hair is Lady
Carrollton's, Arthur's grandmother. I know it by its soft, silky look.
She has sent it as a token of respect, for she was always fond of me;"
and going to the glass she very complacently ornamented her Honiton
collar with Hagar's hair, while Maggie, bursting with fun, beat a
hasty retreat from the room, lest she should betray herself.

Thus the winter passed away, and early in the spring George Douglas,
to whom Madam Conway had long ago sent a favorable answer, came to
visit his betrothed, bringing to Maggie a note from Rose, who had once
or twice sent messages in Henry's letters. She was in Worcester now,
and her health was very delicate. "Sometimes," she wrote, "I fear
I shall never see you, Maggie Miller--shall never look into your
beautiful face, or listen to your voice; but whether in heaven or on
earth I am first to meet with you, my heart claims you as a sister,
the one whom of all the sisters in the world I would rather call my

"Darling Rose!" murmured Maggie, pressing the delicately traced lines
to her lips, "how near she seems to me! nearer almost than Theo;" and
then involuntarily her thoughts went backward to the night when Henry
Warner first told her of his love, and when in her dreams there had
been a strange blending together of herself, of Rose, and the little
grave beneath the pine!

But not yet was that veil of mystery to be lifted. Hagar's secret must
be kept a little longer; and, unsuspicious of the truth, Maggie Miller
must dream on of sweet Rose Warner, whom she hopes one day to call her

There was also a message from Henry, and this George Douglas delivered
in secret, for he did not care to displease his grandmother-elect, who
viewing him through a golden setting, thought he was not to be equaled
by anyone in America. "So gentlemanly," she said, "and so modest too,"
basing her last conclusion upon his evident unwillingness to say
very much of himself or his family. Concerning the latter she had
questioned him in vain, eliciting nothing save the fact that they
lived in the country several miles from Worcester, and that his father
always stayed at home, and consequently his mother went but little
into society.

"Despises the vulgar herd, I dare say," thought Madam Conway,
contemplating the pleasure she should undoubtedly derive from an
acquaintance with Mrs. Douglas, senior!

"There was a sister, too," he said, and at this announcement Theo
opened wide her blue eyes, asking her name, and why he had never
mentioned her before.

"I call her Jenny," said he, coloring slightly, and adding playfully,
as he caressed Theo's smooth, round cheek, "Wives do not usually like
their husbands' sisters."

"But I shall like her, I know," said Theo. "She has a beautiful name,
Jenny Douglas--much prettier than Rose Warner, about whom Maggie talks
to me so much."

A gathering frown on her grandmother's face warned Theo that she had
touched upon a forbidden subject, and as Mr. Douglas manifested no
desire to continue the conversation it ceased for a time, Theo wishing
she could see Jenny Douglas, and George wondering what she would say
when she did see her!

For a few days longer he lingered, and ere his return it was arranged
that early in July Theo should be his bride. On the morning of his
departure, as he stood upon the steps alone with Madam Conway, she
said, "I think I can rely upon you, Mr. Douglas, not to carry either
letter, note, or message from Maggie to that young Warner. I've
forbidden him in my house, and I mean what I say."

"I assure you, madam, she has not asked me to carry either,"
answered George; who, though he knew perfectly well of the secret
correspondence, had kept it to himself. "You mistake Mr. Warner, I
think," he continued, after a moment. "I have known him long, and
esteem him highly."

"Tastes differ," returned Madam Conway coldly. "No man of good
breeding would presume to cut up my grandfather's coat or drink up my
best wine."

"He intended no disrespect, I'm sure," answered George. "He only
wanted a little fun with the 'Stars and Stripes.'"

"It was fun for which he will pay most dearly, though," answered Madam
Conway, as she bade Mr. Douglas good-by; then, walking back to the
parlor, she continued speaking to herself: "'Stars and Stripes'!
I'll teach him to cut up my blue bodice for fun. I wouldn't give him
Margaret if his life depended upon it;" and sitting down she wrote to
Arthur Carrollton, asking if he really intended visiting America, and



During the remainder of the spring matters at the old stone house
proceeded about as usual, Maggie writing regularly to Henry, who as
regularly answered, while old Hagar managed it so adroitly that no one
suspected the secret correspondence, and Madam Conway began to hope
her granddaughter had forgotten the foolish fancy. Arthur Carrollton
had replied that his visit to America, though sure to take place, was
postponed indefinitely, and so the good lady had nothing in particular
with which to busy herself, save the preparations for Theo's wedding,
which was to take place near the first of July.

Though setting a high value upon money, Madam Conway was not
penurious, and the bridal trousseau far exceeded anything which Theo
had expected. As the young couple were not to keep house for a time, a
most elegant suite of rooms had been selected in a fashionable hotel;
and determining that Theo should not, in point of dress, be rivaled by
any of her fellow-boarders, Madam Conway spared neither time nor
money in making the outfit perfect. So for weeks the old stone house
presented a scene of great confusion. Chairs, tables, lounges,
and piano were piled with finery, on which Anna Jeffrey worked
industriously, assisted sometimes by her aunt, whom Madam Conway
pronounced altogether too superannuated for a governess, and who,
though really an excellent scholar, was herself far better pleased
with muslin robes and satin bows than with French idioms and Latin
verbs. Perfectly delighted, Maggie joined in the general excitement,
wondering occasionally when and where her own bridal would be. Once
she ventured to ask if Henry Warner and his sister might be invited to
Theo's wedding; but Madam Conway answered so decidedly in the negative
that she gave it up, consoling herself with thinking that she would
some time visit her sister, and see Henry in spite of her grandmother.

The marriage was very quiet, for Madam Conway had no acquaintance, and
the family alone witnessed the ceremony. At first Madam Conway had
hoped that Mr. and Mrs. Douglas, senior, together with their daughter
Jenny, would be present, and she had accordingly requested George to
invite them, feeling greatly disappointed when she learned that they
could not come.

"I wanted so much to see them," she said to Maggie, "and know whether
they are worthy to be related to the Conways--but of course they are,
as much so as any American family. George has every appearance of
refinement and high-breeding."

"But his family, for all that, may be as ignorant as Farmer
Canfield's," answered Maggie; to which her grandmother replied: "You
needn't tell me that, for I'm not to be deceived in such matters. I
can tell at a glance if a person is low-born, no matter what their
education or advantages may have been. Who's that?" she added quickly,
and turning round she saw old Hagar, her eyes lighted up and her lips
moving with incoherent sounds.

Hagar had come up to the wedding, and had reached the door of Madam
Conway's room just in time to hear the last remark, which roused her
at once.

"Why don't she discover my secret, then," she muttered, "if she has so
much discernment? Why don't she see the Hagar blood in her? for it's
there, plain as day;" and she glanced proudly at Maggie, who, in her
simple robe of white, was far more beautiful than the bride.

And still Theo, in her handsome traveling dress, was very fair to look
upon, and George Douglas felt proud that she was his, resolving, as he
kissed away the tears she shed at parting, that the vow he had just
made should never be broken. A few weeks of pleasant travel westward,
and then the newly wedded pair came back to what, for a time, was to
be their home.

George Douglas was highly respected in Worcester, both as a man of
honor and a man of wealth; consequently, every possible attention was
paid to Theo, who was petted and admired, until she began to wonder
why neither Maggie nor yet her all-discerning grandmother had
discovered how charming and faultless she was!

Among George's acquaintance was a Mrs. Morton, a dashing, fashionable
woman, who determined to honor the bride with a party, to which all
the elite of Worcester were invited, together with many Bostonians.
Madam Conway and Maggie were of course upon the list; and, as timely
notice was given them by Theo, Madam Conway went twice to Springfield
in quest of a suitable dress for Maggie. She wanted something
becoming, she said; and a delicate rose-colored satin, with a handsome
overskirt of lace, was at last decided upon.

"She must have some pearls for her hair," thought Madam Conway; and
when next Maggie, who, girl-like, tried the effect of her first party
dress at least a dozen times, stood before the glass to see if it were
exactly the right length, she was presented with the pearls, which
Anna Jeffrey, with a feeling of envy at her heart, arranged in the
shining braids of her hair.

"Oh, isn't it perfectly splendid!" cried Maggie, herself half inclined
to compliment the beautiful image reflected in the mirror.

"You ought to see Arthur Carrollton's sister when she is dressed, if
you think you look handsome," answered Anna, adding that diamonds were
much more fashionable than pearls.

"You have attended a great many parties and seen a great deal of
fashion, so I dare say you are right," Maggie answered ironically; and
then, as through the open window she saw Hagar approaching, she ran
out upon the _piazza_, to see what the old woman would say.

Hagar had never seen her thus before, and now, throwing up her hands
in astonishment, she involuntarily dropped upon her knees, and,
while the tears rained over her timeworn face, whispered, "Hester's
child--my granddaughter--Heaven be praised!"

"Do I look pretty?" Margaret asked; and Hagar answered: "More
beautiful than anyone I ever saw. I wish your mother could see you

Involuntarily Maggie glanced at the tall marble gleaming through
the distant trees, while Hagar's thoughts were down in that other
grave--the grave beneath the pine. The next day was the party, and
at an early hour Madam Conway was ready. Her rich purple satin and
Valenciennes laces, with which she hoped to impress Mrs. Douglas,
senior, were carefully packed up, together with Maggie's dress; and
then, shawled and bonneted, she waited impatiently for her carriage,
which she preferred to the cars. It came at last, but in place of
John, the usual coachman, Mike, a rather wild youth of twenty, was
mounted upon the box. His father, he said, had been taken suddenly
ill, and had deputized him to drive.

For a time Madam Conway hesitated, for she knew Mike's one great
failing, and she hardly dared risk herself with him, lest she should
find a seat less desirable even than the memorable brush-heap. But
Mike protested loudly to having joined the "Sons of Temperance" only
the night before, and as in his new suit of blue, with shining brass
buttons, he presented a more stylish appearance than his father, his
mistress finally decided to try him, threatening all manner of evil if
in any way he broke his pledge, either to herself or the "Sons," the
latter of whom had probably never heard of him. He was perfectly
sober now, and drove them safely to Worcester, where they soon found
themselves in Theo's handsome rooms. Her wrappings removed and herself
snugly ensconced in a velvet-cushioned chair, Madam Conway asked the
young bride how long before Mrs. Douglas, senior, would probably

A slight shadow, which no one observed, passed over Theo's face as she
answered, "George's father seldom goes into society, and consequently
his mother will not come."

"Oh, I am so sorry!" replied Madam Conway, thinking of the purple
satin, and continuing, "Nor the young lady, either?"

"None of them," answered Theo, adding hastily, as if to change the
conversation, "Isn't my piano perfectly elegant?" and she ran her
fingers over an exquisitely carved instrument, which had inscribed
upon it simply "Theo"; and then, as young brides sometimes will,
she expatiated upon the kindness and generosity of George, showing,
withal, that her love for her husband was founded upon something far
more substantial than family or wealth.

Her own happiness, it would seem, had rendered her less selfish and
more thoughtful for others; for once that afternoon, on returning to
her room after a brief absence, she whispered to Maggie that "someone
in the parlor below wished to see her."

Then seating herself at her grandmother's feet, she entertained her so
well with a description of her travels that the good lady failed to
observe the absence of Maggie, who, face to face with Henry Warner,
was making amends for their long separation. Much they talked of the
past, and then Henry spoke of the future; but of this Maggie was less
hopeful. Her grandmother would never consent to their marriage, she
knew--the "Stars and Stripes" had decided that matter, even though
there were no Arthur Carrollton across the sea, and Maggie sighed
despondingly as she thought of the long years of single-blessedness in
store for her.

"There is but one alternative left, then," said Henry. "If your
grandmother refuses her consent altogether, I must take you without
her consent."

"I shan't run away," said Maggie; "I shall live an old maid, and you
must live an old bachelor, until grandma--"

She did not have time to finish the sentence ere Henry commenced
unfolding the following plan:

"It is necessary," he said, "for either myself or Mr. Douglas to go
to Cuba; and as Rose's health makes a change of climate advisable for
her, George has proposed to me to go and take my sister there for the
winter. And, Maggie," he continued, "will you go, too? We are to sail
the middle of October, stopping for a few weeks in Florida, until the
unhealthy season in Havana is passed. I will see your grandmother
to-morrow morning--will once more honorably ask her for your hand, and
if she still refuses, as you think she will, it cannot surely be wrong
in you to consult your own happiness instead of her prejudices. I will
meet you at old Hagar's cabin at the time appointed. Rose and my aunt,
who is to accompany her, will be in New York, whither we will go
immediately. A few moments more and you will be my wife, and beyond
the control of your grandmother. Do you approve my plan, Maggie,
darling? Will you go?"

Maggie could not answer him then, for an elopement was something
from which she instinctively shrunk, and with a faint hope that her
grandmother might consent she went back to her sister's room, where
she had not yet been missed. Very rapidly the remainder of the
afternoon passed away, and at an early hour, wishing to know "exactly
how she was going to look," Maggie commenced her toilet. Theo, too,
desirous of displaying her white satin as long as possible, began to
dress; while Madam Conway, in no haste to don her purple satin, which
was uncomfortably tight, amused herself by watching the passers-by,
nodding at intervals, in her chair.

While thus occupied, a perfumed note was brought to her, the contents
of which elicited from her an exclamation of surprise.

"Can it be possible!" she said; and thrusting the note into her pocket
she hastily left the room.

She was gone a long, long time; and when at last she returned, she was
evidently much excited, paying no attention whatever to Theo, who, in
her bridal robes, looked charming, but minutely inspecting Maggie, to
see if in her adornings there was aught out of its place. Her dress
was faultless, and she looked so radiantly beautiful, as she stood
before her grandmother, that the old lady kissed her fondly,
whispering, as she did so, "You are indeed beautiful!" It was a long
time ere Madam Conway commenced her own toilet, and then she proceeded
so slowly that George Douglas became impatient, and she finally
suggested that he and Theo should go without her, sending the carriage
back for herself and Maggie. To this proposition he at last yielded;
and when they were left alone Madam Conway greatly accelerated her
movements, dressing herself in a few moments, and then, much to
Maggie's surprise, going below without a word of explanation. A few
moments only elapsed ere a servant was sent to Maggie, saying that her
presence was desired at No. 40, a small private parlor adjoining the
public drawing rooms.

"What can it mean? Is it possible that Henry is there?" Maggie asked
herself, as with a beating heart she descended the stairs.

A moment more, and Maggie stood on the threshhold of No. 40. Seated
upon the sofa was Madam Conway, her purple satin seeming to have
taken a wide sweep, and her face betokening the immense degree of
satisfaction she felt in being there with the stylish, elegant-looking
stranger who stood at her side, with his deep, expressive eyes fixed
upon the door expectantly. Maggie knew him in a moment--knew it was
Arthur Carrollton; and, turning pale, she started backward, while he
advanced forward, and, offering her his hand, looked down upon her
with a winning smile, saying, as he did so: "Excuse my familiarity.
You are Maggie Miller, I am sure."

For an instant Maggie could not reply, but soon becoming composed
she received the stranger gracefully, and then taking the chair he
politely brought her she listened while her grandmother told that
he had arrived at Montreal two weeks before; that he had reached
Hillsdale that morning, an hour or two after their departure, and,
learning their destination, had followed them in the cars; that she
had taken the liberty of informing Mrs. Morton of his arrival, and
that lady had of course extended to him an invitation to be present at
her party.

"Which invitation I accept, provided Miss Maggie allows me to be her
escort," said the young man, and again his large black eyes rested
admiringly upon her.

Maggie had anticipated a long, quiet talk with Henry Warner, and,
wishing the Englishman anywhere but there, she answered coldly, "I
cannot well decline your escort, Mr. Carrollton, so of course I accept

Madam Conway bit her lip, but Mr. Carrollton, who was prepared for
anything from Maggie Miller, was not in the least displeased, and,
consulting his diamond-set watch, which pointed to nearly ten, he
asked if it were not time to go.

"Certainly," said Madam Conway. "You remain here, Maggie; I will bring
down your shawl," and she glided from the room, leaving them purposely

Maggie was a good deal astonished, slightly embarrassed, and a little
provoked, all of which Arthur Carrollton readily saw; but this did
not prevent his talking to her, and during the few minutes of Madam
Conway's absence he decided that neither Margaret's beauty, nor yet
her originality, had been overrated by her partial grandmother, while
Maggie, on her part, mentally pronounced him "the finest-looking, the
most refined, the most gentlemanly, the proudest, and the hatefulest
man she had ever seen!"

Wholly unconscious of her cogitation, he wrapped her shawl very
carefully about her, taking care to cover her white shoulders from the
night air; then offering his arm to her grandmother, he led the way to
the carriage, whither she followed him, wondering if Henry would be
jealous, and thinking her first act would be to tell him how she hated
Arthur Carrollton, and always should!

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a gay, brilliant scene which Mrs. Morton's drawing room
presented; and, as yet the center of attraction, Theo, near the door,
was bowing to the many strangers who sought her acquaintance. Greatly
she marveled at the long delay of her grandmother and Maggie, and she
had just suggested to Henry that he should go in quest of them, when
she saw her sister ascending the stairs.

On a sofa across the room sat a pale young girl arrayed in white, her
silken curls falling around her neck like a golden shower, and her
mournful eyes of blue scanning eagerly each newcomer, then a look of
disappointment drooping beneath the long lashes which rested wearily
upon her colorless cheek. It was Rose Warner, and the face she sought
was Maggie Miller's. She had seen no semblance of it yet, for Henry
had no daguerreotype. Still, she felt sure she would know it, and when
at last, in all her queenly beauty, Maggie came, leaning on Arthur
Carrollton's arm, Rose's heart made ready answer to the oft-repeated
question, "Who is she?"

"Beautiful, gloriously beautiful!" she whispered softly, while from
the grave of her buried hopes there came one wild heart-throb, one
sudden burst of pain caused by the first sight of her rival, and then
Rose Warner grew calm again, and those who saw the pressure of her
hand upon her side dreamed not of the fierce pang within. She had
asked her brother not to tell Maggie she was to be there. She would
rather watch her a while, herself unknown; and now with eager, curious
eyes she followed Maggie, who was quickly surrounded by a host of

It was Maggie's first introduction into society, and yet so perfect
was her intuition of what was proper that neither by word or deed did
she do aught to shock the most fastidious. It is true her merry laugh
more than once rang out above the din of voices; but it was so joyous
that no one objected, particularly when they looked in her bright and
almost childish face. Arthur Carrollton, too, acting as her escort,
aided her materially, for it was soon whispered around that he was a
wealthy Englishman, and many were the comments made upon the handsome
couple, who seemed singularly adapted to each other. A glance had
convinced Arthur Carrollton that Maggie was by far the most beautiful
lady present, and feeling that on this her first introduction into
society she needed someone to shield her, as it were, from the many
foolish, flattering speeches which were sure to be made in her
hearing, he kept her at his side, where she was nothing loath to stay;
for, notwithstanding that she "hated" him so, there was about him a
fascination she did not try to resist.

"They are a splendid couple," thought Rose, and then she looked to see
how Henry was affected by the attentions of the handsome foreigner.

But Henry was not jealous; and, standing a little aloof, he felt more
pleasure than pain in watching Maggie as she received the homage of
the gay throng. Thoughts similar to those of Rose, however, forced
themselves upon him as he saw the dignified bearing of Mr.
Carrollton, and for the first time in his life he was conscious of an
uncomfortable feeling of inferiority to some thing or some body, he
hardly knew what. This feeling, however, passed away when Maggie came
at last to his side, with her winning smile and playful words.

Very closely Madam Conway watched her now; but Maggie did not heed it,
and leaning on Henry's arm she seemed oblivious to all save him.
After a time he led her out upon a side piazza, where they would be
comparatively alone. Observing that she seemed a little chilly, he
left her for a moment while he went in quest of her shawl. Scarcely
was he gone when a slight, fairy form came flitting through the
moonlight to where Maggie sat, and, twining its snow-white arms around
her neck, looked lovingly into her eyes, whispering soft and low, "My

"My sister!" How Maggie's blood bounded at the sound of that name,
which even the night wind, sighing through the trees, seemed to take
up and repeat. "My sister!" What was there in those words thus to
affect her? Was that fair young creature, who hung so fondly over her,
naught to her save a common stranger? Was there no tie between them,
no bond of sympathy and love? We ask this of you, our reader, and not
of Maggie Miller, for to her there came no questioning like this. She
only knew that every pulsation of her heart responded to the name of
sister, when breathed by sweet Rose Warner, and, folding her arms
about her, she pillowed the golden head upon her bosom, and, pushing
back the clustering curls, gazed long and earnestly into a face which
seemed so heavenly and pure.

Few were the words they uttered at first, for a mysterious, invisible
something prompted each to look into the other's eyes, to clasp the
other's hands, to kiss the other's lips, and lovingly to whisper the
other's name.

"I have wished so much to see you, to know if you are worthy of my
noble brother," said Rose at last, thinking she must say something on
the subject uppermost in both their minds.

"And am I worthy?" asked Maggie, the bright blushes stealing over her
cheek. "Will you let me be your sister?"

"My heart would claim you for that, even though I had no brother,"
answered Rose, and again her lips touched those of Maggie.

Seeing them thus together, Henry tarried purposely a long time, and
when at last he rejoined them he proposed returning to the drawing
room, where many inquiries were making for Maggie.

"I have looked for you a long time, Miss Maggie," said Mr. Carrollton.
"I wish to hear you play;" and, taking her arm in his, he led her to
the piano.

From the moment of her first introduction to him Maggie had felt that
there was something commanding in his manner, something she could not
disobey; and now, though she fancied it was impossible to play before
that multitude, she seated herself mechanically, and while the keys
swam before her eyes, went through with a difficult piece which she
had never but once before executed correctly.

"You have done well; much better than I anticipated," said Mr.
Carrollton, again offering her his arm; and though a little vexed,
those few words of commendation were worth more to Maggie than the
most flattering speech which Henry Warner had ever made to her.

Soon after leaving the piano a young man approached and invited her to
waltz. This was something in which Maggie excelled; for two winters
before Madam Conway had hired a teacher to instruct her granddaughters
in dancing, and she was about to accept the invitation, when, drawing
her arm still closer within his own, Mr. Carrollton looked down upon
her, saying softly, "I wouldn't."

Maggie had often waltzed with Henry at home. He saw no harm in it, and
now when Arthur Carrollton objected, she was provoked, while at the
same time she felt constrained to decline.

"Some time, when I know you better, I will explain to you why I do
not think it proper for young girls to waltz with everyone," said Mr.
Carrollton; and, leading her from the drawing room, he devoted himself
to her for the remainder of the evening, making himself so perfectly
agreeable that Maggie forgot everything, even Henry Warner, who in
the meantime had tried to obtain recognition from Madam Conway as an

A cool nod, however, was all the token of recognition she had to give
him. This state of feeling augured ill for the success of his suit;
but when at a late hour that night, in spite of grandmother or
Englishman, he handed Maggie to the carriage, he whispered to her
softly, "I will see her to-morrow morning, and know the worst."

The words caught the quick ear of Madam Conway; but, not wishing
Mr. Carrollton to know there was anything particular between her
granddaughter and Henry Warner, she said nothing, and when, arrived at
last at the hotel, she asked an explanation, Maggie, who hurried off
to bed, was too sleepy to give her any answer.

"I shall know before long, anyway, if he sees me in the morning," she
thought, as she heard a distant clock strike two, and settling her
face into the withering frown with which she intended to annihilate
Henry Warner, the old lady was herself ere long much faster asleep
than the young girl at her side, who was thinking of Henry Warner,
wishing he was three inches taller, or herself three inches shorter,
and wondering if his square shoulders would not be somewhat improved
by braces!

"I never noticed how short and crooked he was," she thought, "until I
saw him standing by the side of Mr. Carrollton, who is such a splendid
figure, so tall and straight; but big, overgrown girls like me always
get short husbands, they say;" and satisfied with this conclusion she
fell asleep.



At a comparatively early hour Madam Conway arose, and going to the
parlor found there Arthur Carrollton, who asked if Margaret were not
yet up. "Say that I wish her to ride with me on horseback," said he.
"The morning air will do her good;" and, quite delighted, Madam Conway
carried the message to her granddaughter.

"Tell him I shan't do it," answered the sleepy Maggie, adjusting
herself for another nap. Then, as she thought how his eyes probably
looked as he said, "I wish her to ride," she felt impelled to obey,
and greatly to her grandmother's surprise she commenced dressing.

Theo's riding dress was borrowed, and though it did not fit her
exactly she looked unusually well when she met Mr. Carrollton in the
lower hall, and once mounted upon the gay steed, and galloping away
into the country, she felt more than repaid for the loss of her
morning slumber.

"You ride well," said Mr. Carrollton, when at last they paused upon
the brow of a hill overlooking the town, "but you have some faults
which, with your permission, I will correct," and in the most polite
and gentlemanly manner he proceeded to speak of a few points wherein
her riding might be improved.

Among other things, he said she rode too fast for a lady; and, biting
her lip, Maggie thought, "If I only had Gritty here, I'd lead him such
a race as would either break his bones or his neck, I'm not particular

Still, she followed his directions implicitly, and when, ere they
reached home, he told her that she excelled many who had been for
years to riding schools, she felt repaid for his criticisms, which she
knew were just, even if they were not agreeable. Breakfast being over,
he announced his intention of going down to Boston, telling Maggie he
should probably return that evening and go with her to Hillsdale on
the morrow.

Scarcely had he gone when Henry Warner appeared, asking an interview
with Madam Conway, who haughtily led the way into a private room. Very
candidly and honorably Henry made known to her his wishes, whereupon
a most stormy scene ensued, the lady so far forgetting herself as to
raise her voice several notes above its usual pitch, while Henry,
angered by her insulting words, bade her take the consequences of her
refusal, hinting that girls had been known to marry without their
guardian's consent.

"An elopement, hey? He threatens me with an elopement, does he?" said
Madam Conway, as the door closed after him. "I am glad he warned me
in time," and then, trembling in every limb lest Maggie should be
spirited away before her very eyes, she determined upon going home
immediately and leaving Arthur Carrollton to follow in the cars.

Accordingly, Maggie was bidden to pack her things at once, the excited
old lady keeping her eye constantly upon her to see that she did
not disappear through the window or some other improbable place. In
silence Maggie obeyed, pouting the while a very little, partly because
she should not again see Henry, partly because she had confidently
expected to ride home with Mr. Carrollton, and partly because she
wished to stay to the firemen's muster, which had long been talked
about, and was to take place on the morrow. They were ready at last,
and then in a very perturbed state of feeling Madam Conway waited
for her carriage, which was not forthcoming, and upon inquiry George
Douglas learned that, having counted upon another day in the city,
Mike was now going through with a series of plunge-baths, by way of
sobering himself ere appearing before his mistress. This, however,
George kept from Madam Conway, not wishing to alarm her; and when
after a time Mike appeared, sitting bolt upright upon the box, with
the lines grasped firmly in his hands, she did not suspect the truth,
nor know that he too was angry for being thus compelled to go home
before he saw the firemen.

Thinking him sober enough to be perfectly safe, George Douglas felt no
fear, and, bowing to his new relatives, went back to comfort Theo, who
as a matter of course cried a little when the carriage drove away.
Worcester was left behind, and they were far out in the country ere
a word was exchanged between Madam Conway and Maggie; for while the
latter was pouting behind her veil, the former was wondering what
possessed Mike to drive into every rut and over every stone.

"You, Mike!" she exclaimed at last, leaning from the window. "What
ails you?"

"Nothing, as I'm a living man," answered Mike, halting so suddenly as
to jerk the lady backwards and mash the crown of her bonnet.

Straightening herself up, and trying in vain to smooth the jam, Madam
Conway continued: "In liquor, I know. I wish I had stayed home." But
Mike loudly denied the charge, declaring he had spent the blessed
night at a meeting of the "Sons," where they passed around nothing
stronger than lemons and water, and if the horses chose to run off the
track it wasn't his fault--he couldn't help it; and with the air of
one deeply injured he again started forward, turning off ere long into
a cross road, which, as they advanced, grew more stony and rough,
while the farmhouses, as a general thing, presented a far less
respectable appearance than those on the Hillsdale route.

"Mike, you villain!" ejaculated the lady, as they ran down into a
ditch, and she sprang to one side to keep the carriage from going

But ere she had time for anything further, one of the axletrees
snapped asunder, and to proceed further in their present condition was
impossible. Alighting from the carriage, and setting her little feet
upon the ground with a vengeance, Madam Conway first scolded Mike
unmercifully for his carelessness, and next chided Maggie for
manifesting no more concern.

"You'd as lief go to destruction as not, I do believe!" said she,
looking carefully after the bandbox containing her purple satin.

"I'd rather go there first," answered Maggie, pointing to a brown
old-fashioned farmhouse about a quarter of a mile away.

At first Madam Conway objected, saying she preferred sitting on the
bank to intruding herself upon strangers; but as it was now noonday,
and the warm September sun poured fiercely down upon her, she finally
concluded to follow Maggie's advice, and gathering up her box and
parasol started for the house, which, with its tansy patch on the
right, and its single poplar tree in front, presented rather an
uninviting appearance.

"Some vulgar creatures live there, I know. Just hear that old tin
horn!" she exclaimed, as a blast, loud and shrill, blown by practiced
lips, told the men in a distant field that dinner was ready.

A nearer approach disclosed to view a slanting-roofed farmhouse such
as is often found in New England, with high, narrow windows, small
panes of glass, and the most indispensable paper curtains of blue
closely shading the windows of what was probably the "best room." In
the apartment opposite, however, they were rolled up, so as to show
the old-fashioned drapery of dimity, bordered with a netted fringe.
Half a dozen broken pitchers and pots held geraniums, verbenas, and
other plants, while the well-kept beds of hollyhocks, sunflowers, and
poppies indicated a taste for flowers in someone. Everything about
the house was faultlessly neat. The doorsill was scrubbed to a chalky
white, while the uncovered floor wore the same polished hue.

All this Madam Conway saw at a glance, but it did not prevent her
from holding high her aristocratic skirts, lest they should be
contaminated, and when, in answer to her knock, an odd-looking,
peculiarly dressed woman appeared, she uttered an exclamation of
disgust, and, turning to Maggie, said, "You talk--I can't!"

But the woman did not stand at all upon ceremony. For the last ten
minutes she had been watching the strangers as they toiled over the
sandy road, and when sure they were coming there had retreated into
her bedroom, donning a flaming red calico, which, guiltless of hoops,
clung to her tenaciously, showing her form to good advantage, and
rousing at once the risibility of Maggie. A black lace cap, ornamented
with ribbons of the same fanciful color as the dress, adorned her
head; and, with a dozen or more pins in her mouth, she now appeared,
hooking her sleeve and smoothing down the black collar upon her neck.

In a few words Maggie explained to her their misfortune, and asked
permission to tarry there until the carriage was repaired.

"Certing, certing," answered the woman, courtesying almost to the
floor. "Walk right in, if you can git in. It's my cheese day, or I
should have been cleared away sooner. Here, Betsy Jane, you have
prinked long enough; come and hist the winders in t'other room, and
wing 'em off, so the ladies can set in there out of this dirty place;"
then turning to Madam Conway, who was industriously freeing her
French kids from the sand they had accumulated during her walk, she
continued, "Have some of my shoes to rest your feet a spell"; and
diving into a recess or closet she brought forth a pair of slippers
large enough to hold both of Madam Conway's feet at once.

With a haughty frown the lady declined the offer, while Maggie looked
on in delight, pleased with an adventure which promised so much fun.
After a moment Betsy Jane appeared, attired in a dress similar to that
of her mother, for whose lank appearance she made ample amends, in the
wonderful expansion of her robes, which, minus gather or fold at the
bottom, set out like a miniature tent, upsetting at once the bandbox,
which Madam Conway had placed upon a chair, and which, with its
contents, rolled promiscuously over the floor!

"Betsy Jane! How can you wear them abominable things!" exclaimed the
distressed woman, stooping to pick up the purple satin which had
tumbled out.

A look from the more fashionable daughter, as with a swinging sweep
she passed on into the parlor, silenced the mother on the subject of
hoops, and thinking her guests must necessarily be thirsty after their
walk she brought them a pitcher of water, asking if they'd "chuse it
clear, or with a little ginger and molasses," at the same time calling
to Betsy Jane to know if them windows was "wung" off!

The answer was in the affirmative, whereupon the ladies were invited
to enter, which they did the more willingly as through the open door
they had caught glimpses of what proved to be a very handsome Brussels
carpet, which in that room seemed a little out of place, as did the
sofa, and handsome haircloth rocking-chair. In this last Madam Conway
seated herself, while Maggie reclined upon a lounge, wondering at the
difference in the various articles of furniture, some of which were
quite expensive, while others were of the most common kind.

"Who can they be? She looks like someone I have seen," said Maggie as
Betsy Jane left the room. "I mean to ask their names;" but this her
grandmother would not suffer. "It was too much like familiarity," she
said, "and she did not believe in putting one's self on a level with
such people."

Another loud blast from the horn was blown, for the bustling woman of
the house was evidently getting uneasy, and ere long three or four men
appeared, washing themselves from the spout of the pump, and wiping
upon a coarse towel which hung upon a roller near the back door.

"I shan't eat at the same table with those creatures," said Madam
Conway, feeling intuitively that she would be invited to dinner.

"Why, grandma, yes you will, if she asks you," answered Maggie. "Only
think how kind they are to us--perfect strangers!"

What else she might have said was prevented by the entrance of Betsy
Jane, who informed them that dinner was ready, and with a mental
groan, as she thought how she was about to be martyred, Madam Conway
followed her to the dining room, where a plain, substantial farmer's
meal was spread. Standing at the head of the table, with her
good-humored face all in a glow, was the hostess, who, pointing Madam
Conway to? chair, said: "Now set right by, and make yourselves to hum.
Mebby I or to have set the table over, and I guess I should if I had
anything fit to eat. Be you fond of biled victuals?" and taking it for
granted they were, she loaded both Madam Conway's and Maggie's plate
with every variety of vegetables used in the preparation of the dish
known everywhere as "boiled victuals."

By this time the men had ranged themselves in respectful silence upon
the opposite side of the table, each stealing an admiring though
modest glance at Maggie; for the masculine heart, whether it beats
beneath a homespun frock or coat of finest cloth, is alike susceptible
to glowing, youthful beauty like that of Maggie Miller. The head of
the house was absent--"had gone to town with a load of wood," so his
spouse informed the ladies, at the same time pouring out a cup of tea,
which she said she had tried to make strong enough to bear up an egg.
"Betsy Jane," she continued, casting a deprecating glance, first at
the blue sugar bowl and then at her daughter, "what possessed you to
put on this brown sugar, when I told you to get crush? Have some of
the apple sass? It's new--made this morning. Dew have some," she
continued, as Madam Conway shook her head. "Mebby it's better than
it looks. Seem's ef you wan't goin' to eat nothin'. Betsy Jane,
now you're up after the crush, fetch them china sassers for the
cowcumbers. Like enough she'll eat some of them."

But, affecting a headache, Madam Conway declined everything save
the green tea and a Boston cracker, which, at the first mention of
headache, the distressed woman had brought her. Suddenly remembering
Mike, who, having fixed the carriage, was fast asleep on a wheelbarrow
under the woodshed, she exclaimed: "For the land of massy, if I hain't
forgot that young gentleman! Go, William, and call him this minute.
Are you sick at your stomach?" she asked, turning to Madam Conway,
who at the thought of eating with her drunken coachman had uttered
an exclamation of disgust. "Go, Betsy Jane, and fetch the camphire,

But Madam Conway did not need the camphor, and so she said, adding
that Mike was better where he was. Mike thought so too, and refused
to come, whereupon the woman insisted that he must. "There was room
enough," she said, "and no kind of sense in Betsy Jane's taking up the
hull side of the table with them rattans. She could set nearer the
young lady."

"Certainly," answered Maggie, anxious to see how the "rattans" would
manage to squeeze in between herself and the table-leg, as they would
have to do if they came an inch nearer.

This feat could not be done, and in attempting it Betsy Jane upset
Maggie's tea upon her handsome traveling dress, eliciting from her
mother the exclamation, "Betsy Jane Douglas, you allus was the
blunderin'est girl!"

This little accident diverted the woman's mind from Mike, while
Madam Conway, starting at the name of Douglas, thought to herself:
"Douglas!--Douglas! I did not suppose 'twas so common a name. But then
it don't hurt George any, having these creatures bear his name."

Dinner being over, Madam Conway and Maggie returned to the parlor,
where, while the former resumed her chair, the latter amused herself
by examining the books and odd-looking daguerreotypes which lay upon
the table.

"Oh, grandmother!" she almost screamed, bounding to that lady's
side, "as I live, here's a picture of Theo and George Douglas taken
together," and she held up a handsome casing before the astonished
old lady, who, donning her golden spectacles in a twinkling, saw for
herself that what Maggie said was true.

"They stole it!" she gasped. "We are in a den of thieves! Who knows
what they'll take from my bandbox?" and she was about to leave the
room when Maggie, whose quick mind saw farther ahead, bade her stop.

"I may discover something more," said she, and taking up a handsomely
bound volume of Lamb, she turned to the fly-leaf, and read, "Jenny
Douglas, from her brother George, Worcester, January 8."

It was plain to her now; but any mortification she might otherwise
have experienced was lost in the one absorbing thought, "What will
grandma say?"

"Grandmother," said she, showing the book, "don't you remember the
mother of that girl called her Betsy Jane Douglas?"

"Yes, yes!" gasped Madam Conway, raising both hands, while an
expression of deep, intense anxiety was visible upon her face.

"And don't you know, too," continued Maggie, "that George always
seemed inclined to say as little as possible of his parents? Now, in
this country it is not unusual for the sons of just such people as
these to be among the most wealthy and respectable citizens."

"Maggie, Maggie!" hoarsely whispered Madam Conway, grasping Maggie's
arm, "do you mean to insinuate--am I to understand that you believe
that odious woman and hideous girl to be the mother and sister of
George Douglas?"

"I haven't a doubt of it," answered Maggie. "'Twas the resemblance
between Betsy Jane and George which I observed at first."

Out of her chair to the floor tumbled Madam Conway, fainting entirely
away, while Maggie, stepping to the door, called for help.

"I mistrusted she was awful sick at dinner," said Mrs. Douglas, taking
her hands from the dish-water, and running to the parlor. "I wish
she'd smelt of the camphire, as I wanted her to do. Does she have such
spells often?"

By this time Betsy Jane brought a basin of water, which she dashed in
the face of the unconscious woman, who soon began to revive.

"Pennyr'yal tea'll settle her stomach quicker'n anything else," said
Mrs. Douglas. "I'll clap a little right on the stove;" and, helping
Madam Conway to the sofa, she left the room.

"There may possibly be a mistake, after all," thought Maggie. "I'll
question the girl;" and, turning to Betsy Jane, she said, taking up
the book which had before attracted her attention, "Is this 'Jenny
Douglas' intended for you?"

"Yes, ma'am," answered the girl, coloring slightly. "Brother George
calls me Jenny, because he thinks Betsy so old-fashioned."

An audible groan from the sofa, and Maggie continued, "Where does your
brother live?"

"In Worcester, ma'am. He keeps a store there," answered Betsy, who was
going to say more, when her mother, re-entering the room, took up the
conversation by saying, "Was you tellin' 'em about George Washington?
Waal, he's a boy no mother need to be ashamed on, though my old man
sometimes says he's ashamed of us, we are so different. But, then, he
orto consider the advantages he's had. We only brung him up till he
was ten years old, and then an uncle he was named after took him
and gin him a college schoolin', and then put him into his store in
Worcester. Your head aches wus, don't it? Poor thing! The pennyr'yal
will be steeped directly," she added, in an aside to Madam Conway,
who had groaned aloud as if in pain. Then resuming her story, she
continued, "Better'n six year ago Uncle George, who was a bachelor,
died, leaving the heft of his property, seventy-five thousand dollars
or more, to my son, who is now top of the heap in the store, and worth
one hundred thousand dollars, I presume; some say two hundred thousand
dollars; but that's the way some folks have of agitatin' things."

"Is he married?" asked Maggie, and Mrs. Douglas, mistaking the motive
which prompted the question, answered: "Yes, dear, he is. If he wan't,
I know of no darter-in-law I'd as soon have as you. I don't believe in
finding fault with my son's wife; but there's a proud look in her
face I don't like. This is her picter," and she passed to Maggie the
daguerreotype of Theo.

"I've looked at it before," said Maggie; and the good woman proceeded:
"I hain't seen her yet; but he's going to bring her to Charlton
bime-by. He's a good boy, George is, free as water--gave me this
carpet, the sofy and chair, and has paid Betsy Jane's schoolin' one
winter at Leicester. But Betsy don't take to books much. She's more
like me, her father says. They had a big party for George last night,
but I wan't invited. Shouldn't 'a' gone if I had been; but for all
that a body don't want to be slighted, even if they don't belong to
the quality. If I'm good enough to be George's mother I'm good enough
to go to a party with his wife. But she wan't to blame, and I shan't
lay it up against her. I shall see her to-morrow, pretty likely, for
Sam Babbit's wife and I are goin' down to the firemen's muster. You've
heard on't, I suppose. The different engines are goin' to see which
will shute water the highest over a 180-foot pole. I wouldn't miss
goin' for anything, and of course I shall call on Theodoshy. I
calkerlate to like her, and when they go to housekeepin' I've got a
hull chest full of sheets and piller-biers and towels I'm goin' to
give her, besides three or four bedquilts I pieced myself, two in
herrin'-bone pattern, and one in risin' sun. I'll show 'em to you,"
and leaving the room, she soon returned with three patchwork
quilts, wherein were all possible shades of color, red and yellow
predominating, and in one the "rising sun" forming a huge centerpiece.

"Heavens!" faintly articulated Madam Conway, pressing her hands upon
her head, which was supposed to be aching dreadfully. The thought of
Theo reposing beneath the "risin' sun," or yet the "herrin'-bone," was
intolerable; and looking beseechingly at Maggie, she whispered, "Do
see if Mike is ready."

"If it's the carriage you mean," chimed in Mrs. Douglas, "it's been
waiting quite a spell, but I thought you warn't fit to ride yet, so I
didn't tell you."

Starting to her feet, Madam Conway's bonnet went on in a trice, and
taking her shawl in her hand she walked outdoors, barely expressing
her thanks to Mrs. Douglas, who, greatly distressed at her abrupt
departure, ran for the herb tea, and taking the tin cup in her hand
followed her guest to the carriage, urging her to "take a swaller just
to keep from vomiting."

"She is better without it," said Maggie. "She seldom takes medicine,"
and politely expressing her gratitude to Mrs. Douglas for her kindness
she bade Mike drive on.

"Some crazy critter just out of the asylum, I'll bet," said Mrs.
Douglas, walking back to the house with her pennyroyal tea. "How queer
she acted! but that girl's a lady, every inch of her, and so handsome
too--I wonder who she is?"

"Don't you believe the old woman felt a little above us?" suggested
Betsy Jane, who had more discernment than her mother.

"Like enough she did, though I never thought on't. But she needn't.
I'm as good as she is, and I'll warrant as much thought on, where I'm
known;" and quite satisfied with her own position, Mrs. Douglas went
back to her dish-washing, while Betsy Jane stole away upstairs to
try the experiment of arranging her hair after the fashion in which
Margaret wore hers.

In the meantime Mike, perfectly sobered, had turned his horses' heads
in the direction of Hillsdale, when Madam Conway called out, "To
Worcester, Mike--to Worcester, as fast as you can drive."

"To Worcester! For what?" asked Maggie, and the excited woman
answered: "To stop it! To forbid the banns! I should think you'd ask
for what!"

"To stop it," repeated Maggie. "I'd like to see you stop it, when
they've been married two months!"

"So they have! so they have!" said Madam Conway, wringing her hands
in her despair, and crying out that a Conway should be so disgraced.
"What shall I do? What shall I do?"

"Make the best of it, of course," answered Maggie. "I don't see
that George is any worse for his parentage. He is evidently greatly
respected in Worcester, where his family are undoubtedly known. He is
educated and refined, if they are not. Theo loves him, and that is
sufficient, unless I add that he has money."

"But not as much as I supposed," moaned Madam Conway. "Theo told me
two hundred thousand dollars; but that woman said one. Oh, what will
become of me! Give me the hartshorn, Maggie. I feel so faint!"

The hartshorn was handed her, but it could not quiet her distress.
Her family pride was sorely wounded, and had Theo been dead she would
hardly have felt worse than she did.

"How will she bear it when it comes to her knowledge, as it
necessarily must? It will kill her, I know!" she exclaimed, after
Maggie had exhausted all her powers of reasoning in vain; then, as
she remembered the woman's avowed intention of visiting her
daughter-in-law on the morrow, she felt that she must turn back; she
must see Theo and break it to her gently, or the first sight of that
odious creature, claiming her for a daughter, might be of incalculable

"Stop, Mike," she was about to say; but ere the words passed her lips
she reflected that to take Maggie back to Worcester was to throw her
again in Henry Warner's way, and this she could not do. There was
but one alternative. She could stop at the Charlton depot, not far
distant, and wait for the downward train, while Mike drove Maggie
home; and this she resolved to do. Mike was accordingly bidden to take
her at once to the depot, which he did, while she explained to Maggie
her reason for returning.

"Theo is much better alone, and George will not thank you for
interfering," said Maggie, not at all pleased with her grandmother's

But the old lady was determined. It was her duty, she said, to stand
by Theo in trouble; and if a visit from that horrid creature wasn't
trouble, she could not well define it.

"When will you come home?" asked Maggie.

"Not before to-morrow night. Now I have undertaken the matter, I
intend to see it through," said Madam Conway, referring to the
expected visit of Mrs. Douglas, senior.

But Mike did not thus understand it, and thinking her only object in
turning back was to "see the doin's," as he designated the firemen's
muster, he muttered long and loud about being thus sent home while his
mistress went to see the fun.

In the meantime, on a hard settee, at the rather uncomfortable depot,
Madam Conway awaited the arrival of the train, which came at last,
and in a short time she found herself again in Worcester. Once in
a carriage, and on her way to the "Bay State," she began to feel a
little nervous, half wishing she had followed Maggie's advice, and
left Theo alone. But it could not now be helped, and while trying to
think what she should say to her astonished granddaughter she was set
down at the door of the hotel, slightly bewildered and a good deal
perplexed, a feeling which was by no means diminished when she learned
that Mr. and Mrs. Douglas were both out of town.

"Where have they gone, and when will they return?" she gasped, untying
her bonnet strings for easier respiration.

To these queries the clerk, replied that he believed Mr. Douglas had
gone to Boston on business, that he might be home that night; at all
events, he would probably return in the morning; she could find Mr.
Warner, who would tell her all about it. "Shall I send for him?" he
continued, as he saw the scowl upon her face.

"Certainly not," she answered; and taking the key, which had been left
in his charge, she repaired to Theo's rooms, and sinking into a large
easy-chair fanned herself furiously, wondering if they would return
that night, and what they would say when they found her there. "But I
don't care," she continued, speaking aloud and shaking her head very
decidedly at the excited woman whose image was reflected by the mirror
opposite, and who shook her head as decidedly in return. "George
Douglas has deceived us shamefully, and I'll tell him so, too. I wish
he'd come this minute!"

But George Douglas knew well what he was doing. Very gradually was he
imparting to Theo a knowledge of his parents, and Theo, who really
loved her husband, was learning to prize him for himself, and not for
his family. Feeling certain that the firemen's muster would bring his
mother to town, and knowing that Theo was not yet prepared to see her,
he was greatly relieved at Madam Conway's sudden departure, and had
himself purposely left home, with the intention of staying away until
Friday night. This, however, Madam Conway did not know, and very
impatiently she awaited his coming, until the lateness of the hour
precluded the possibility of his arrival, and she retired to bed,
but not to sleep, for the city was full of firemen, and one company,
failing of finding lodgings elsewhere, had taken refuge in an
empty carriage-shop near by. The hard, bare floor was not the most
comfortable bed imaginable, and preferring the bright moonlight and
open air they made the night hideous with their noisy shouts, which
the watchmen tried in vain to hush. To sleep in that neighborhood was
impossible, and all night long Madam Conway vibrated between her bed
and the window, from which latter point she frowned wrathfully down
upon the red coats below, who, scoffing alike at law and order as
dispensed by the police, kept up their noisy revel, shouting lustily
for "Chelsea, No. 4" and "Washington, No. 2," until the dawn of day.

"I wish to mercy I'd gone home!" sighed Madam Conway, as weak and
faint she crept down to the breakfast table, doing but little justice
to anything, and returning to her room pale, haggard, and weary.

Ere long, however, she became interested in watching the crowds of
people who at an early hour filled the streets; and when at last the
different fire companies of the State paraded the town, in a seemingly
never-ending procession, she forgot in a measure her trouble, and
drawing her chair to the window sat down to enjoy the brilliant scene,
involuntarily nodding her head to the stirring music, as company after
company passed. Up and down the street, far as the eye could reach,
the sidewalks were crowded with men, women, and children, all eager
to see the sight. There were people from the city and people from the
country, the latter of whom, having anticipated the day for weeks and
months, were now unquestionably enjoying it to the last degree.

Conspicuous among these was a middle-aged woman, who elicited remarks
from all who beheld her, both from the peculiarity of her dress and
the huge blue cotton umbrella she persisted in hoisting, to the great
annoyance of those in whose faces it was thrust, and who forgot in a
measure their vexation when they read the novel device it bore. Like
many other people, who can sympathize with the good woman, she
was always losing her umbrella, and at last, in self-defense, had
embroidered upon the blue in letters of white:

  "Steal me not, for fear of shame.
  For here you see my owner's name:


As the lettering was small and not very distinct, it required a
close observation to decipher it; but the plan was a successful one,
nevertheless, and for four long years the blue umbrella had done good
service to its mistress, shielding her alike from sunshine and from
storm, and now in the crowded city it performed a double part,
preventing those standing near from seeing, while at the same time it
kept the dust from settling on the thick green veil and leghorn bonnet
of its owner. At Betsy Jane's suggestion she wore a hoop to-day on
Theo's account, and that she was painfully conscious of the fact was
proved by the many anxious glances she cast at her chocolate-colored
muslin, through the thin folds of which it was plainly visible.

"I wish I had left the pesky thing to hum," she thought, feeling
greatly relieved when at last, as the crowd became greater, it was
broken in several pieces and ceased to do its duty.

From her seat near the window Madam Conway caught sight of the
umbrella as it swayed up and down amid the multitude, but she had no
suspicion that she who bore it thus aloft had even a better right
than herself to sit where she was sitting. In her excitement she had
forgotten Mrs. Douglas' intended visit, to prepare Theo for which she
had returned to Worcester, but it came to her at length, when, as
the last fire company passed, the blue umbrella was closed, and the
leghorn bonnet turned in the direction of the hotel. There was no
mistaking the broad, good-humored face which looked so eagerly up at
"George's window," and involuntarily Madam Conway glanced under the
bed with the view of fleeing thither for refuge!

"What shall I do?" she cried, as she heard the umbrella on the stairs.
"I'll lock her out," she continued; and in an instant the key was in
her pocket, while, trembling in every limb, she awaited the result.

Nearer and nearer the footsteps came; there was a knock upon the door,
succeeded by a louder one, and then, as both these failed to elicit a
response, the handle of the umbrella was vigorously applied. But all
in vain, and Madam Conway heard the discomfited outsider say, "They
told me Theodoshy's grandmarm was here, but I guess she's in the
street. I'll come agin bime-by," and Mrs. Douglas, senior, walked
disconsolately down the stairs, while Madam Conway thought it doubtful
whether she gained access to the room that day, come as often as she

Not long after, the gong sounded for dinner, and unlocking the door
Madam Conway was about descending to the dining room, when the thought
burst upon her: "What if she should be at the table! It's just like

The very idea was overwhelming, taking from her at once all desire for
dinner; and returning to her room she tried, by looking over the books
and examining the carpet, to forget how hungry and faint she was.
Whether she would have succeeded is doubtful, had not an hour or two
later brought another knock from the umbrella, and driven all thoughts
of eating from her mind. In grim silence she waited until her
tormentor was gone, and then wondering if it was not time for the
train she consulted her watch. But alas! 'twas only four; the cars did
not leave until six; and so another weary hour went by. At the end of
that time, however, thinking the depot preferable to being a prisoner
there, she resolved to go; and leaving the key with the clerk, she
called a carriage and was soon on her way to the cars.

As she approached the depot she observed an immense crowd of people
gathered together, among which the red coats of the firemen were
conspicuous. A fight was evidently in progress, and as the horses
began to grow restive she begged of the driver to let her alight,
saying she could easily walk the remainder of the way. Scarcely,
however, was she on terra-firma when the yelling crowd made a
precipitate rush towards her, and in much alarm she climbed for safety
into an empty buggy, whereupon the horse, equally alarmed, began to
rear, and without pausing an instant the terrified lady sprang out on
the side opposite to that by which she had entered, catching her dress
upon the seat, and tearing half the gathers from the waist.

"Heaven help me!" she cried, picking herself up, and beginning to wish
she had never troubled herself with Theo's mother-in-law.

To reach the depot was now her great object, and, as the two
belligerent parties occupied the front, she thought to effect an
entrance at the rear. But the doors were locked, and as she turned the
corner of the building she suddenly found herself in the thickest of
the fight. To advance was impossible, to turn back equally so, and
while meditating some means of escape she lost her footing and fell
across a wheelbarrow which stood upon the platform, crumpling her
bonnet, and scratching her face upon a nail which protruded from the
vehicle. Nearer dead than alive, she made her way at last into the
depot, and from thence into the cars, where, sinking into a seat, and
drawing her shawl closely around her, the better to conceal the
sad condition of her dress, she indulged in meditations not wholly
complimentary to firemen in general and her late comrades in

For half an hour she waited impatiently, but though the cars were
filling rapidly there were no indications of starting; and it was
almost seven ere the long and heavily loaded train moved slowly from
the depot. About fifteen minutes previous to their departure, as Madam
Conway was looking ruefully out upon the multitude, she was horrified
at seeing directly beneath her window the veritable woman from whom,
through the entire day, she had been hiding. Involuntarily she glanced
at the vacant seat in front of her, which, as she feared, was soon
occupied by Mrs. Douglas and her companion, who, as Madam Conway
divined, was "Sam Babbit's wife."

Trembling nervously lest she should be discovered, she drew her veil
closely over her face, keeping very quiet, and looking intently from
the window into the gathering darkness without. But her fears were
groundless, for Mrs. Douglas had no suspicion that the crumpled bonnet
and sorry figure, sitting so disconsolately in the corner, was the
same which but the day before had honored her with a call. She was in
high spirits, having had, as she informed her neighbor, "a tip-top
time." On one point, however, she was disappointed. She meant as much
as could be to have seen "Theodoshy," but she "wan't to hum." "Her
grandmarm was in town," said she, "but if she was in the room she must
have been asleep, or dreadful deaf, for I pounded with all my might.
I'm sorry, for I'd like to scrape acquaintance with her, bein' we're

An audible groan came from beneath the thick brown veil, whereupon
both ladies turned their heads. But the indignant woman made no sign;
and, in a whisper loud enough for Madam Conway to hear, Mrs. Douglas
said, "Some Irish critter in liquor, I presume. Look at her jammed

This remark drew from Mrs. Babbit a very close inspection of the
veiled figure, who, smothering her wrath, felt greatly relieved when
the train started and prevented her from hearing anything more. At the
next station, however, Mrs. Douglas showed her companion a crochet
collar, which she had purchased for two shillings, and which, she
said, was almost exactly like the one worn by the woman who stopped at
her house the day before.

Leaning forward, Madam Conway glanced contemptuously at the coarse
knit thing, which bore about the same resemblance to her own handsome
collar as cambric does to satin.

"Vulgar, ignorant creatures!" she muttered, while Mrs. Babbit, after
duly praising the collar, proceeded to make some inquiries concerning
the strange lady who had shared Mrs. Douglas' hospitality.

"I've no idee who she was," said Mrs. Douglas; "but I think it's purty
likely she was some crazy critter they was takin' to the hospital."

Another groan from beneath the brown veil, and turning around the
kind-hearted Mrs. Douglas asked if she was sick, adding in an aside,
as there came no answer, "Been fightin', I'll warrant!"

Fortunately for Madam Conway, the cars moved on, and when they stopped
again, to her great relief, the owner of the blue umbrella, together
with "Sam Babbit's wife," alighted, and amid the crowd assembled on
the platform she recognized Betsy Jane, who had come down to meet her
mother. The remainder of the way seemed tedious enough, for the train
moved but slowly, and it was near ten o'clock ere they reached the
Hillsdale station, where, to her great delight, Madam Conway found
Margaret awaiting her, together with Arthur Carrollton. The moment
she saw the former, who came eagerly forward to meet her, the weary,
worn-out woman burst into tears; but at the sight of Mr. Carrollton
she forced them back, saying, in reply to Maggie's inquiries, that
Theo was not at home, and that she had spent a dreadful day, and been
knocked down in a fight at the depot, in proof of which she pointed
to her torn dress, her crumpled bonnet, and scratched face. Maggie
laughed aloud in spite of herself, and though Mr. Carrollton's eyes
were several times turned reprovingly upon her she continued to
laugh at intervals at the sorry, forlorn appearance presented by her
grandmother, who for several days was confined to her bed from the
combined effects of fasting, fright, firemen's muster, and her late
encounter with Mrs. Douglas, senior!



Mr. Carrollton had returned from Boston on Thursday afternoon, and,
finding them all gone from the hotel, had come on to Hillsdale on
the evening train, surprising Maggie as she sat in the parlor alone,
wishing herself in Worcester, or in some place where it was not as
lonely as there. With his presence the loneliness disappeared, and in
making his tea and listening to his agreeable conversation she forgot
everything, until, observing that she looked weary, he said: "Maggie,
I would willingly talk to you all night, were it not for the bad
effect it would have on you to-morrow. You must go to bed now," and he
showed her his watch, which pointed to the hour of midnight.

Exceedingly mortified, Maggie was leaving the room, when, noticing her
evident chagrin, Mr. Carrollton came to her side, and laying his hand
very respectfully on hers, said kindly: "It is my fault, Maggie,
keeping you up so late, and I only send you away now because those
eyes are growing heavy, and I know that you need rest. Good-night to
you, and pleasant dreams."

He went with her to the door, watching her until she disappeared up
the stairs; then, half wishing he had not sent her from him, he too
sought his chamber; but not to sleep, for Maggie, though absent, was
with him still in fancy. For more than a year he had been haunted by a
bright, sunshiny face, whose owner embodied the dashing, independent
spirit and softer qualities which made Maggie Miller so attractive. Of
this face he had often thought, wondering if the real would equal the
ideal, and now that he had met with her, had looked into her truthful
eyes, had gazed upon her sunny face, which mirrored faithfully every
thought and feeling, he was more than satisfied, and to love that
beautiful girl seemed to him an easy matter. She was so childlike, so
artless, so different from anyone whom he had ever known, that he was
interested in her at once. But Arthur Carrollton never did a thing
precipitately. She might have many glaring faults; he must see her
more, must know her better, ere he lavished upon her the love whose
deep fountains had never yet been stirred.

After this manner he reasoned as he walked up and down his chamber,
while Maggie, on her sleepless pillow, was thinking, too, of him,
wondering if she did hate him as much as she intended, and if Henry
would be offended at her sitting up with him until after twelve

It was nearly half-past nine when Maggie awoke next morning, and
making a hasty toilet she descended to the dining room, where she
found Mr. Carrollton awaiting her. He had been up a long time; but
when Anna Jeffrey, blessed with an uncommon appetite, fretted at the
delay of breakfast, and suggested calling Margaret, he objected,
saying she needed rest, and must not be disturbed. So, in something of
a pet, the young lady breakfasted alone with her aunt, Mr. Carrollton
preferring to wait for Maggie.

"I am sorry I kept you waiting," said Maggie, seating herself at the
table and continuing to apologize for her tardiness.

But Mr. Carrollton felt more than repaid by having her thus alone with
him, and many were the admiring glances he cast toward her, as, with
her shining hair, her happy face, her tasteful morning gown of pink,
and her beautiful white hands which handled so gracefully the silver
coffee-urn, she made a living, glowing picture such as any man might
delight to look upon. Breakfast being over, Mr. Carrollton proposed a
ride, and as Anna Jeffrey at that moment entered the parlor he invited
her to accompany them. There was a shadow on Maggie's brow as she left
the room to dress, a shadow which had not wholly disappeared when she
returned; and, observing this, Mr. Carrollton said, "Were I to consult
my own wishes, Maggie, I should leave Miss Jeffrey at home; but she is
a poor girl whose enjoyments are far less than ours, consequently I
invited her for this once, knowing how fond she is of riding."

"How thoughtful you are of other people's happiness!" said Maggie, the
shadow leaving her brow at once.

"I am glad that wrinkle has gone, at all events," returned Mr.
Carrollton laughingly, and laying his hand upon her forehead he
continued: "Were you my sister Helen I should probably kiss you for
having so soon got over your pet; but as you are Maggie Miller, I dare
not," and he looked earnestly at her, to see if he had spoken the

Coloring crimson, as it became the affianced bride of Henry Warner to
do, Maggie turned away, thinking Helen must be a happy girl, and
half wishing she too were Arthur Carrollton's sister. It was a long,
delightful excursion they took, and Maggie, when she saw how Anna
Jeffrey enjoyed it, did not altogether regret her presence. On their
way home she proposed calling upon Hagar, whom she had not seen for
"three whole days."

"And who, pray, is Hagar?" asked Mr. Carrollton; and Maggie replied,
"She is my old nurse--a strange, crazy creature, whom they say I
somewhat resemble."

By this time they were near the cottage, in the door of which old
Hagar was standing, with her white hair falling round her face.

"I see by your looks you don't care to call, but I shall," said
Maggie; and, bounding from her saddle, she ran up to Hagar, pressing
her hand and whispering that it would soon be time to hear from Henry.

"Kissed her, I do believe!" said Anna Jeffrey. "She must have
admirable taste!"

Mr. Carrollton said nothing, but with a half-comical, half-displeased
expression he watched the interview between that weird old woman and
the fair young girl, little suspecting how nearly they were allied.

"Why didn't you come and speak to her?" said Maggie, as he alighted to
assist her in again mounting Gritty. "She used to see you in England,
when you were a baby, and if you won't be angry I'll tell you what she
said. It was that you were the crossest, ugliest young one she ever
saw! There, there; don't set me down so hard!" and the saucy eyes
looked mischievously at the proud Englishman, who, truth to say, did
place her in the saddle with a little more force than was at all

Not that he was angry. He was only annoyed at what he considered
Maggie's undue familiarity with a person like Hagar, but he wisely
forbore making any comments in Anna Jeffrey's presence, except,
indeed, to laugh heartily at Hagar's complimentary description of
himself when a baby. Arrived at home, and alone again with Maggie, he
found her so very good-natured and agreeable that he could not chide
her for anything, and Hagar was for a time forgotten.

That evening, as the reader knows, they went together to the depot,
where they waited four long hours, but not impatiently; for sitting
there in the moonlight, with the winding Chicopee full in view, and
Margaret Miller at his side, Arthur Carrollton forgot the lapse
of time, especially when Maggie, thinking it no harm, gave a most
ludicrous description of her call upon Mrs. Douglas, senior, and of
her grandmother's distress at finding herself so nearly connected with
what she termed "a low, vulgar family."

Arthur Carrollton was very proud, and had Theo been his sister he
might to some extent have shared in Madam Conway's chagrin; and so he
said to Maggie, at the same time fully agreeing with her that George
Douglas was a refined, agreeable man, and as such entitled to respect.
Still, had Theo known of his parentage, he said, it would probably
have made some difference; but now that it could not be helped it was
wise to make the best of it.

These words were little heeded then by Maggie, but with most painful
distinctness they recurred to her in the after time, when, humbled in
the very dust, she had no hope that the highborn, haughty Carrollton
would stoop to a child of Hagar Warren! But no shadow of the dark
future was over her now, and very eagerly she drank in every word and
look of Arthur Carrollton, who, all unconsciously, was trampling on
another's rights and gradually weakening the fancied love she bore for
Henry Warner.

The arrival of the train brought their pleasant conversation to a
close, and for a day or two Maggie's time was wholly occupied with
her grandmother, to whom she frankly acknowledged having told Mr.
Carrollton of Mrs. Douglas and her daughter Betsy Jane. The fact that
he knew of her disgrace and did not despise her was of great benefit
to Madam Conway, and after a few days she resumed her usual spirits,
and actually told of the remarks made by Mrs. Douglas concerning
herself and the "fight" she had been in! As time passed on she became
reconciled to the Douglases, having, as she thought, some well-founded
reasons for believing that for Theo's disgrace Maggie would make
amends by marrying Mr. Carrollton, whose attentions each day became
more and more marked, and were not apparently altogether disagreeable
to Maggie. On the contrary, his presence at Hillsdale was productive
of much pleasure to her, as well as a little annoyance.

From the first he seemed to exercise over her an influence she could
not well resist--a power to make her do whatever he willed that she
should do; and though she sometimes rebelled she was pretty sure in
the end to yield the contest, and submit to one who was evidently
the ruling spirit. As yet nothing had been said of the hair ornament
which, out of compliment to him, her grandmother wore every morning
in her collar, but at last one day Madam Conway spoke of it herself,
asking if it were, as she had supposed, his grandmother's hair.

"Why, no," he answered involuntarily; "it is a lock Maggie sent me in
that wonderful daguerreotype!"

"The stupid thing!" thought Maggie, while her eyes fairly danced with
merriment as she anticipated the question she fancied was sure to
follow, but did not.

One glance at her tell-tale face was sufficient for Madam Conway. In
her whole household there was but one head with locks as white as
that, and whatever her thoughts might have been, she said nothing, but
from that day forth Hagar's hair was never again seen ornamenting her
person! That afternoon Mr. Carrollton and Maggie went out to ride, and
in the course of their conversation he referred to the pin, asking
whose hair it was, and seeming much amused when told that it was

"But why did you not tell her when it first came?" he said; and Maggie
answered: "Oh, it was such fun to see her sporting Hagar's hair, when
she is so proud! It didn't hurt her either, for Hagar is as good as
anybody. I don't believe in making such a difference because one
person chances to be richer than another."

"Neither do I," returned Mr. Carrollton. "I would not esteem a person
for wealth alone, but there are points of difference which should
receive consideration. For instance, this old Hagar may be well enough
in her way, but suppose she were nearly connected with you--your
grandmother, if you like--it would certainly make some difference in
your position. You would not be Maggie Miller, and I--"

"Wouldn't ride with me, I dare say," interrupted Maggie; to which he
replied, "I presume not," adding, as he saw slight indications of
pouting, "And therefore I am glad you are Maggie Miller, and not
Hagar's grandchild."

Mentally pronouncing him a "proud, hateful thing," Maggie rode on a
while in silence. But Mr. Carrollton knew well how to manage her, and
he too was silent until Maggie, who could never refrain from talking
any length of time, forgot herself and began chatting away as gayly as
before. During their excursion they came near to the gorge of Henry
Warner memory, and Maggie, who had never quite forgiven Mr. Carrollton
for criticising her horsemanship, resolved to show him what she could
do. The signal was accordingly given to Gritty, and ere her companion
was aware of her intention she was tearing over the ground at a speed
he could hardly equal. The ravine was just on the border of the wood,
and without pausing for an instant Gritty leaped across it, landing
safely on the other side, where he stopped, while half fearfully, half
exultingly, Maggie looked back to see what Mr. Carrollton would do.
At first he fancied Gritty beyond her control, and when he saw her
directly over the deep chasm he shuddered, involuntarily stretching
out his arms to save her; but the look she gave him as she turned
around convinced him that the risk she had run was done on purpose.
Still he had no intention of following her, for he feared his horse's
ability as well as his own to clear that pass.

"Why don't you jump? Are you afraid?" and Maggie's eyes looked archly
out from beneath her tasteful riding cap.

For half a moment he felt tempted to join her, but his better judgment
came to his aid, and he answered: "Yes, Maggie, I am afraid, having
never tried such an experiment. But I wish to be with you in some
way, and as I cannot come to you I ask you to come to me. You seem
accustomed to the leap!"

He did not praise her. Nay, she fancied there was more of censure
in the tones of his voice; at all events, he had asked her rather
commandingly to return, and she "wouldn't do it." For a moment she
made no reply, and he said again, "Maggie, will you come?" then half
playfully, half reproachfully, she made answer, "A gallant Englishman
indeed! willing I should risk my neck where you dare not venture
yours. No, I shan't try the leap again to-day, I don't feel like it;
but I'll cross the long bridge half a mile from here--good-by;" and
fully expecting him to meet her, she galloped off, riding ere long
quite slowly, "so he'd have a nice long time to wait for her!"

How, then, was she disappointed, when, on reaching the bridge, there
was nowhere a trace of him to be seen, neither could she hear
the sound of his horse's footsteps, though she listened long and

"He is certainly the most provoking man I ever saw!" she exclaimed,
half crying with vexation. "Henry wouldn't have served me so, and I'm
glad I was engaged to him before I saw this hateful Carrollton, for
grandma might possibly have coaxed me into marrying him, and then
wouldn't Mr. Dog and Mrs. Cat have led a stormy life! No, we
wouldn't," she continued; "I should in time get accustomed to minding
him, and then I think he'd be splendid, though no better than Henry. I
wonder if Hagar has a letter for me!" and, chirruping to Gritty, she
soon stood at the door of the cabin.

"Have you two been quarreling?" asked Hagar, noticing Maggie's flushed
cheeks. "Mr. Carrollton passed here twenty minutes or more ago,
looking mighty sober, and here you are with your face as red--What has

"Nothing," answered Maggie, a little testily, "only he's the meanest
man! Wouldn't follow me when I leaped the gorge, and I know he could
if he had tried."

"Showed his good sense," interrupted Hagar, adding that Maggie mustn't
think every man was going to risk his neck for her.

"I don't think so, of course," returned Maggie; "but he might act
better--almost commanded me to come back and join him, as though I was
a little child; but I wouldn't do it. I told him I'd go down to the
long bridge and cross, expecting, of course, he'd meet me there; and
instead of that he has gone off home. How did he know what accident
would befall me?"

"Accident!" repeated Hagar; "accident befall you, who know every crook
and turn of these woods so much better than he does!"

"Well, anyway, he might have waited for me," returned Maggie. "I don't
believe he'd care if I were to get killed. I mean to scare him and
see;" and, springing from Gritty's back, she gave a peculiar whistling
sound, at which the pony bounded away towards home, while she followed
Hagar into the cottage, where a letter from Henry awaited her.

They were to sail for Cuba on the 15th of October, and he now wrote
asking if Maggie would go without her grandmother's consent. But,
though irresolute when he before broached the subject, Maggie was
decided now. She would not run away; and so she said to Hagar, to whom
she confided the whole affair.

"I do not think it would be right to elope," she said. "In three years
more I shall be twenty-one, and free to do as I like; and if grandma
will not let me marry Henry now, he must wait. I can't run away. Rose
would not approve of it, I'm sure, and I almost know Mr. Carrollton
would not."

"I can't see how his' approving or not approving can affect you,"
said Hagar; then bending down, so that her wild eyes looked full in
Maggie's eyes, she said, "Are you beginning to like this Englishman?"

"Why, no, I guess I aint," answered Maggie, coloring slightly. "I
dislike him dreadfully, he's so proud. Why, he did the same as to say
that if I were your grandchild he would not ride with me!"

"My grandchild, Maggie Miller!--my grandchild!" shrieked Hagar. "What
put that into his head?"

Thinking her emotion caused by anger at Arthur Carrollton, Maggie
mentally chided herself for having inadvertently said what she did,
while at the same time she tried to soothe old Hagar, who rocked to
and fro, as was her custom when her "crazy spells" were on. Growing a
little more composed, she said at last, "Marry Henry Warner, by all
means, Maggie; he aint as proud as Carrollton--he would not care as
much if he knew it."

"Knew what?" asked Maggie; and, remembering herself in time, Hagar
answered adroitly: "Knew of your promise to let me live with you. You
remember it, don't you?" and she looked wistfully towards Maggie, who,
far more intent upon something else, answered: "Yes, I remember. But
hush! don't I hear horses' feet coming rapidly through the woods?"
and, running to the window, she saw Mr. Carrollton mounted upon
Gritty, and riding furiously towards the house.

"You go out, Hagar, and see if he is looking for me," whispered
Maggie, stepping back, so he could not see.

"Henry Warner must snare the bird quick, or he will lose it," muttered
Hagar, as she walked to the door, where, evidently much excited, Mr.
Carrollton asked if she knew aught of Miss Miller, and why Gritty had
come home alone. "It is such an unusual occurrence," said he, "that we
felt alarmed, and I have come in quest of her."

From her post near the window Maggie could plainly see his face, which
was very pale, and expressive of much concern, while his voice, she
fancied, trembled as he spoke her name.

"He does care," she thought; woman's pride was satisfied, and ere
Hagar could reply she ran out, saying laughingly: "And so you thought
maybe I was killed, but I'm not. I concluded to walk home and let
Gritty go on in advance. I did not mean to frighten grandma."

"She was not as much alarmed as myself," said Mr. Carrollton, the
troubled expression of his countenance changing at once. "You do not
know how anxious I was when I saw Gritty come riderless to the door,
nor yet how relieved I am in finding you thus unharmed."

Maggie knew she did not deserve this, and blushing like a guilty
child she offered no resistance when he lifted her into the saddle
gently--tenderly--as if she had indeed escaped from some great danger.

"It is time you were home," said he, and throwing the bridle across
his arm he rested his hand upon the saddle and walked slowly by her

All his fancied coldness was forgotten; neither was the leap nor yet
the bridge once mentioned, for he was only too happy in having her
back alive, while she was doubting the propriety of an experiment
which, in the turn matters had taken, seemed to involve deception.
Observing at last that he occasionally pressed his hand upon his side,
she asked the cause, and was told that he had formerly been subject to
a pain in his side, which excitement or fright greatly augmented. "I
hoped I was free from it," he said, "but the sight of Gritty dashing
up to the door without you brought on a slight attack; for I knew if
you were harmed the fault was mine for having rather unceremoniously
deserted you."

This was more than Maggie could endure in silence. The frank
ingenuousness of her nature prevailed, and turning towards him her
dark, beautiful eyes, in which tears were shining, she said: "Forgive
me, Mr. Carrollton. I sent Gritty home on purpose to see if you would
be annoyed, for I felt vexed because you would not humor my whim and
meet me at the bridge. I am sorry I caused you any uneasiness," she
continued, as she saw a shadow flit over his face. "Will you forgive

Arthur Carrollton could not resist the pleading of those lustrous
eyes, nor yet refuse to take the ungloved hand she offered him;
and if, in token of reconciliation, he did press it a little more
fervently than Henry Warner would have thought at all necessary, he
only did what, under the circumstances, it was very natural he
should do. From the first Maggie Miller had been a puzzle to Arthur
Carrollton; but he was fast learning to read her--was beginning to
understand how perfectly artless she was--and this little incident
increased, rather than diminished, his admiration.

"I will forgive you, Maggie," he said, "on one condition. You must
promise never again to experiment with my feelings in a similar

The promise was readily given, and then they proceeded on as leisurely
as if at home there was no anxious grandmother vibrating between her
high-backed chair and the piazza, nor yet an Anna Jeffrey watching
them enviously as they came slowly up the road.

That night there came to Mr. Carrollton a letter from Montreal, saying
his immediate presence was necessary there, on a business matter of
some importance; and he accordingly decided to go on the morrow.

"When may we expect you back?" asked Madam Conway, as in the morning
he was preparing for his journey.

"It will, perhaps, be two months at least, before I return," said
he, adding that there was a possibility of his being obliged to go
immediately to England.

In the recess of the window Maggie was standing, thinking how lonely
the house would be without him, and wishing there was no such thing
as parting from those she liked--even as little as she did Arthur

"I won't let him know that I care, though," she thought, and forcing a
smile to her face she was about turning to bid him good-by, when she
heard him tell her grandmother of the possibility there was that he
would be obliged to go directly to England from Montreal.

"Then I may never see him again," she thought; and the tears burst
forth involuntarily at the idea of parting with him forever.

Faster and faster they came, until at last, fearing lest he should
see them, she ran away upstairs, and, mounting to the roof, sat down
behind the chimney, where, herself unobserved, she could watch him far
up the road. From the half-closed door of her chamber Anna Jeffrey had
seen Maggie stealing up the tower stairs; had seen, too, that she
was weeping, and, suspecting the cause, she went quietly down to the
parlor to hear what Arthur Carrollton would say. The carriage was
waiting, his trunk was in its place, his hat was in his hand; to Madam
Conway he said good-by, to Anna Jeffrey too; and still he lingered,
looking wistfully round in quest of something which evidently was not

"Where's Margaret?" he asked at last, and Madam Conway answered:
"Surely, where can she be? Have you seen her, Anna?"

"I saw her on the stairs some time ago," said Anna, adding that
possibly she had gone to see Hagar, as she usually visited her at this

A shade of disappointment passed over Mr. Carrollton's face as he
replied, "Tell her I am sorry she thinks more of Hagar than of me."

The next moment he was gone, and leaning against the chimney Maggie
watched with tearful eyes the carriage as it wound up the grassy road.
On the brow of the hill, just before it would disappear from sight, it
suddenly stopped. Something was the matter with the harness, and while
John was busy adjusting it Mr. Carrollton leaned from the window, and,
looking back, started involuntarily as he caught sight of the figure
so clearly defined upon the housetop. A slight suspicion of the truth
came upon him, and kissing his hand he waved it gracefully towards
her. Maggie's handkerchief was wet with tears, but she shook it out in
the morning breeze, and sent to Arthur Carrollton, as she thought, her
last good-by.

Fearing lest her grandmother should see her swollen eyes, she stole
down the stairs, and taking her shawl and bonnet from the table in the
hall ran off into the woods, going to a pleasant, mossy bank not far
from Hagar's cottage, where she had more than once sat with Arthur
Carrollton, and where she fancied she would never sit with him again.

"I don't believe it's for him that I am crying," she thought, as she
tried in vain to stay her tears; "I always intended to hate him, and I
almost know I do; I'm only feeling badly because I won't run away, and
Henry and Rose will go without me so soon!" And fully satisfied at
having discovered the real cause of her grief, she laid her head upon
the bright autumn grass and wept bitterly, holding her breath, and
listening intently as she heard in the distance the sound of the
engine which was bearing Mr. Carrollton away.

It did not occur to her that he could not yet have reached the depot,
and as she knew nothing of a change in the time of the trains she was
taken wholly by surprise when, fifteen minutes later, a manly form
bent over her, as she lay upon the bank, and a voice, earnest and
thrilling in tones, murmured softly, "Maggie, are those tears for me?"

When about halfway to the station Mr. Carrollton had heard of the
change of time, and knowing he should not be in season had turned back
with the intention of waiting for the next train, which would pass in
a few hours. Learning that Maggie was in the woods, he had started in
quest of her, going naturally to the mossy bank, where, as we have
seen, he found her weeping on the grass. She was weeping for him--he
was sure of that. He was not indifferent to her, as he had sometimes
feared, and for an instant he felt tempted to take her in his arms and
tell her how dear she was to him.

"I will speak to her first," he thought, and so he asked if the tears
were for him.

Inexpressibly astonished and mortified at having him see her thus,
Maggie started to her feet, while angry words at being thus intruded
upon trembled on her lips. But winding his arm around her, Mr.
Carrollton drew her to his side, explaining to her in a few words how
he came to be there, and continuing: "I do not regret the delay, if by
its means I have discovered what I very much wish to know. Maggie, do
you care for me? Were you weeping because I had left you?"

He drew her very closely to him--looking anxiously into her face,
which she covered with her hands. She knew he was in earnest, and
the knowledge that he loved her thrilled her for an instant with
indescribable happiness. A moment, however, and thoughts of her
engagement with another flashed upon her. "She must not sit there thus
with Arthur Carrollton--she would be true to Henry," and with
mingled feelings of sorrow, regret, and anger--though why she should
experience either she did not then understand--she drew herself from
him; and when he said again: "Will Maggie answer? Are those tears
for me?" she replied petulantly: "No; can't a body cry without being
bothered for a reason? I came down here to be alone!"

"I did not mean to intrude, and I beg your pardon for having done
so," said Mr. Carrollton sadly, adding, as Maggie made no reply: "I
expected a different answer, Maggie. I almost hoped you liked me, and
I believe now that you do."

In Maggie's bosom there was a fierce struggle of feeling. She did like
Arthur Carrollton--and she thought she liked Henry Warner--at all
events she was engaged to him, and half angry at the former for
having disturbed her, and still more angry at herself for being thus
disturbed, she exclaimed, as he again placed his arm around her:
"Leave me alone, Mr. Carrollton. I don't like you. I don't like
anybody!" and gathering up her shawl, which lay upon the grass, she
ran away to Hagar's cabin, hoping he would follow her. But he did not.
It was his first attempt at love-making, and very much disheartened he
walked slowly back to the house; and while Maggie, from Hagar's door,
was looking to see if he were coming, he, from the parlor window, was
watching, too, for her, with a shadow on his brow and a load upon his
heart. Madam Conway knew that something was wrong, but it was in vain
that she sought an explanation. Mr. Carrollton kept his own secret;
and consoling herself with his volunteered assurance that in case
it became necessary for him to return to England he should, before
embarking, visit Hillsdale, she bade him a second adieu.

In the meantime Maggie, having given up all hopes of again seeing
Mr. Carrollton, was waiting impatiently the coming of Hagar, who was
absent, having, as Maggie readily conjectured, gone to Richland. It
was long past noon when she returned, and by that time the stains had
disappeared from Maggie's face, which looked nearly as bright as ever.
Still, it was with far less eagerness than usual that she took
from Hagar's hand the expected letter from Henry. It was a long,
affectionate epistle, urging her once more to accompany him, and
saying if she still refused she must let him know immediately, as they
were intending to start for New York in a few days.

"I can't go," said Maggie; "it would not be right." And going to the
time-worn desk, where, since her secret correspondence, she had kept
materials for writing, she wrote to Henry a letter telling him she
felt badly to disappoint him, but she deemed it much wiser to defer
their marriage until her grandmother felt differently, or at least
until she was at an age to act for herself. This being done, she went
slowly back to the house, which to her seemed desolate indeed. Her
grandmother saw readily that something was the matter, and, rightly
guessing the cause, she forebore questioning her, neither did she once
that day mention Mr. Carrollton, although Anna Jeffrey did, telling
her what he had said about her thinking more of Hagar than of himself,
and giving as her opinion that he was much displeased with Maggie for
her rudeness in running away.

"Nobody cares for his displeasure," answered Maggie, greatly vexed at
Anna, who took especial delight in annoying her.

Thus a week went by, when one evening, as Madam Conway and Maggie sat
together in the parlor, they were surprised by the sudden appearance
of Henry Warner. He had accompanied his aunt and sister to New York,
where they were to remain for a few days, and then impelled by a
strong desire to see Margaret once more he had come with the vain
hope that at the last hour she would consent to fly with him, or her
grandmother consent to give her up. All the afternoon he had been at
Hagar's cottage waiting for Maggie, and at length determining to see
her he had ventured to the house. With a scowling frown Madam Conway
looked at him through her glasses, while Maggie, half joyfully, half
fearfully, went forward to meet him. In a few words he explained why
he was there, and then again asked of Madam Conway if Margaret could

"I do not believe she cares to go," thought Madam Conway, as she
glanced at Maggie's face; but she did not say so, lest she should
awaken within the young girl a feeling of opposition.

She had watched Maggie closely, and felt sure that her affection
for Henry Warner was neither deep nor lasting. Arthur Carrollton's
presence had done much towards weakening it, and a few months more
would suffice to wear it away entirely. Still, from what had passed,
she fancied that opposition alone would only make the matter worse by
rousing Maggie at once. She knew far more of human nature than either
of the young people before her; and after a little reflection she
suggested that Henry should leave Maggie with her for a year, during
which time no communication whatever should pass between them, while
she would promise faithfully not to influence Margaret either way.

"If at the end of the year," said she, "you both retain for each other
the feelings you have now, I will no longer object to the marriage,
but will make the best of it."

At first Henry spurned the proposition, and when he saw that Margaret
thought well of it he reproached her with a want of feeling, saying
she did not love him as she had once done.

"I shall not forget you, Henry," said Maggie, coming to his side and
taking his hand in hers, "neither will you forget me; and when the
year has passed away, only think how much pleasanter it will be for us
to be married here at home, with grandma's blessing on our union!"

"If I only knew you would prove true!" said Henry, who missed
something in Maggie's manner.

"I do mean to prove true," she answered sadly, though at that moment
another face, another form, stood between her and Henry Warner, who,
knowing that Madam Conway would not suffer her to go with him on
any terms, concluded at last to make a virtue of necessity, and
accordingly expressed his willingness to wait, provided Margaret were
allowed to write occasionally either to himself or Rose.

But to this Madam Conway would not consent. She wished the test to
be perfect, she said, and unless he accepted her terms he must give
Maggie up, at once and forever.

As there seemed no alternative, Henry rather ungraciously yielded
the point, promising to leave Maggie free for a year, while she too
promised not to write either to him or to Rose, except with her
grandmother's consent. Maggie Miller's word once passed, Madam Conway
knew it would not be broken, and she unhesitatingly left the young
people together while they said their parting words. A message of love
from Maggie to Rose--a hundred protestations of eternal fidelity, and
then they parted; Henry, sad and disappointed, slowly wending his way
back to the spot where Hagar impatiently awaited his coming, while
Maggie, leaning from her chamber window, and listening to the sound of
his retreating footsteps, brushed away a tear, wondering the while why
it was that she felt so relieved.



Half in sorrow, half in joy, old Hagar listened to the story which
Henry told her, standing at her cottage door. In sorrow because she
had learned to like the young man, learned to think of him as Maggie's
husband, who would not wholly cast her oil, if her secret should
chance to be divulged; and in joy because her idol would be with her
yet a little longer.

"Maggie will be faithful quite as long as you," she said, when he
expressed his fears of her forgetfulness; and, trying to console
himself with this assurance, he sprang into the carriage in which he
had come, and was driven rapidly away.

He was too late for the night express, but taking the early morning
train he reached New York just as the sun was setting.

"Alone! my brother, alone?" queried Rose, as he entered the private
parlor of the hotel where she was staying with her aunt.

"Yes, alone; just as I expected," he answered somewhat bitterly.

Then very briefly he related to her the particulars of his adventure,
to which she listened eagerly, one moment chiding herself for the
faint, shadowy hope which whispered that possibly Maggie Miller would
never be his wife, and again sympathizing in his disappointment.

"A year will not be very long," she said, "and in the new scenes to
which you are going it will pass rapidly away;" and then, in her
childlike, guileless manner, she drew a glowing picture of the future,
when, her own health restored, they would return to their old home in
Leominster, where, after a few months more, he would bring to them his

"You are my comforting angel, Rose," he said, folding her lovingly in
his arms and kissing her smooth white cheek. "With such a treasure as
you for a sister, I ought not to repine, even though Maggie Miller
should never be mine."

The words were lightly spoken, and by him soon forgotten, but Rose
remembered them long, dwelling upon them in the wearisome nights, when
in her narrow berth she listened to the swelling sea as it dashed
against the vessel's side. Many a fond remembrance, too, she gave
to Maggie Miller, who, in her woodland home, thought often of the
travelers on the sea, never wishing that she was with them; but
experiencing always a feeling of pleasure in knowing that she was
Maggie Miller yet, and should be until next year's autumn leaves were

Of Arthur Carrollton she thought frequently, wishing she had not been
so rude that morning in the woods, and feeling vexed because in his
letters to her grandmother he merely said, "Remember me to Margaret."

"I wish he would write something besides that," she thought, "for I
remember him now altogether too much for my own good;" and then she
wondered what he would have said that morning, if she had not been so

Very little was said to her of him by Madam Conway, who, having
learned that he was not going to England, and would ere long return to
them, concluded for a time to let the matter rest, particularly as
she knew how much Maggie was already interested in one whom she had
resolved to hate. Feeling thus confident that all would yet end well,
Madam Conway was in unusually good spirits save when thoughts of Mrs.
Douglas, senior, obtruded themselves upon her. Then, indeed, in a most
unenviable state of mind, she repined at the disgrace which Theo had
brought upon them, and charged Maggie repeatedly to keep it a secret
from Mrs. Jeffrey and Anna, the first of whom made many inquiries
concerning the family, which she supposed of course was very

One day towards the last of November there came to Madam Conway a
letter from Mrs. Douglas, senior, wonderful alike in composition and
appearance. Directed wrong side up, sealed with a wafer, and stamped
with a thimble, it bore an unmistakable resemblance to its writer, who
expressed many regrets that she had not known "in the time on't" who
her illustrious visitors were.

"If I had known [she wrote] I should have sot the table in the parlor
certing, for though I'm plain and homespun I know as well as the next
one what good manners is, and do my endeavors to practice it. But do
tell a body [she continued] where you was muster day in Wooster. I
knocked and pounded enough to raise the dead, and nobody answered. I
never noticed you was deaf when you was here, though Betsy Jane thinks
she did. If you be, I'll send you up a receipt for a kind of intment
which Miss Sam Babbit invented, and which cures everything.

"Theodoshy has been to see us, and though in my way of thinkin' she
aint as handsome as Margaret, she looks as well as the ginerality of
women. I liked her, too, and as soon as the men's winter clothes is
off my hands I calkerlate to have a quiltin', and finish up another
bed quilt to send her, for, man-like, George has furnished up his
rooms with all sorts of nicknacks, and got only two blankets, and two
Marsales spreads for his bed. So I've sent 'em down the herrin'-bone
and risin'-sun quilts for everyday wear, as I don't believe in usin'
your best things all the time. My old man says I'd better let 'em
alone; but he's got some queer ideas, thinks you'll sniff your nose at
my letter, and all that, but I've more charity for folks, and well I
might have, bein' that's my name.


To this letter were appended three different postscripts. In the first
Madam Conway and Maggie were cordially invited to visit Charlton
again; in the second Betsy Jane sent her regrets; while in the third
Madam Conway was particularly requested to excuse haste and a bad pen.

"Disgusting creature!" was Madam Conway's exclamation as she finished
the letter, then tossing it into the fire without a passing thought,
she took up another one, which had come by the same mail, and was from
Theo herself.

After dwelling at length upon the numerous calls she made, the parties
she attended, the compliments she received, and her curiosity to know
why her grandmother came back that day, she spoke of her recent visit
in Charlton.

"You have been there, it seems [she wrote], so I need not
particularize, though I know how shocked and disappointed you must
have been; and I think it was kind in you to say nothing upon the
subject except that you had called there, for George reads all my
letters, and I would not have his feelings hurt. He had prepared me
in a measure for the visit, but the reality was even worse than I
anticipated. And still they are the kindest-hearted people in the
world, while Mr. Douglas is a man, they say, of excellent sense.
George never lived at home much, and their heathenish ways mortify
him, I know, though he never says a word except that they are his

"People here respect George, too, quite as much as if he were a
Conway, and I sometimes think they like him all the better for being
so kind to his old father, who comes frequently to the store. Grandma,
I begin to think differently of some things from what I did. Birth
and blood do not make much difference, in this country, at least; and
still I must acknowledge that I should feel dreadfully if I did not
love George and know that he is the kindest husband in the world."

The letter closed with a playful insinuation that as Henry Warner
had gone, Maggie might possibly marry Arthur Carrollton, and so make
amends for the disgrace which Theo had unwittingly brought upon the
Conway line.

For a long time after finishing the above, Madam Conway sat wrapped in
thought. Could it be possible that all her life she had labored under
a mistake? Were birth and family rank really of no consequence? Was
George just as worthy of respect as if he had descended directly from
the Scottish race of Douglas, instead of belonging to that vulgar
woman? "It may be so in America," she sighed, "but it is not true of
England," and, sincerely hoping that Theo's remark concerning Mr.
Carrollton might prove true, she laid aside the letter, and for the
remainder of the day busied herself with preparations for the return
of Arthur Carrollton, who had written that he should be with them on
the 1st of December.

The day came, and, unusually excited, Maggie flitted from room to
room, seeing that everything was in order, and wondering how he would
meet her and if he had forgiven her for having been so cross at their
last interview in the woods. The effect of every suitable dress in her
wardrobe was tried, and she decided at last upon a crimson and black
merino, which harmonized well with her dark eyes and hair. The dress
was singularly becoming, and feeling quite well satisfied with the
face and form reflected by her mirror she descended to the parlor,
where any doubts she might have had concerning her personal appearance
were put to flight by Anna Jeffrey, who, with a feeling of envy, asked
if she had the scarlet fever, referring to her bright color,
and saying she did not think too red a face becoming to anyone,
particularly to Margaret, to whom it gave a "blowsy" look, such as she
had more than once heard Mr. Carrollton say he did not like to see.

Margaret knew well that the dark-browed girl would give almost
anything for the roses blooming on her cheeks; so she made no reply,
but simply wished Anna would return to England, as for the last
two months she had talked of doing. It was not quite dark, and Mr.
Carrollton, if he came that night, would be with them soon. The car
whistle had sounded some time before, and Maggie's quick ear caught at
last the noise of the bells in the distance. Nearer and nearer they
came; the sleigh was at the door, and forgetting everything but her
own happiness Maggie ran out to meet their guest, nor turned her
glowing face away when he stooped down to kiss her. He had forgiven
her ill-nature, she was certain of that, and very joyfully she led the
way to the parlor, where as the full light of the lamp fell upon him
she started involuntarily, he seemed so changed.

"Are you sick?" she asked; and her voice expressed the deep anxiety
she felt.

Forcing back a slight cough, and smiling down upon her, he answered
cheerfully, "Oh, no, not sick! Canada air does not agree with me,
that's all. I took a severe cold soon after my arrival in Montreal,"
and the cough he had attempted to stifle now burst forth, sounding to
Maggie, who thought only of consumption, like an echo from the grave.

"Oh, I am so sorry!" she answered sadly, and her eyes filled with
tears, which she did not try to conceal, for looking through the
window across the snow-clad field, on which the winter moon was
shining, she saw instinctively another grave beside that of her

Madam Conway had not yet appeared, and, as Anna Jeffrey just then
left the room, Mr. Carrollton was for some moments alone with Maggie.
Winding his arm around her waist, and giving her a most expressive
look, he said, "Maggie, are those tears for me?"

Instantly the bright blushes stole over Maggie's face and neck, for
she remembered the time when once before he had asked her a similar
question. Not now, as then, did she turn away from 'him, but she
answered frankly: "Yes, they are. You look so pale and thin, I'm sure
you must be very ill."

Whether Mr. Carrollton liked "blowsy" complexions or not, he certainly
admired Maggie's at that moment, and drawing her closer to his side,
he said, half playfully, half earnestly: "To see you thus anxious for
me, Maggie, more than atones for your waywardness when last we parted.
You are forgiven, but you are unnecessarily alarmed. I shall be better
soon. Hillsdale air will do me good, and I intend remaining here until
I am well again. Will you nurse me, Maggie, just as my sister Helen
would do were she here?"

The right chord was touched, and all the soft, womanly qualities
of Maggie Miller's nature were called forth by Arthur Carrollton's
failing health. For several weeks after his arrival at Hillsdale he
was a confirmed invalid, lying all day upon the sofa in the parlor,
while Maggie read to him from books which he selected, partly for the
purpose of amusing himself, and more for the sake of benefiting her
and improving her taste for literature. At other times he would tell
her of his home beyond the sea, and Maggie, listening to him while
he described its airy halls, its noble parks, its shaded walks, and
musical fountains, would sometimes wish aloud that she might one day
see that spot which seemed to her so much like paradise. He wished
so too, and oftentimes when, with half-closed eyes, his mind was
wandering amid the scenes of his youth, he saw at his side a queenly
figure with features like those of Maggie Miller, who each day was
stealing more and more into his heart, where love for other than his
nearest friends had never before found entrance. She had many faults,
he knew, but these he possessed both the will and the power to
correct, and as day after day she sat reading at his side he watched
her bright, animated face, thinking what a splendid woman she
would make, and wondering if an American rose like her would bear
transplanting to English soil.

Very complacently Madam Conway looked on, reading aright the
admiration which Arthur Carrollton evinced for Margaret, who in turn
was far from being uninterested in him. Anna Jeffrey, too, watched
them jealously, pondering in her own mind some means by which she
could, if possible, annoy Margaret. Had she known how far matters
had gone with Henry Warner, she would unhesitatingly have told it to
Arthur Carrollton; but so quietly had the affair been managed that she
knew comparatively little. This little, however, she determined to
tell him, together with any embellishments she might see fit to use.
Accordingly, one afternoon, when he had been there two months or more,
and Maggie had gone with her grandmother to ride, she went down to the
parlor under pretense of getting a book to read. He was much better
now, but, feeling somewhat fatigued from a walk he had taken in the
yard, he was reclining upon the sofa. Leaning over the rocking-chair
which stood near by, Anna inquired for his health, and then asked how
long since he had heard from home.

He liked to talk of England, and as there was nothing to him
particularly disagreeable in Anna Jeffrey he bade her be seated. Very
willingly she complied with his request, and, after talking a while of
England, announced her intention of returning home the last of March.
"My aunt prefers remaining with Madam Conway, but I don't like
America," said she, "and I often wonder why I am here."

"I supposed you came to be with your aunt, who, I am told, has been to
you a second mother," answered Mr. Carrollton; and Anna replied: "You
are right. She could not be easy until she got me here, where I know I
am not wanted--at least not altogether."

Mr. Carrollton looked inquiringly at her, and Anna continued, "I fully
supposed I was to be a companion for Margaret; but instead of that she
treats me with the utmost coolness, making me feel keenly my position
as a dependent."

"That does not seem at all like Maggie," said Mr. Carrollton; and,
with a meaning smile far more expressive than words, Anna answered:
"She may not always be alike. But hush! don't I hear bells?" and she
ran to the window, saying as she resumed her seat: "I thought they had
come: but I was mistaken. I dare say Maggie has coaxed her grandmother
to drive by the post office, thinking there might be a letter from
Henry Warner."

Her manner affected Mr. Carrollton perceptibly, but he made no reply;
and Anna asked if he knew Mr. Warner.

"I saw him in Worcester, I believe," he said; and Anna continued, "Do
you think him a suitable husband for a girl like Maggie?"

There was a deep flush on Arthur Carrollton's cheek, and his lips were
whiter than their wont as he answered, "I know nothing of him, neither
did I suppose Miss Miller ever thought of him for a husband."

"I know she did at one time," said his tormentor, turning the leaves
of her book with well-feigned indifference. "It was not any secret, or
I should not speak of it; of course Madam Conway was greatly opposed
to it too, and forbade her writing to him; but how the matter is now I
do not positively know, though I am quite sure they are engaged."

"Isn't it very close here? Will you please to open the hall door?"
said Mr. Carrollton suddenly, panting for breath; and, satisfied with
her work, Anna did as desired and then left him alone.

"Maggie engaged!" he said; "engaged!--when I hoped to win her for
myself!" and a sharp pang shot through his heart as he thought of
giving to another the beautiful girl who had grown so into his love.
"But I am glad I learned it in time," he continued, hurriedly walking
the floor, "knew it ere I had done Henry Warner a wrong by telling her
of my love, and asking her to go with me to my English home, which
will be desolate without her. This is why she repulsed me in the
woods. She knew I ought not to speak of love to her. Why didn't I see
it before, or why has not Madam Conway told me the truth! She at
least has deceived me;" and with a feeling of keen disappointment he
continued to pace the floor, one moment resolving to leave Hillsdale
at once, and again thinking how impossible it was to tear himself

Arthur Carrollton was a perfectly honorable man, and once assured of
Maggie's engagement he would neither by word nor deed do aught to
which the most fastidious lover could object, and Henry Warner's
rights were as safe with him as with the truest of friends. But was
Maggie really engaged? Might there not be some mistake? He hoped so at
least, and alternating between hope and fear he waited impatiently the
return of Maggie, who, with each thought of losing her, seemed tenfold
dearer to him than she had ever been before; and when at last she came
bounding in, he could scarcely refrain from folding her in his arms
and asking of her to think again ere she gave another than himself the
right of calling her his bride. But she is not mine, he thought; and
so he merely took her cold hands within his own, rubbing them until
they were warm. Then seating himself by her side upon the sofa he
spoke of her ride, asking casually if she called at the post office.

"No, we did not drive that way," she answered readily, adding that the
post office had few attractions for her now, as no one wrote to her
save Theo.

She evidently spoke the truth, and with a feeling of relief Mr.
Carrollton thought that possibly Miss Jeffrey might have been
mistaken; but he would know at all hazards, even though he ran the
risk of being thought extremely rude. Accordingly, that evening, after
Mrs. Jeffrey and Anna had retired to their room, and while Madam
Conway was giving some household directions in the kitchen, he asked
her to come and sit by him as he lay upon the sofa, himself placing
her chair where the lamplight would fall full upon her face and
reveal its every expression. Closing the piano, she complied with his
request, and then waited in silence for what he wanted to say.

"Maggie," he began, "you may think me bold, but there is something I
very much wish to know, and which you, if you choose, can tell me.
From what I have heard, I am led to think you are engaged. Will you
tell me if this is true?"

The bright color faded from Maggie's cheek, while her eyes grew darker
than before, and still she did not speak. Not that she was angry with
him for asking her that question; but because the answer, which, if
made at all, must be yes, was hard to utter. And yet why should she
hesitate to tell him the truth at once?

Alas, for thee, Maggie Miller! The fancied love you feel for Henry
Warner is fading fast away. Arthur Carrollton is a dangerous rival,
and even now you cannot meet the glance of his expressive eyes without
a blush! Your better judgment acknowledged his superiority to Henry
long ago, and now in your heart there is room for none save him.

"Maggie," he said, again stretching out his hand to take the
unresisting one which lay upon her lap, "you need not make me other
answer save that so plainly written on your face. You are engaged, and
may Heaven's blessing attend both you and yours!"

At this moment Madam Conway appeared, and fearing her inability to
control her feelings longer Maggie precipitately left the room. Going
to her chamber, she burst into a passionate fit of weeping, one moment
blaming Mr. Carrollton for having learned her secret, and the next
chiding herself for wishing to withhold from him a knowledge of her

"It is not that I love Henry less, I am sure," she thought; and laying
her head upon her pillow she recalled everything which had passed
between herself and her affianced husband, trying to bring back the
olden happiness with which she had listened to his words of love. But
it would not come; there was a barrier in the way--Arthur Carrollton,
as he looked when he said so sadly, "You need not tell me, Maggie."

"Oh, I wish he had not asked me that question!" she sighed. "It has
put such dreadful thoughts into my head. And yet I love Henry as well
as ever--I know I do; I am sure of it, or if I do not, I will," and
repeating to herself again and again the words, "I will, I will," she
fell asleep.

Will, however, is not always subservient to one's wishes, and during
the first few days succeeding the incident of that night Maggie often
found herself wishing Arthur Carrollton had never come to Hillsdale,
he made her so wretched, so unhappy. Insensibly, too, she became
a very little unamiable, speaking pettishly to her grandmother,
disrespectfully to Mrs. Jeffrey, haughtily to Anna, and rarely to Mr.
Carrollton, who after the lapse of two or three weeks began to talk of
returning home in the same vessel with Anna Jeffrey, at which time his
health would be fully restored. Then, indeed, did Maggie awake to
the reality that while her hand was plighted to one, she loved
another--not as in days gone by she had loved Henry Warner, but with a
deeper, more absorbing love. With this knowledge, too, there came the
thought that Arthur Carrollton had once loved her, and but for the
engagement now so much regretted he would ere this have told her so.
But it was too late! too late! He would never feel toward her again as
he once had felt, and bitter tears she shed as she contemplated
the fast-coming future, when Arthur Carrollton would be gone, or
shudderingly thought of the time when Henry Warner would return to
claim her promise.

"I cannot, cannot marry him," she cried, "until I've torn that other
image from my heart!" and then for many days she strove to recall the
olden love in vain; for, planted on the sandy soil of childhood, as it
were, it had been outgrown, and would never again spring into life. "I
will write to him exactly how it is," she said at last; "will tell
him that the affection I felt for him could not have been what a wife
should feel for her husband. I was young, had seen nothing of the
world, knew nothing of gentlemen's society, and when he came with his
handsome face and winning ways my interest was awakened. Sympathy,
too, for his misfortune increased that interest, which grandma's
opposition tended in no wise to diminish. But it has died out, that
fancied love, and I cannot bring it back. Still, if he insists, I will
keep my word, and when he comes next autumn I will not tell him 'No.'"

Maggie was very calm when this decision was reached, and opening her
writing desk she wrote just as she said she would, begging him to
forgive her if she had done him wrong, and beseeching Rose to comfort
him as only a sister like her could do. "And remember," she wrote at
the close, "remember that sooner than see you very unhappy, I will
marry you, will try to be a faithful wife; though, Henry, I would
rather not--oh, so much rather not!"

The letter was finished, and then Maggie took it to her grandmother,
who read it eagerly, for in it she saw a fulfillment of her wishes.
Very closely had she watched both Mr. Carrollton and Maggie, readily
divining the truth that something was wrong between them. But from
past experience she deemed it wiser not to interfere directly. Mr.
Carrollton's avowed intention of returning to England, however,
startled her, and she was revolving some method of procedure when
Margaret brought to her the letter.

"I am happier than I can well express," she said, when she had
finished reading it. "Of course you have my permission to send it. But
what has changed you, Maggie? Has another taken the place of Henry

"Don't ask me, grandma," cried Maggie, covering her face with her
hands; "don't ask me, for indeed I can only tell you that I am very

A little skillful questioning on Madam Conway's part sufficed to
explain the whole--how constant association with Arthur Carrollton had
won for him a place in Maggie's heart which Henry Warner had never
filled; how the knowledge that she loved him as she could love no
other one had faintly revealed itself to her on the night when he
asked if she were engaged, and had burst upon her with overwhelming
power when she heard that he was going home.

"He will never think of me again, I know," she said; "but, with my
present feelings, I cannot marry Henry, unless he insists upon it."

"Men seldom wish to marry a woman who says she does not love them, and
Henry Warner will not prove an exception," answered Madam Conway; and,
comforted with this assurance, Maggie folded up her letter, which was
soon on its way to Cuba.

The next evening, as Madam Conway sat alone with Mr. Carrollton, she
spoke of his return to England, expressing her sorrow, and asking why
he did not remain with them longer.

"I will deal frankly with you, madam," said he, "and say that if I
followed my own inclination I should stay, for Hillsdale holds for
me an attraction which no other spot possesses. I refer to your
granddaughter, who, in the little time I have known her, has grown
very dear to me--so dear that I dare not stay longer where she is,
lest I should love her too well, and rebel against yielding her to

For a moment Madam Conway hesitated; but, thinking the case demanded
her speaking, she said: "Possibly Mr. Carrollton, I can make an
explanation which will show some points in a different light from that
in which you now see them. Margaret is engaged to Henry Warner, I will
admit; but the engagement has become irksome, and yesterday she wrote
asking a release, which he will grant, of course."

Instantly the expression of Mr. Carrollton's face was changed, and
very intently he listened while Madam Conway frankly told him the
story of Margaret's engagement up to the present time, withholding
from him nothing, not even Maggie's confession of the interest she
felt in him, an interest which had weakened her girlish attachment for
Henry Warner.

"You have made me very happy," Mr. Carrollton said to Madam Conway,
as, at a late hour, he bade her good-night--"happier than I can well
express; for without Margaret life to me would be dreary indeed."

The next morning, at the breakfast table, Anna Jeffrey, who was
in high spirits with the prospect of having Mr. Carrollton for a
fellow-traveler, spoke of their intended voyage, saying she could
hardly wait for the time to come, and asking if he were not equally
impatient to leave so horrid a country as America.

"On the contrary," he replied, "I should be sorry to leave America
just yet. I have therefore decided to remain a little longer;" and his
eyes sought the face of Maggie, who, in her joyful surprise, dropped
the knife with which she was helping herself to butter; while Anna
Jeffrey, quite as much astonished, upset her coffee, exclaiming: "Not
going home! What has changed your mind?"

Mr. Carrollton made her no direct reply, and she continued her
breakfast in no very amiable mood; while Maggie, too much overjoyed
to eat, managed ere long to find an excuse for leaving the table. Mr.
Carrollton wished to do everything honorably, and so he decided to say
nothing to Maggie of the cause of this sudden change in his plan until
Henry Warner's answer was received, as she would then feel freer to
act as she felt. His resolution, however, was more easily made than
kept, and during the succeeding weeks, by actions, if not by words,
he more than once told Maggie Miller how much she was beloved; and
Maggie, trembling with fear lest the cup of happiness just within her
grasp should be rudely dashed aside, waited impatiently for the letter
which was to set her free. But weeks went by, and Maggie's heart grew
sick with hope deferred, for there came to her no message from the
distant Cuban shore, which in another chapter we shall visit.



Brightly shone the moonlight on the sunny isle of Cuba, dancing
lightly on the wave, resting softly on the orange groves, and stealing
gently through the casement, into the room where a young girl
lay, whiter far than the flowers strewn upon her pillow. From the
commencement of the voyage Rose had drooped, growing weaker every day,
until at last all who looked upon her felt that the home of which she
talked so much would never again be gladdened by her presence. Very
tenderly Henry Warner nursed her, bearing her often in his arms up on
the vessel's deck, where she could breathe the fresh morning air as it
came rippling o'er the sea. But neither the ocean breeze, nor yet the
fragrant breath of Florida's aromatic bowers, where for a time they
stopped, had power to rouse her; and when at last Havana was reached
she laid her weary head upon her pillow, whispering to no one of the
love which was wearing her life away. With untold anguish at their
hearts, both her aunt and Henry watched her, the latter shrinking ever
from the thought of losing one who seemed a part of his very life.

"I cannot give you up, my Rose. I cannot live without you," he said,
when once she talked to him of death. "You are all the world to me;"
and, laying his head upon her pillow, he wept as men will sometimes
weep over their one great sorrow.

"Don't, Henry," she said, laying her tiny hand upon his hair. "Maggie
will comfort you when I am gone. She will talk to you of me, standing
at my grave, for, Henry, you must not leave me here alone. You must
carry me home and bury me in dear old Leominster, where my childhood
was passed, and where I learned to love you so much--oh, so much!"

There was a mournful pathos in the tone with which the last words were
uttered, but Henry Warner did not understand it, and covering the
little blue-veined hand with kisses he promised that her grave should
be made at the foot of the garden in their far-off home, where the
sunlight fell softly and the moonbeams gently shone. That evening
Henry sat alone by Rose, who had fallen into a disturbed slumber. For
a time he took no notice of the disconnected words she uttered in her
dreams, but when at last he heard the sound of his own name he drew
near, and, bending low, listened with mingled emotions of joy, sorrow,
and surprise to a secret which, waking, she would never have told
him, above all others. She loved him,--the fair girl he called his
sister,--but not as a sister loves; and now, as he stood by her, with
the knowledge thrilling every nerve, he remembered many bygone scenes,
when but for his blindness he would have seen how every pulsation of
her heart throbbed alone for him whose hand was plighted to another,
and that other no unworthy rival. Beautiful, very beautiful, was the
shadowy form which at that moment seemed standing at his side, and
his heart went out towards her as the one above all others to be his

"Had I known it sooner," he thought, "known it before I met the
peerless Maggie, I might have taken Rose to my bosom and loved her--it
may be with a deeper love than that I feel for Maggie Miller, for Rose
is everything to me. She has made and keeps me what I am, and how can
I let her die when I have the power to save her?"

There was a movement upon the pillow. Rose was waking, and as her soft
blue eyes unclosed and looked up in his face he wound his arms around
her, kissing her lips as never before he had kissed her. She was
not his sister now--the veil was torn away--a new feeling had been
awakened, and as days and weeks went by there gradually crept in
between him and Maggie Miller a new love--even a love for the
fair-haired Rose, to whom he was kinder, if possible, than he had been
before, though he seldom kissed her lips or caressed her in any way.

"It would be wrong," he said, "a wrong to myself--a wrong to her--and
a wrong to Maggie Miller, to whom my troth is plighted;" and he did
not wish it otherwise, he thought; though insensibly there came over
him a wish that Maggie herself might weary of the engagement and seek
to break it. Not that he loved her the less, he reasoned, but that he
pitied Rose the more.

In this manner time passed on, until at last there came to him
Maggie's letter, which had been a long time on the sea.

"I expected it," he thought, as he finished reading it, and though
conscious for a moment of a feeling of disappointment the letter
brought him far more pleasure than pain.

Of Arthur Carrollton no mention had been made, but he readily guessed
the truth; and thinking, "It is well," he laid the letter aside and
went back to Rose, deciding to say nothing to her then. He would wait
until his own feelings were more perfectly defined. So a week went by,
and again, as he had often done before, he sat with her alone in the
quiet night, watching her as she slept, and thinking how beautiful
she was, with her golden hair shading her childish face, her long
eyelashes resting on her cheek, and her little hands folded meekly
upon her bosom.

"She is too beautiful to die," he murmured, pressing a kiss upon her

This act awoke her, and, turning towards him she said, "Was I
dreaming, Henry, or did you kiss me as you used to do?"

"Not dreaming, Rose," he answered--then rather hurriedly he added: "I
have a letter from Maggie Miller, and ere I answer it I would read it
to you. Can you hear it now?"

"Yes, yes," she whispered faintly; "read it to me, Henry;" and,
turning her face away, she listened while he read that Maggie Miller,
grown weary of her troth, asked a release from her engagement.

He finished reading, and then waited in silence to hear what Rose
would say. But for a time she did not speak. All hope for herself had
long since died away, and now she experienced only sorrow for Henry's

"My poor brother," she said at last, turning her face towards him and
taking his hand in hers; "I am sorry for you--to lose us both, Maggie
and me. What will you do?"

"Rose," he said, bending so low that his brown locks mingled with the
yellow tresses of her hair--"Rose, I do not regret Maggie Miller's
decision, neither do I blame her for it. She is a noble, true-hearted
girl, and so long as I live I shall esteem her highly; but I too have
changed--have learned to love another. Will you sanction this new
love, dear Rose? Will you say that it is right?"

The white lids closed over the eyes of blue, but they could not keep
back the tears which rolled down her face, as she asked somewhat
sadly, "Who is it, Henry?"

There was another moment of silence, and then he whispered in her ear:
"People call her Rose; I once called her sister; but my heart now
claims her for something nearer. My Rose," he continued, "shall it be?
Will you live for my sake? Will you be my wife?"

The shock was too sudden--too great; and neither on that night, nor
yet the succeeding day, had Rose the power to answer. But as the dew
of heaven is to the parched and dying flower, so were these words of
love to her, imparting at once new life and strength, making her as it
were another creature. The question asked that night so unexpectedly
was answered at last; and then with almost perfect happiness at her
heart, she too added a few lines to the letter which Henry sent to
Maggie Miller, over whose pathway, hitherto so bright, a fearful
shadow was falling.



It was a rainy April day--a day which precluded all outdoor exercise,
and Hagar Warren, from the window of her lonely cabin, watched in vain
for the coming of Maggie Miller. It was now more than a week since she
had been there, for both Arthur Carrollton and herself had accompanied
the disappointed Anna Jeffrey to New York, going with her on board
the vessel which was to take her from a country she affected so to

"I dare say you'll be Maggie somebody else ere I meet you again," she
said to Maggie, at parting, and Mr. Carrollton, on the journey home,
found it hard to keep from asking her if for the "somebody else" she
would substitute his name, and so be "Maggie Carrollton."

This, however, he did not do; but his attentions were so marked, and
his manner towards her so affectionate, that ere Hillsdale was reached
there was in Maggie's mind no longer a doubt as to the nature of his
feelings toward her. Arrived at home, he kept her constantly at
his side, while Hagar, who was suffering from a slight attack of
rheumatism, and could not go up to the stone house, waited and
watched, thinking herself almost willing to be teased for the secret,
if she could once more hear the sound of Maggie's voice. The secret,
however, had been forgotten in the exciting scenes through which
Maggie had passed since first she learned of its existence; and it was
now a long time since she had mentioned it to Hagar, who each day grew
more and more determined never to reveal it.

"My life is almost ended," she thought, "and the secret shall go with
me to my grave. Margaret will be happier without it, and it shall not
be revealed."

Thus she reasoned on that rainy afternoon, when she sat waiting for
Maggie, who, she heard, had returned the day before. Slowly the hours
dragged on, and the night shadows fell at last upon the forest
trees, creeping into the corners of Hagar's room, resting upon the
hearthstone, falling upon the window pane, creeping up the wall, and
affecting Hagar with a nameless fear of some impending evil. This fear
not even the flickering flame of the lamp, which she lighted at last
and placed upon the mantel, was able to dispel, for the shadows grew
darker, folding themselves around her heart, until she covered her
eyes with her hands, lest some goblin shape should spring into life
before her.

The sound of the gate latch was heard, and footsteps were approaching
the door--not the bounding step of Maggie, but a tramping tread,
followed by a heavy knock, and next moment a tall, heavy-built man
appeared before her, asking shelter for the night. The pack he carried
showed him at once to be a peddler, and upon a nearer view Hagar
recognized in him a stranger who, years before, had craved her
hospitality. He had been civil to her then; she did not fear him now,
and she consented to his remaining, thinking his presence there might
dispel the mysterious terror hanging around her. But few words passed
between them that night, for Martin, as he called himself, was tired,
and after partaking of the supper that she prepared he retired to
rest. The next morning, however, he was more talkative, kindly
enlightening her with regard to his business, his family, and his
place of residence, which last he said was in Meriden, Conn.

It was a long time since Hagar had heard that name, and now, turning
quickly towards him, she said, "Meriden? That is where my Hester
lived, and where her husband died."

"I want to know!" returned the Yankee peddler. "What might have been
his name?"

"Hamilton--Nathan Hamilton. Did you know him? He died nineteen years
ago this coming summer."

"Egzactly!" ejaculated the peddler, setting down his pack and himself
taking a chair, preparatory to a long talk. "Egzactly; I knowed him
like a book. Old Squire Hampleton, the biggest man in Meriden, and you
don't say his last wife, that tall, handsome gal, was your darter?"

"Yes, she was my daughter," answered Hagar, her whole face glowing
with the interest she felt in talking for the first time in her life
with one who had known her daughter's husband, Maggie's father. "You
knew her. You have seen her?" she continued; and Martin answered,
"Seen her a hundred times, I'll bet. Anyhow, I sold her the weddin'
gown; and now, I think on't, she favored you. She was a likely person,
and I allus thought that proud sister of his'n, the Widder Warner,
might have been in better business than takin' them children away as
she did, because he married his hired gal. But it's as well for them,
I s'pose, particularly for the boy, who is one of the fust young men
in Wooster now. Keeps a big store!"

"Warner, Warner!" interrupted old Hagar, the nameless terror of the
night before creeping again into her heart. "Whose name did you say
was Warner?"

"The hull on 'em, boy, girl, and all, is called Warner now--one Rose,
and t'other Henry," answered the peddler, perfectly delighted with the
interest manifested by his auditor, who, grasping at the bedpost and
moving her hand rapidly before her eyes, as if to clear away a mist
which had settled there, continued, "I remember now, Hester told me of
the children; but one, she said, was a stepchild--that was the boy,
wasn't it?" and her wild, black eyes had in them a look of unutterable
anxiety, wholly incomprehensible to the peddler, who, instead of
answering her question said: "What ails you woman? Your face is as
white as a piece of paper?"

"Thinking of Hester always affects me so," she answered; and
stretching her hands beseechingly towards him, she entreated him to
say if Henry were not the stepchild.

"No marm, he warn't," answered the peddler, who, like a great many
talkative people, pretended to know more than he really did, and who
in this particular instance was certainly mistaken. "I can tell you
egzactly how that is: Henry was the son of Mr. Hampleton's first
marriage--Henry Hampleton. The second wife, the one your darter lived
with, was the Widder Warner, and had a little gal, Rose, when she
married Mr. Hampleton. This Widder Warner's husband's brother married
Mr. Hampleton's sister, the woman who took the children, and had Henry
change his name to Warner. The Hampletons and Warners were mighty
big-feelin' folks, and the old squire's match mortified 'em

"Where are they now?" gasped Hagar, hoping there might be some

"There you've got me!" answered Martin. "I haven't seen 'em this
dozen year; but the last I heard, Miss Warner and Rose was livin' in
Leominster, and Henry was in a big store in Wooster. But what the
plague is the matter?" he continued, alarmed at the expression of
Hagar's face, as well as at the strangeness of her manner.

Wringing her hands as if she would wrench her fingers from their
sockets, she clutched at her long white hair, and, rocking to and fro,
moaned, "Woe is me, and woe the day when I was born!"

From everyone save her grandmother Margaret had kept the knowledge of
her changed feelings towards Henry Warner; and looking upon a marriage
between the two as an event surely to be expected, old Hagar was
overwhelmed with grief and fear. Falling at last upon her knees, she
cried: "Had you cut my throat from ear to ear, old man, you could not
have hurt me more! Oh, that I had died years and years ago! But I must
live now--live!" she screamed, springing to her feet--"live to prevent
the wrong my own wickedness has caused!"

Perfectly astonished at what he saw and heard, the peddler attempted
to question her, but failing to obtain any satisfactory answers he
finally left, mentally pronouncing her "as crazy as a loon." This
opinion was confirmed by the people on whom he next called, for,
chancing to speak of Hagar, he was told that nothing which she did or
said was considered strange, as she had been called insane for years.
This satisfied Martin, who made no further mention of her, and
thus the scandal which his story might otherwise have produced was

In the meantime on her face lay old Hagar, moaning bitterly. "My sin
has found me out; and just when I thought it never need be known! For
myself I do not care; but Maggie, Maggie--how can I tell her that she
is bone of my bone, blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh--and me old
Hagar Warren!"

It would be impossible to describe the scorn and intense loathing
concentrated in the tones of Hagar's voice as she uttered these last
words, "and me old Hagar Warren!" Had she indeed been the veriest
wretch on earth, she could not have hated herself more than she did in
that hour of her humiliation, when, with a loud voice, she cried, "Let
me die, oh, let me die, and it will never be known!" Then, as she
reflected upon the terrible consequence which would ensue were she to
die and make no sign, she wrung her hands despairingly, crying: "Life,
life--yes, give me life to tell her of my guilt; and then it will be
a blessed rest to die. Oh, Margaret, my precious child, I'd give my
heart's blood, drop by drop, to save you; but it can't be; you must
not wed your father's son; oh, Maggie, Maggie, Maggie!"

Fainter and fainter grew each succeeding word, and when the last was
spoken she fell again upon her face, unconscious and forgetful of her
woe. Higher and higher in the heavens rose the morning sun, stealing
across the window sill, and shining aslant the floor, where Hagar
still lay in a deep, deathlike swoon. An hour passed on, and then the
wretched woman came slowly back to life, her eyes lighting up with
joy, as she whispered, "It was a dream, thank Heaven, 'twas a dream!"
and then growing dim with tears, as the dread reality came over her.
The first fearful burst of grief was passed, for Hagar now could weep,
and tears did her good, quelling the feverish agony at her heart. Not
for herself did she suffer so much as for Maggie, trembling for the
effect the telling of the secret would have on her. For it must be
told. She knew that full well, and as the sun fast neared the western
horizon, she murmured, "Oh, will she come to-night, will she come

Yes, Hagar, she will. Even now her feet, which, when they backward
turn, will tread less joyously, are threading the woodland path. The
halfway rock is reached--nearer and nearer she comes--her shadow
falls across the floor--her hand is on your arm--her voice in your
ear--Maggie Miller is at your side--Heaven help you both!



"Hagar! Hagar!" exclaimed Maggie, playfully bounding to her side, and
laying her hand upon her arm. "What aileth thee, Hagar?"

The words were meet, for never Hagar in the desert, thirsting for the
gushing fountain, suffered more than did she who sat with covered face
and made no word of answer. Maggie was unusually happy that day, for
but a few hours before she had received Henry's letter making her
free--free to love Arthur Carrollton, who she well knew only waited a
favorable opportunity to tell her of his love; so with a heart full of
happiness she had stolen away to visit Hagar, reproaching herself as
she came for having neglected her so long. "But I'll make amends by
telling her what I'm sure she must have guessed," she thought, as she
entered the cottage, where, to her surprise, she found her weeping.
Thinking the old woman's distress might possibly be occasioned by her
neglect, she spoke again. "Are you crying for me, Hagar?"

"Yes, Maggie Miller, for you--for you!" answered Hagar, lifting up a
face so ghastly white that Maggie started back in some alarm.

"Poor Hagar, you are ill," she said, and advancing nearer she wound
her arms around the trembling form, and, pillowing the snowy head upon
her bosom, continued soothingly: "I did not mean to stay away long. I
will not do it again, but I am so happy, Hagar, so happy that I half
forgot myself."

For a moment Hagar let her head repose upon the bosom of her child,
then murmuring softly, "It will never lie there again," she arose,
and, confronting Maggie, said, "Is it love which makes you so happy?"

"Yes, Hagar, love," answered Margaret, the deep blushes stealing over
her glowing face.

"And is it your intention to marry the man you love?" continued Hagar,
thinking only of Henry Warner, while Margaret, thinking only of Arthur
Carrollton, replied, "If he will marry me, I shall most surely marry

"It is enough. I must tell her," whispered Hagar; while Maggie asked,
"Tell me what?"

For a moment the wild eyes fastened themselves upon her with a look
of yearning anguish, and then Hagar answered slowly, "Tell you what
you've often wished to know--my secret!" the last word dropping from
her lips more like a warning hiss than like a human sound. It was long
since Maggie had teased for the secret, so absorbed had she been in
other matters, but now that there was a prospect of knowing it
her curiosity was reawakened, and while her eyes glistened with
expectation, she said, "Yes, tell it to me, Hagar, and then I'll tell
you mine;" and all over her beautiful face there shone a joyous
light as she thought how Hagar, who had once pronounced Henry Warner
unworthy, would rejoice in her new love.

"Not here, Maggie--not here in this room can I tell you," said old
Hagar; "but out in the open air, where my breath will come more
freely;" and, leading the way, she hobbled to the mossy bank where
Maggie had sat with Arthur Carrollton on the morning of his departure
for Montreal.

Here she sat down, while Maggie threw herself upon the damp ground at
her feet, her face lighted with eager curiosity and her lustrous eyes
bright as stars with excitement. For a moment Hagar bent forward, and,
folding her hands one above the other, laid them upon the head of the
young girl as if to gather strength for what she was to say. But all
in vain; for when she essayed to speak her tongue clave to the roof of
her mouth, and her lips gave forth unmeaning sounds.

"It must be something terrible to affect her so," thought Maggie, and,
taking the bony hands between her own, she said, "I would not tell it,
Hagar; I do not wish to hear."

The voice aroused the half-fainting woman, and, withdrawing her hand
from Maggie's grasp, she replied, "Turn away your face, Margaret
Miller, so I cannot see the hatred settling over it, when I tell you
what I must."

"Certainly; my back if you prefer it," answered Maggie, half
playfully; and turning round she leaned her head against the feeble
knees of Hagar.

"Maggie, Maggie," began the poor old woman, lingering long and
lovingly over that dear name, "nineteen years ago, next December, I
took upon my soul the secret sin which has worn my life away, but I
did it for the love I had for you. Oh, Margaret, believe it, for the
love I had for you, more than for my own ambition;" and the long
fingers slid nervously over the bands of shining hair just within her

At the touch of those fingers, Maggie shuddered involuntarily. There
was a vague, undefined terror stealing over her, and, impatient to
know the worst, she said, "Go on, tell me what you did."

"I can't--I can't--and yet I must!" cried Hagar. "You were a beautiful
baby, Maggie, and the other one was sickly, pinched, and blue. I
had you both in my room the night after Hester died; and the
devil--Maggie, do you know how the devil will creep into the heart,
and whisper, whisper till the brain is all on fire? This thing he did
to me, Maggie, nineteen years ago, he whispered--whispered dreadful
things, and his whisperings were of you!"

"Horrible, Hagar!" exclaimed Maggie. "Leave the devil, and tell me of

"That's it," answered Hagar. "If I had but left him then, this hour
would never have come to me; but I listened, and when he told me that
a handsome, healthy child would be more acceptable to the Conways than
a weakly, fretful one--when he said that Hagar Warren's grandchild had
far better be a lady than a drudge--that no one would ever know it,
for none had noticed either--I did it, Maggie Miller; I took you from
the pine-board cradle where you lay--I dressed you in the other baby's
clothes--I laid you on her pillow--I wrapped her in your coarse white
frock--I said that she was mine, and Margaret--oh, Heaven! can't you
see it? Don't you know that I, the shriveled, skinny hag who tells you
this, am your own grandmother!"

There was no need for Maggie Miller to answer that appeal. The words
had burned into her soul--scorching her very life-blood, and maddening
her brain. It was a fearful blow--crushing her at once. She saw it
all, understood it all, and knew there was no hope. The family pride
at which she had often laughed was strong within her, and could not at
once be rooted out. All the fond household memories, though desecrated
and trampled down, were not so soon to be forgotten. She could not own
that half-crazed woman for her grandmother! As Hagar talked Maggie had
risen, and now, tall, and erect as the mountain ash which grew on her
native hills, she stood before Hagar, every vestige of color faded
from her face, her eyes dark as midnight and glowing like coals of
living fire, while her hands, locked despairingly together, moved
slowly towards Hagar, as if to thrust her aside.

"Oh, speak again!" she said, "but not the dreadful words you said to
me just now. Tell me they are false--say that my father perished in
the storm, that my mother was she who held me on her bosom when she
died--that I--oh, Hagar, I am not--I will not be the creature you say
I am! Speak to me," she continued; "tell me; is it true?" and in her
voice there was not the olden sound.

Hoarse--hollow--full of reproachful anguish it seemed; and, bowing her
head in very shame, old Hagar made her answer: "Would to Heaven 'twere
not true--but it is--it is! Kill me, Maggie," she continued, "strike
me dead, if you will, but take your eyes away! You must not look thus
at me, a heartbroken wretch."

But not of Hagar Warren was Maggie thinking then. The past, the
present, and the future were all embodied in her thoughts. She had
been an intruder all her life; had ruled with a high hand people on
whom she had no claim, and who, had they known her parentage, would
have spurned her from them. Theo, whom she had held in her arms so
oft, calling her sister and loving her as such, was hers no longer;
nor yet the fond woman who had cherished her so tenderly--neither was
hers; and in fancy she saw the look of scorn upon that woman's face
when she should hear the tale, for it must be told--and she must tell
it, too. She would not be an impostor; and then there flashed upon her
the agonizing thought, before which all else seemed as naught--in the
proud heart of Arthur Carrollton was there a place for Hagar Warren's
grandchild? "No, no, no!" she moaned; and the next moment she lay at
Hagar's feet, white, rigid, and insensible.

"She's dead!" cried Hagar; and for one brief instant she hoped that it
was so.

But not then and there was Margaret to die; and slowly she came back
to life, shrinking from the touch of Hagar's hand when she felt it on
her brow.

"There may be some mistake," she whispered; but Hagar answered, "There
is none"; at the same time relating so minutely the particulars of the
deception that Maggie was convinced, and, covering her face with her
hands, sobbed aloud, while Hagar, sitting by in silence, was nerving
herself to tell the rest.

The sun had set, and the twilight shadows were stealing down upon
them, when, creeping abjectly upon her knees towards the wretched
girl, she said, "There is more, Maggie, more--I have not told you

But Maggie had heard enough, and, exerting all her strength, she
sprang to her feet, while Hagar clutched eagerly at her dress, which
was wrested from her grasp, as Maggie fled away--away--she knew not,
cared not, whither, so that she were beyond the reach of the trembling
voice which called after her to return. Alone in the deep woods, with
the darkness falling around her, she gave way to the mighty sorrow
which had come so suddenly upon her. She could not doubt what she had
heard. She knew that it was true, and as proof after proof crowded
upon her, until the chain of evidence was complete, she laid her head
upon the rain-wet grass, and shudderingly stopped her ears, to shut
out, if possible, the memory of the dreadful words, "I, the shriveled,
skinny hag who tells you this, am your own grandmother." For a long
time she lay there thus, weeping till the fountain of her tears seemed
dry; then, weary, faint, and sick, she started for her home. Opening
cautiously the outer door, she was gliding up the stairs when Madam
Conway, entering the hall with a lamp, discovered her, and uttered
an exclamation of surprise at the strangeness of her appearance. Her
dress, bedraggled and wet, was torn in several places by the briery
bushes she had passed; her hair, loosened from its confinement, hung
down her back, while her face was so white and ghastly that Madam
Conway in much alarm followed her up the stairs, asking what had

"Something dreadful came to me in the woods," said Maggie; "but I
can't tell you to-night. To-morrow I shall be better--or dead--oh, I
wish I could be dead--before you hate me so, dear grand--No, I didn't
mean that--you aint; forgive me, do;" and sinking to the floor she
kissed the very hem of Madam Conway's dress.

Unable to understand what she meant, Madam Conway divested her of her
damp clothing, and, placing her in bed, sat down beside her, saying
gently, "Can you tell me now what frightened you?"

A faint cry was Maggie's only answer, and taking the lady's hand
she laid it upon her forehead, where the drops of perspiration were
standing thickly. All night long Madam Conway sat by her, going once
to communicate with Arthur Carrollton, who, anxious and alarmed, came
often to the door, asking if she slept. She did sleep at last--a
fitful feverish sleep; but ever at the sound of Mr. Carrollton's voice
a spasm of pain distorted her features, and a low moan came from her
lips. Maggie had been terribly excited, and when next morning she
awoke she was parched with burning fever, while her mind at intervals
seemed wandering; and ere two days passed she was raving with
delirium, brought on, the physician said, by some sudden shock, the
nature of which no one could even guess.

For three weeks she hovered between life and death, whispering oft
of the horrid shape which had met her in the woods, robbing her of
happiness and life. Winding her feeble arms around Madam Conway's
neck, she would beg of her most piteously not to cast her off--not to
send her away from the only home she had ever known--"For I couldn't
help it," she would say. "I didn't know it, and I've loved you all so
much--so much! Say, grandma, may I call you grandma all the same? Will
you love poor Maggie a little?" and Madam Conway, listening to words
whose meaning she could not fathom, would answer by laying the aching
head upon her bosom, and trying to soothe the excited girl. Theo, too,
was summoned home, but at her Maggie at first refused to look, and,
covering her eyes with her hand, she whispered scornfully, "Pinched,
and blue, and pale; that's the very look. I couldn't see it when I
called you sister."

Then her mood would change, and motioning Theo to her side she would
say to her, "Kiss me once, Theo, just as you used to do when I was
Maggie Miller."

Towards Arthur Carrollton she from the first manifested fear,
shuddering whenever he approached her, and still exhibiting signs of
uneasiness if he left her sight. "He hates me," she said, "hates me
for what I could not help;" and when, as he often did, he came to her
bedside, speaking words of love, she would answer mournfully: "Don't,
Mr. Carrollton; your pride is stronger than your love. You will hate
me when you know all."

Thus two weeks went by, and then with the first May day reason
returned again, bringing life and strength to the invalid, and joy to
those who had so anxiously watched over her. Almost her first rational
question was for Hagar, asking if she had been there.

"She is confined to her bed with inflammatory rheumatism," answered
Madam Conway; "but she inquires for you every day, they say; and once
when told you could not live she started to crawl on her hands and
knees to see you, but fainted near the gate, and was carried back."

"Poor old woman!" murmured Maggie, the tears rolling down her cheeks,
as she thought how strong must be the love that half-crazed creature
bore her, and how little it was returned, for every feeling of her
nature revolted from claiming a near relationship with one whom she
had hitherto regarded as a servant. The secret, too, seemed harder to
divulge, and day by day she put it off, saying to them when they asked
what had so much affected her that she could not tell them yet--she
must wait till she was stronger.

So Theo went back to Worcester as mystified as ever, and Maggie was
left much alone with Arthur Carrollton, who strove in various ways to
win her from the melancholy into which she had fallen. All day long
she would sit by the open window, seemingly immovable, her large eyes,
now intensely black, fixed upon vacancy, and her white face giving no
sign of the fierce struggle within, save when Madam Conway, coming to
her side, would lay her hand caressingly on her in token of sympathy.
Then, indeed, her lips would quiver, and turning her head away, she
would say, "Don't touch me--don't!"

To Arthur Carrollton she would listen with apparent composure, though
often as he talked her long, tapering nails left their impress in her
flesh, so hard she strove to seem indifferent. Once when they were
left together alone he drew her to his side, and bending very low,
so that his lips almost touched her marble cheek, he told her of his
love, and how full of anguish had been his heart when he thought that
she would die.

"But God kindly gave you back to me," he said; "and now, my precious
Margaret, will you be my wife? Will you go with me to my English home,
from which I have tarried now too long because I would not leave you?
Will Maggie answer me?" and he folded her lovingly in his arms.

Oh, how could she tell him No, when every fiber of her heart thrilled
with the answer Yes. She mistook him--mistook the character of Arthur
Carrollton, for, though pride was strong within him, he loved the
beautiful girl who lay trembling in his arms better than he loved his
pride; and had she told him then who and what she was, he would
not have deemed it a disgrace to love a child of Hagar Warren. But
Margaret did not know him, and when he said again, "Will Maggie answer
me?" there came from her lips a piteous, wailing cry, and turning her
face away she answered mournfully: "No, Mr. Carrollton, no, I cannot
be your wife. It breaks my heart to tell you so; but if you knew what
I know, you would never have spoken to me words of love. You would
have rather thrust me from you, for indeed I am unworthy."

"Don't you love me, Maggie?" Mr. Carrollton said, and in the tones of
his voice there was so much tenderness that Maggie burst into tears,
and, involuntarily resting her head upon his bosom, answered sadly: "I
love you so much, Arthur Carrollton, that I would die a hundred deaths
could that make me worthy of you, as not long ago I thought I was. But
it cannot be. Something terrible has come between us."

"Tell me what it is. Let me share your sorrow," he said; but Maggie
only answered: "Not yet, not yet! Let me live where you are a little
longer. Then I will tell you all, and go away forever."

This was all the satisfaction he could obtain; but after a time she
promised that if he would not mention the subject to her until the
first of June, she would then tell him everything; and satisfied
with a promise which he knew would be kept, Mr. Carrollton waited
impatiently for the appointed time, while Maggie, too, counted each
sun as it rose and set, bringing nearer and nearer a trial she so much



Two days only remained ere the first of June, and in the solitude of
her chamber Maggie was weeping bitterly. "How can I tell them who I
am?" she thought. "How bear their pitying scorn, when they learn that
she whom they call Maggie Miller has no right to that name?--that
Hagar Warren's blood is flowing in her veins?--and Madam Conway thinks
so much of that! Oh, why was Hagar left to do me this great wrong? why
did she take me from the pine-board cradle where she says I lay, and
make me what I was not born to be?" and, falling on her knees, the
wretched girl prayed that it might prove a dream from which she would
ere long awake.

Alas for thee, poor Maggie Miller! It is not a dream, but a stern
reality; and you who oft have spurned at birth and family, why
murmur now when both are taken from you? Are you not still the
same,--beautiful,--accomplished, and refined,--and can you ask for
more? Strange that theory and practice so seldom should accord. And
yet it was not the degradation which Maggie felt so keenly, it was
rather the loss of love she feared; without that the blood of royalty
could not avail to make her happy.

Maggie was a warm-hearted girl, and she loved the stately lady she had
been wont to call her grandmother with a filial, clinging love which
could not be severed, and still this love was naught compared to what
she felt for Arthur Carrollton, and the giving up of him was the
hardest part of all. But it must be done, she thought; he had told her
once that were she Hagar Warren's grandchild he should not be riding
with her--how much less, then, would he make that child his wife! and
rather than meet the look of proud disdain on his face when first she
stood confessed before him, she resolved to go away where no one had
ever heard of her or Hagar Warren. She would leave behind a letter
telling why she went, and commending to Madam Conway's care poor
Hagar, who had been sorely punished for her sin. "But whither shall I
go, and what shall I do when I get there?" she cried, trembling at
the thoughts of a world of which she knew so little. Then, as she
remembered how many young girls of her age went out as teachers, she
determined to go at all events. "It will be better than staying here
where I have no claim," she thought; and, nerving herself for the
task, she sat down to write the letter which, on the first of June,
should tell to Madam Conway and Arthur Carrollton the story of her

It was a harder task than she supposed, the writing that farewell, for
it seemed like severing every hallowed tie. Three times she wrote "My
dear grandma," then with a throb of anguish she dashed her pen across
the revered name, and wrote simply "Madam Conway." It was a rambling,
impassioned letter, full of tender love--of hope destroyed--of deep
despair--and though it shadowed forth no expectation that Madam Conway
or Mr. Carrollton would ever take her to their hearts again, it begged
of them most touchingly to think sometimes of "Maggie" when she was
gone forever. Hagar was then commended to Madam Conway's forgiveness
and care. "She is old," wrote Maggie, "her life is nearly ended, and
if you have in your heart one feeling of pity for her who used to call
you grandma, bestow it, I pray you, on poor old Hagar Warren."

The letter was finished, and then suddenly remembering Hagar's words,
that "all had not been told," and feeling it her duty to see once more
the woman who had brought her so much sorrow, Maggie stole cautiously
from the house, and was soon walking down the woodland road, slowly,
sadly, for the world had changed to her since last she trod that path.
Maggie, too, was changed, and when at last she stood before Hagar, who
was now able to sit up, the latter could scarcely recognize in the
pale, haggard woman the blooming, merry-hearted girl once known as
Maggie Miller.

"Margaret!" she cried, "you have come again--come to forgive your poor
old grand--No, no," she added, as she saw the look of pain flash over
Maggie's face, "I'll never insult you with that name. Only say that
you forgive me, will you, Miss Margaret?" and the trembling voice was
choked with sobs, while the aged form shook as with a palsied stroke.

Hagar had been ill. Exposure to the damp air on that memorable night
had brought on a second severe attack of rheumatism, which had bent
her nearly double. Anxiety for Margaret, too, had wasted her to a
skeleton, and her thin, sharp face, now of a corpse-like pallor,
contrasted strangely with her eyes, from which the wildness all was
gone. Touched with pity, Maggie drew a chair to her side, and thus
replied: "I do forgive you, Hagar, for I know that what you did was
done in love; but by telling me what you have you've ruined all my
hopes of happiness. In the new scenes to which I go, and the new
associations I shall form, I may become contented with my lot, but
never can I forget that I once was Maggie Miller."

"Magaret," gasped Hagar, and in her dim eye there was something of its
olden fire, "if by new associations you mean Henry Warner, it must not
be. Alas, that I should tell this! but Henry is your brother--your
father's only son. Oh, horror! horror!" and dreading what Margaret
would say, she covered her face with her cramped, distorted hands.

But Margaret was not so much affected as Hagar had anticipated. She
had suffered severely, and could not now be greatly moved. There was
an involuntary shudder as she thought of her escape, and then her next
feeling was one of satisfaction in knowing that she was not quite
friendless and alone, for Henry would protect her, and Rose, indeed,
would be to her a sister.

"Henry Warner my brother!" she exclaimed; "how came you by this
knowledge?" And very briefly Hagar explained to her what she knew,
saying that Hester had told her of two young children, but she had
forgotten entirely of their existence, and now that she was reminded
of it she could not help fancying that Hester said the stepchild was a
boy. But the peddler knew, of course, and she must have forgotten.

"When the baby they thought was you died," said Hagar, "I wrote to the
minister in Meriden, telling him of it, but I did not sign my name,
and I thought that was the last I should ever hear of it. Why don't
you curse me?" she continued. "Haven't I taken from you your intended
husband, as well as your name?"

Maggie understood perfectly now why the secret had been revealed, and
involuntarily she exclaimed, "Oh, had I told you first, this never
need have been!" and then hurriedly she explained to the repentant
Hagar how at the very moment when the dread confession was made she,
Maggie Miller, was free from Henry Warner.

From the window Maggie saw in the distance the servant who had charge
of Hagar, and, dreading the presence of a third person, she arose to
go. Offering her hand to Hagar, she said: "Good-by. I may never see
you again, but if I do not, remember that I forgive you freely."

"You are not going away, Maggie. Oh, are you going away!" and the
crippled arms were stretched imploringly towards Maggie, who answered:
"Yes, Hagar, I must go. Honor requires me to tell Madam Conway who
I am, and after that you know that I can not stay. I shall go to my

Three times old Hagar essayed to speak, and at last between a whisper
and a moan, she found strength to say: "Will you kiss me once, Maggie
darling? 'Twill be something to remember, in the lonesome nights when
I am all alone. Just once, Maggie! Will you?"

Maggie could not refuse, and gliding to the bowed woman's side she put
back the soft hair from off the wrinkled brow, and left there token of
her forgiveness.

       *       *       *       *       *

The last May sun had set, and ere the first June morning rose Maggie
Miller would be nowhere found in the home her presence had made so
bright. Alone, with no eye upon her save that of the Most High, she
had visited the two graves, and, while her heart was bleeding at every
pore, had wept her last adieu over the sleeping dust so long held
sacred as her mother's. Then kneeling at the other grave, she
murmured, "Forgive me, Hester Hamilton, if in this parting hour my
heart clings most to her whose memory I was first taught to revere;
and if in the better world you know and love each other--oh, will both
bless and pity me, poor, wretched Maggie Miller!"

Softly the night air moved through the pine that overshadowed the
humble grave, while the moonlight, flashing from the tall marble,
which stood a sentinel over the other mound, bathed Maggie's upturned
face as with a flood of glory, and her throbbing heart grew still as
if indeed at that hushed moment the two mothers had come to bless
their child. The parting with the dead was over, and Margaret sat
again in her room, waiting until all was still about the old stone
house. She did not add to her letter another line telling of her
discovery, for she did not think of it; her mind was too intent upon
escaping unobserved; and when sure the family had retired she moved
cautiously down the stairs, noiselessly unlocked the door, and without
once daring to look back, lest she should waver in her purpose, she
went forth, heartbroken and alone, from what for eighteen happy years
had been her home. Very rapidly she proceeded, coming at last to an
open field through which the railroad ran, the depot being nearly a
quarter of a mile away. Not until then had she reflected that her
appearance at the station at that hour of the night would excite
suspicion, and she was beginning to feel uneasy, when suddenly around
a curve the cars appeared in view. Fearing lest she should be too
late, she quickened her footsteps, when to her great surprise she
saw that the train was stopping! But not for her they waited; in the
bright moonlight the engineer had discovered a body lying across
the track, and had stopped in time to save the life of a man, who,
stupefied with drunkenness, had fallen asleep. The movement startled
the passengers, many of whom alighted and gathered around the

In the meantime Margaret had come near, and, knowing she could not
now reach the depot in time, she mingled unobserved in the crowd, and
entering the rear car, took her seat near the door. The train at last
moved on, and as at the station no one save the agent was in waiting,
it is not strange that the conductor passed unheeded the veiled figure
which in the dark corner sat ready to pay her fare.

"He will come to me by and by," thought Maggie, but he did not, and
when Worcester was reached the fare was still uncollected. Bewildered
and uncertain what to do next, she stepped upon the platform, deciding
finally to remain at the depot until morning, when a train would leave
for Leominster, where she confidently expected to find her brother.
Taking a seat in the ladies' room, she abandoned herself to her
sorrow, wondering what Theo would say could she see her then. But
Theo, though dreaming it may be of Maggie, dreamed not that she was
near, and so the night wore on, Margaret sleeping towards daylight,
and dreaming, too, of Arthur Carrollton, who she thought had followed
her--nay, was bending over her now and whispering in her ear, "Wake,
Maggie, wake."

Starting up, she glanced anxiously around, uttering a faint cry when
she saw that it was not Arthur Carrollton, but a dark, rough-looking
stranger, who rather rudely asked her where she wished to go.

"To Leominster," she answered, turning her face fully towards the man,
who became instantly respectful, telling her when the train would
leave, and saying that she must go to another depot, at the same time
asking if she had not better wait at some hotel.

But Maggie preferred going at once to the Fitchburg depot, which she
accordingly did, and drawing her veil over her face, lest some one of
her few acquaintances in the city should recognize her, she sat there
until the time appointed for the cars to leave. Then, weary and faint,
she entered the train, her spirits in a measure rising as she felt
that she was drawing near to those who would love her for what she was
and not for what she had been. Rose would comfort her, and already her
heart bounded with the thought of seeing one whom she believed to be
her brother's wife, for Henry had written that ere his homeward voyage
was made Rose would be his bride.

Ah, Maggie! there is for you a greater happiness in store--not a
brother, but a sister--your father's child is there to greet your
coming. And even at this early hour her snow-white fingers are
arranging the fair June blossoms into bouquets, with which she adorns
her home, saying to him who hovers at her side that somebody, she
knows not whom, is surely coming to-day; and then, with a blush
stealing over her cheek, she adds, "I wish it might be Margaret";
while Henry, with a peculiar twist of his comical mouth, winds his arm
around her waist, and playfully responds, "Anyone save her."



On a cool piazza overlooking a handsome flower garden the breakfast
table was tastefully arranged. It was Rose's idea to have it there,
and in her cambric wrapper, her golden curls combed smoothly back, and
her blue eyes shining with the light of a new joy, she occupies her
accustomed seat beside one who for several happy weeks has called her
his, loving her more and more each day, and wondering how thoughts of
any other could ever have filled his heart. There was much to be done
about his home, so long deserted, and as Rose was determined upon a
trip to the seaside he had made arrangements to be absent from
his business for two months or more, and was now enjoying all the
happiness of a quiet, domestic life, free from care of any kind. He
had heard of Maggie's illness, but she was better now, he supposed,
and when Theo hinted vaguely that a marriage between her and Arthur
Carrollton was not at all improbable, he hoped it would be so, for the
Englishman, he knew, was far better adapted to Margaret than he
had ever been. Of Theo's hints he was speaking to Rose as they sat
together at breakfast, and she had answered, "It will be a splendid
match," when the doorbell rang, and the servant announced, "A lady in
the parlor, who asks for Mr. Warner."

"I told you someone would come," said Rose. "Do, pray, see who it is.
How does she look, Janet?"

"Tall, white as a ghost, with big black eyes," was Janet's answer;
and, with his curiosity awakened, Henry Warner started for the parlor,
Rose following on tiptoe, and listening through the half-closed door
to what their visitor might say.

Margaret had experienced no difficulty in finding the house of Mrs.
Warner, which seemed to her a second Paradise, so beautiful and cool
it looked, nestled amid the tall, green forest trees. Everything
around it betokened the fine taste of its occupants, and Maggie, as
she reflected that she too was nearly connected with this family, felt
her wounded pride in a measure soothed, for it was surely no disgrace
to claim such people as her friends. With a beating heart she rang the
bell, asking for Mr. Warner, and now, trembling in every limb, she
awaited his coming. He was not prepared to meet her, and at first he
did not know her, she was so changed; but when, throwing aside her
bonnet, she turned her face so that the light from the window opposite
shone fully upon her, he recognized her in a moment, and exclaimed,
"Margaret--Margaret Miller! why are you here?"

The words reached Rose's ear, and darting forward she stood within
the door, just as Margaret, staggering a step or two towards Henry,
answered passionately, "I have come to tell you what I myself but
recently have learned"; and wringing her hands despairingly, she
continued, "I am not Maggie Miller, I am not anybody; I am Hagar
Warren's grandchild, the child of her daughter and your own father!
Oh, Henry, don't you see it? I am your sister. Take me as such, will
you? Love me as such, or I shall surely die. I have nobody now in the
wide world but you. They are all gone, all--Madam Conway, Theo too,
and--and--" She could not speak that name. It died upon her lips, and
tottering to a chair she would have fallen had not Henry caught her in
his arms.

Leading her to the sofa, while Rose, perfectly confounded, still stood
within the door, he said to the half-crazed girl: "Margaret, I do not
understand you. I never had a sister, and my father died when I was
six months old. There must be some mistake. Will you tell me what you

Bewildered and perplexed, Margaret began a hasty repetition of Hagar's
story, but ere it was three-fourths told there came from the open door
a wild cry of delight, and quick as lightning a fairy form flew across
the floor, white arms were twined round Maggie's neck, kiss after kiss
was pressed upon her lips, and Rose's voice was in her ear, never
before half so sweet as now, when it murmured soft and low to the
weary girl: "My sister Maggie--mine you are--the child of my own
father, for I was Rose Hamilton, called Warner, first to please my
aunt, and next to please my Henry. Oh, Maggie darling, I am so happy
now!" and the little snowy hands smoothed caressingly the bands of
hair, so unlike her own fair waving tresses.

It was, indeed, a time of almost perfect bliss to them all, and for
a moment Margaret forgot her pain, which, had Hagar known the truth,
need not have come to her. But she scarcely regretted it now, when she
felt Rose Warner's heart throbbing against her own, and knew their
father was the same.

"You are tired," Rose said, at length, when much had been said by
both. "You must have rest, and then I will bring to you my aunt, our
aunt, Maggie--our father's sister. She has been a mother to me.
She will be one to you. But stay," she continued, "you have had no
breakfast. I will bring you some," and she tripped lightly from the

Maggie followed her with swimming eyes, then turning to Henry she
said, "You are very happy, I am sure."

"Yes, very," he answered, coming to her side. "Happy in my wife, happy
in my newly found sister," and he laid his hand on hers with something
of his former familiarity.

But the olden feeling was gone, and Maggie could now meet his glance
without a blush, while he could talk with her as calmly as if she
had never been aught to him save the sister of his wife. Thus often
changeth the human heart's first love.

After a time Rose returned, bearing a silver tray heaped with the most
tempting viands: but Maggie's heart was too full to eat, and after
drinking a cup of the fragrant black tea, which Rose herself had made,
she laid her head upon the pillow which Henry brought, and, with Rose
sitting by, holding lovingly her hand, she fell into a quiet slumber.
For several hours she slept, and when she awoke at last the sun was
shining in at the western window, casting over the floor a glimmering
light, and reminding her so forcibly of the dancing shadows on the
grass which grew around the old stone house that her eyes filled with
tears, and, thinking herself alone, she murmured, "Will it never be my
home again?"

A sudden movement, the rustling of a dress, startled her, and lifting
up her head she saw standing near a pleasant-looking, middle-aged
woman, who, she rightly guessed, was Mrs. Warner, her own aunt.

"Maggie," the lady said, laying her hand on the fevered brow, "I have
heard a strange tale to-day. Heretofore I had supposed Rose to be my
only child, but though you take me by surprise you are not the less
welcome. There is room in my heart for you, Maggie Miller, room for
the youngest-born of my only brother. You are somewhat like him, too,"
she continued, "though more like your mother;" and with the mention of
that name a flush stole over the lady's face, for she, too, was very
proud, and her brother's marriage with a servant girl had never been
quite forgiven.

Mrs. Warner had seen much of the world, and Maggie knew her to be a
woman of refinement, a woman of whom even Madam Conway would not be
ashamed; and, winding her arms around her neck, she said impulsively,
"I am glad you are my aunt; and you will love me, I am sure, even if I
am poor Hagar's grandchild."

Mrs. Warner knew nothing of Hagar save from Henry's amusing
description, the entire truth of which she somewhat doubted; but she
knew that whatever Hagar Warren might be, the beautiful girl before
her was not answerable for it, and very kindly she tried to soothe
her, telling her how happy they would be together. "Rose will leave me
in the autumn," she said, "and without you I should be all alone." Of
Hagar, too, she spoke kindly and considerately, and Maggie, listening
to her, felt somewhat reconciled to the fate which had made her what
she was. Still, there was much of pride to overcome ere she could
calmly think of herself as other than Madam Conway's grandchild; and
when that afternoon, as Henry and Rose were sitting with her, the
latter spoke of her mother, saying she had a faint remembrance of a
tall, handsome girl who sang her to sleep on the night when her own
mother died, there came a visible shadow over Maggie's face, and
instantly changing the conversation she asked why Henry had never told
her anything definite concerning himself and family.

For a moment Henry seemed embarrassed. Both the Hamiltons and the
Warners were very aristocratic in their feelings, and by mutual
consent the name of Hester Warren was by them seldom spoken.
Consequently, if there existed a reason for Henry's silence with
regard to his own and Rose's history, it was that he disliked bringing
up a subject he had been taught to avoid, both by his aunt and the
mother of Mr. Hamilton, who for several years after her son's death
had lived with her daughter in Leominster, where she finally died.
This, however, he could not say to Margaret, and after a little
hesitancy he answered laughingly, "You never asked me for any
particulars; and, then, you know, I was more agreeably occupied than I
should have been had I spent my time in enlightening you with regard
to our genealogy"; and the saucy mouth smiled archly, first on
Rose, and then on Margaret, both of whom blushed slightly, the one
suspecting he had not told her the whole truth, and the other knowing
he had not.

Very considerate was Rose of Maggie's feelings and not again that
afternoon did she speak of Hester, though she talked much of their
father; and Margaret, listening to his praises, felt herself
insensibly drawn towards this new claimant for her filial love. "I
wish I could have seen him," she said; and, starting to her feet, Rose
answered: "Strange I did not think of it before. We have his portrait.
Come this way," and she led the half-unwilling Maggie into an
adjoining room, where from the wall a portly, good-humored-looking man
gazed down upon the sisters, his eyes seeming to rest with mournful
tenderness on the face of her whom in life they had not looked upon.
He seemed older than Maggie had supposed, and the hair upon his head
was white, reminding her of Hagar. But she did not for this turn away
from him. There was something pleasing in the mild expression of his
face, and she whispered faintly, "'Tis my father."

On the right of this portrait was another, the picture of a woman, in
whose curling lip and soft brown eyes Maggie recognized the mother of
Henry. To the left was another still, and she gazed upon the angel
face, with eyes of violet blue, and hair of golden brown, on which the
fading sunlight now was falling, encircling it as it were with a halo
of glory.

"You are much like her," she said to Rose, who made no answer, for she
was thinking of another picture, which years before had been banished
to the garret by her haughty grandmother, as unworthy a place beside
him who had petted and caressed the young girl of plebeian birth and

"I can make amends for it, though," thought Rose, returning with
Maggie to the parlor. Then, seeking out her husband, she held with him
a whispered consultation, the result of which was that on the morrow
there was a rummaging in the garret, an absence from home for an
hour or two, and when about noon she returned there was a pleased
expression on her face, as if she had accomplished her purpose,
whatever it might have been.

All that morning Maggie had been restless and uneasy, wandering
listlessly from room to room, looking anxiously down the street,
starting nervously at the sound of every footstep, while her cheeks
alternately flushed and then grew pale as the day passed on. Dinner
being over she sat alone in the parlor, her eyes fixed upon the
carpet, and her thoughts away with one who she vaguely hoped would
have followed her ere this. True, she had added no postscript to tell
him of her new discovery; but Hagar knew, and he would go to her for a
confirmation of the letter. She would tell him where Maggie was
gone, and he, if his love could survive that shock, would follow her
thither; nay, would be there that very day, and Maggie's heart grew
wearier, fainter, as time wore on and he did not come. "I might have
known it," she whispered sadly. "I knew that he would nevermore think
of me," and she wept silently over her ruined love.

"Maggie, sister," came to her ear, and Rose was at her side. "I have a
surprise for you, darling. Can you bear it now?"

Oh, how eagerly poor Maggie Miller looked up in Rose's face! The car
whistle had sounded half an hour before. Could it be that he had come?
Was he there? Did he love her still? No, Maggie, no; the surprise
awaiting you is of a far different nature, and the tears flow afresh
when Rose, in reply to the question "What is it, darling?" answers,
"It is this," at the same time placing in Maggie's hand an ambrotype
which she bade her examine. With a feeling of keen disappointment
Maggie opened the casing, involuntarily shutting her eyes as if to
gather strength for what she was to see.

It was a young face--a handsome face--a face much like her own, while
in the curve of the upper lip and the expression of the large black
eyes there was a look like Hagar Warren. They had met together thus,
the one a living reality, the other a semblance of the dead, and she
who held that picture trembled violently. There was a fierce struggle
within, the wildly beating heart throbbing for one moment with a
newborn love, and then rebelling against taking that shadow, beautiful
though it was, in place of her whose memory she had so long revered.

"Who is it, Maggie?" Rose asked, leaning over her shoulder.

Maggie knew full well whose face it was she looked upon, but not yet
could she speak that name so interwoven with memories of another, and
she answered mournfully, "It is Hester Hamilton."

"Yes, Margaret, your mother," said Rose. "I never called her by that
name, but I respect her for your sake. She was my father's pet, so
it has been said, for he was comparatively old, and she his young

"Where did you get this?" Maggie asked; and, coloring crimson, Rose
replied, "We have always had her portrait, but grandmother, who was
very old and foolishly proud about some things, was offended at our
father's last marriage, and when after his death the portraits were
brought here, she--Forgive her, Maggie--she did not know you, or she
would not have done it--"

"I know," interrupted Maggie. "She despised this Hester Warren, and
consigned her portrait to some spot from which you have brought it and
had this taken from it."

"Not despised her!" cried Rose, in great distress, as she saw a dark
expression stealing over the face of Maggie, in whose heart a chord of
sympathy had been struck when she thought of her mother banished from
her father's side. "Grandma could not despise her," continued Rose;
"she was so good, so beautiful."

"Yes, she was beautiful," murmured Maggie, gazing earnestly upon the
fair, round face, the soft, black eyes, and raven hair of her who for
years had slept beneath the shadow of the Hillsdale woods. "Oh, I wish
I were dead like her!" she exclaimed at last, closing the ambrotype
and laying it upon the table. "I wish I was lying in that little grave
in the place of her who should have borne my name, and been what I
once was;" and bowing her face upon her hands she wept bitterly, while
Rose tried in vain to comfort her. "I am not sorry you are my sister,"
sobbed Margaret through her tears. "That's the only comfort I have
left me now; but, Rose, I love Arthur Carrollton so much--oh, so much,
and how can I give him up!"

"If he is the noble, true-hearted man he looks to be, he will not give
you up," answered Rose, and then for the first time since this meeting
she questioned Margaret concerning Mr. Carrollton and the relations
existing between them. "He will not cast you off," she said, when
Margaret had told her all she had to tell. "He may be proud, but he
will cling to you still. He will follow you, too--not to-day, perhaps,
nor to-morrow, but ere long he will surely come;" and, listening to
her sister's cheering words, Maggie herself grew hopeful, and that
evening talked animatedly with Henry and Rose of a trip to the seaside
that they were intending to make. "You will go, too, Maggie," said
Rose, caressing her sister's pale cheek, and whispering in her ear,
"Aunt Susan will be here to tell Mr. Carrollton where you are, if he
does not come before we go, which I am sure he will."

Maggie tried to think so too, and her sleep that night was sweeter
than it had been before for many weeks--but the next day came, and the
next, and Maggie's eyes grew dim with watching and with tears, for up
and down the road, as far as she could see, there came no trace of him
for whom she waited.

"I might have known it; it was foolish of me to think otherwise," she
sighed; and, turning sadly from the window where all the afternoon she
had been sitting, she laid her head wearily upon the lap of Rose.

"Maggie," said Henry, "I am going to Worcester to-morrow, and perhaps
George can tell me something of Mr. Carrollton."

For a moment Maggie's heart throbbed with delight at the thought of
hearing from him, even though she heard that he would leave her. But
anon her pride rose strong within her. She had told Hagar twice of
her destination, Hagar had told him, and if he chose he would have
followed her ere this; so somewhat bitterly she said: "Don't speak to
George of me. Don't tell him I am here. Promise me, will you?"

The promise was given, and the next morning, which was Saturday, Henry
started for Worcester on the early train. The day seemed long to
Maggie, and when at nightfall he came to them again it was difficult
to tell which was the more pleased at his return, Margaret or Rose.

"Did you see Theo?" asked the former; and Henry replied: "George told
me she had gone to Hillsdale. Madam Conway is very sick."

"For me! for me! She's sick with mourning for me!" cried Maggie.
"Darling grandma! she does love me still, and I will go home to her at

Then the painful thought rushed over her: "If she wished for me, she
would send. It's the humiliation, not the love, that makes her sick.
They have cast me off--grandma, Theo, all, all!" and, sinking upon the
lounge, she wept aloud.

"Margaret," said Henry, coming to her side, "but for my promise
I should have talked to George of you, for there was a troubled
expression on his face when he asked me if I had heard from

"What did you say?" asked Maggie, holding her breath to catch the
answer, which was, "I told him you had not written to me since my
return from Cuba, and then he looked as if he would say more, but a
customer called him away, and our conversation was not resumed."

For a moment Maggie was silent. Then she said: "I am glad you did not
intrude me upon him. If Theo has gone to Hillsdale, she knows that
I am here, and does not care to follow me. It is the disgrace that
troubles them, not the losing me!" and again burying her head in the
cushions of the lounge, she wept bitterly. It was useless for Henry
and Rose to try to comfort her, telling her it was possible that Hagar
had told nothing. "And if so," said Henry, "you well know that I am
the last one to whom you would be expected to flee for protection."
Margaret would not listen. She was resolved upon being unhappy, and
during the long hours of that night she tossed wakefully upon her
pillow, and when the morning came she was too weak to rise; so she
kept her room, listening to the music of the Sabbath bells, which to
her seemed sadly saying, "Home, home." "Alas! I have no home," she
said, turning away to weep, for in the tolling of those bells there
came to her no voice whispering of the darkness, the desolation, and
the sorrow that were in the home for which she so much mourned.

Thus the day wore on, and ere another week was gone Rose insisted upon
a speedy removal to the seashore, notwithstanding it was so early in
the season, for by this means she hoped that Maggie's health would be
improved. Accordingly, Henry went once more to Worcester, ostensibly
for money, but really to see if George Douglas now would speak to him
of Margaret. But George was in New York, they said; and, somewhat
disappointed, Henry went back to Leominster, where everything was
in readiness for their journey. Monday was fixed upon for their
departure, and at an early hour Margaret looked back on what had
been to her a second home, smiling faintly as Rose whispered to her
cheerily, "I have a strong presentiment that somewhere in our travels
we shall meet with Arthur Carrollton."



Come now over the hills to the westward. Come to the Hillsdale woods,
to the stone house by the mill, where all the day long there is heard
but one name, the servants breathing it softly and low, as if she who
had borne it were dead, the sister, dim-eyed now, and paler faced,
whispering it oft to herself, while the lady, so haughty and proud,
repeats it again and again, shuddering as naught but the echoing walls
reply to the heartbroken cry of, "Margaret, Margaret, where are you

Yes, there was mourning in that household--mourning for the lost one,
the darling, the pet of them all.

Brightly had the sun arisen on that June morning which brought to them
their sorrow, while the birds in the tall forest trees caroled as
gayly as if no storm-cloud were hovering near. At an early hour Mr.
Carrollton had arisen, thinking, as he looked forth from his window,
"She will tell me all to-day," and smiling as he thought how easy and
pleasant would be the task of winning her back to her olden gayety.
Madam Conway, too, was unusually excited, and very anxiously she
listened for the first sound of Maggie's footsteps on the stairs.

"She sleeps late," she thought, when breakfast was announced, and
taking her accustomed seat she bade a servant see if Margaret were

"She is not there," was the report the girl brought back.

"Not there!" cried Mr. Carrollton.

"Not there!" repeated Madam Conway, a shadowy foreboding of evil
stealing over her. "She seldom walks at this early hour," she
continued; and, rising, she went herself to Margaret's room.

Everything was in perfect order, the bed was undisturbed, the chamber
empty; Margaret was gone, and on the dressing-table lay the fatal
letter telling why she went. At first Madam Conway did not see it; but
it soon caught her eye, and tremblingly she opened it, reading but the
first line, "I am going away forever."

Then a loud shriek rang through the silent room, penetrating to Arthur
Carrollton's listening ear, and bringing him at once to her side. With
the letter still in her hand, and her face of a deathly hue, and her
eyes flashing with fear, Madam Conway turned to him as he entered,
saying, "Margaret has gone, left us forever--killed herself it may be!
Read!" And she handed him the letter, herself bending eagerly forward
to hear what he might say.

But she listened in vain. With lightning rapidity Arthur Carrollton
read what Maggie had written--read that she, his idol, the chosen
bride of his bosom, was the daughter of a servant, the grandchild of
old Hagar! And for this she had fled from his presence, fled because
she knew of the mighty pride which now, in the first bitter moment
of his agony, did indeed rise up, a barrier between himself and the
beautiful girl he loved so well. Had she lain dead before him, dead
in all her youthful beauty, he could have folded her in his arms, and
then buried her from his sight, with a feeling of perfect happiness
compared to that which he now felt.

"Oh, Maggie, my lost one, can it be!" he whispered to himself, and
pressing his hand upon his chest, which heaved with strong emotion, he
staggered to a seat, while the perspiration stood in beaded drops upon
his forehead and around his lips.

"What is it, Mr. Carrollton? 'Tis something dreadful, sure," said Mrs.
Jeffrey, appearing in the door, but Madam Conway motioned her away,
and, tottering to his side, said, "Read it to me--read."

The Sound of her voice recalled his wandering mind, and covering his
face with his hands he moaned in anguish; then, growing suddenly calm,
he snatched up the letter, which had fallen to the floor, and read it
aloud; while Madam Conway, stupefied with horror, sank at his feet,
and clasping her hands above her head, rocked to and fro, but made no
word of comment. Far down the long ago her thoughts were straying, and
gathering up many bygone scenes which told her that what she heard was

"Yes, 'tis true," she groaned; and then, powerless to speak another
word, she laid her head upon a chair, while Mr. Carrollton, preferring
to be alone, sought the solitude of his own room, where unobserved
he could wrestle with his sorrow and conquer his inborn pride, which
whispered to him that a Carrollton must not wed a bride so far beneath

Only a moment, though, and then the love he bore for Maggie Miller
rolled back upon him with an overwhelming power, while his better
judgment, with that love, came hand in hand, pleading for the fair
young girl, who, now that he had lost her, seemed a thousandfold
dearer than before. But he had not lost her; he would find her. She
was Maggie Miller still to him, and though old Hagar's blood were in
her veins he would not give her up. This resolution once made, it
could not be shaken, and when half an hour or more was passed he
walked with firm, unfaltering footsteps back to the apartment where
Madam Conway still sat upon the floor, her head resting upon the
chair, and her frame convulsed with grief.

Her struggle had been a terrible one, and it was not over yet, for
with her it was more than a matter of pride and love. Her daughter's
rights had been set at naught; a wrong had been done to the dead; the
child who slept beneath the pine had been neglected; nay, in life, had
been, perhaps, despised for an intruder, for one who had no right to
call her grandmother; and shudderingly she cried, "Why was it suffered
thus to be?" Then as she thought of white-haired Hagar Warren, she
raised her hand to curse her, but the words died on her lips, for
Hagar's deed had brought to her much joy; and now, as she remembered
the bounding step, the merry laugh, the sunny face, and loving words
which had made her later years so happy, she involuntarily stretched
out her arms in empty air, moaning sadly: "I want her here. I want
her now, just as she used to be." Then, over the grave of her buried
daughter, over the grave of the sickly child, whose thin, blue face
came up before her just as it lay in its humble coffin, over the
deception of eighteen years, her heart bounded with one wild, yearning
throb, for every bleeding fiber clung with a deathlike grasp to her
who had been so suddenly taken from her. "I love her still!" she
cried; "but can I take her back?" And then commenced the fiercest
struggle of all, the battling of love and pride, the one rebelling
against the child of Hagar Warren, and the other clamoring loudly that
without that child the world to her was nothing. It was the hour of
Madam Conway's humiliation, and in bitterness of spirit she groaned:
"That I should come to this! Theo first, and Margaret, my bright, my
beautiful Margaret, next! Oh, how can I give her up when I loved her
best of all--best of all!"

This was true, for all the deeper, stronger love of Madam Conway's
nature had gone forth to the merry, gleeful girl whose graceful,
independent bearing she had so often likened to herself and the
haughty race with which she claimed relationship. How was this
illusion dispelled! Margaret was not a Conway, nor yet a Davenport. A
servant-girl had been her mother, and of her father there was nothing
known. Madam Conway was one who seldom wept for grief. She had stood
calmly at the bedside of her dying husband, had buried her only
daughter from her sight, had met with many reverses, and shed for
all no tears, but now they fell like rain upon her face, burning,
blistering as they fell, but bringing no relief.

"I shall miss her in the morning," she cried, "miss her at noon,
miss her in the lonesome nights, miss her everywhere--oh, Margaret,
Margaret, 'tis more than I can bear! Come back to me now, just as you
are. I want you here--here where the pain is hardest," and she clasped
her arms tightly over her heaving bosom. Then her pride returned
again, and with it came thoughts of Arthur Carrollton. He would scoff
at her as weak and sentimental; he would never take beyond the sea a
bride of "Hagarish" birth; and duty demanded that she too should be
firm, and sanction his decision. "But when he's gone," she whispered,
"when he has left America behind, I'll find her, if my life is spared.
I'll find poor Margaret, and see that she does not want, though I must
not take her back."

This resolution, however, did not bring her comfort, and the hands
pressed so convulsively upon her side could not ease her pain. Surely
never before had so dark an hour infolded that haughty woman, and a
prayer that she might die was trembling on her lips when a footfall
echoed along the hall, and Arthur Carrollton stood before her. His
face was very pale, bearing marks of the storm he had passed through;
but he was calm, and his voice was natural as he said: "Possibly what
we have heard is false. It may be a vagary of Hagar's half-crazed

For an instant Madam Conway had hoped so too; but when she reflected,
she knew that it was true. Old Hagar had been very minute in her
explanations to Margaret, who in turn had written exactly what she had
heard, and Madam Conway, when she recalled the past, could have no
doubt that it was true. She remembered everything, but more distinctly
the change of dress at the time of the baptism. There could be no
mistake. Margaret was not hers, and so she said to Arthur Carrollton,
turning her head away as if she too were in some way answerable for
the disgrace.

"It matters not," he replied, "whose she has been. She is mine now,
and if you feel able we will consult together as to the surest method
of finding her." A sudden faintness came over Madam Conway, and, while
the expression of her face changed to one of joyful surprise, she
stammered out: "Can it be I hear aright? Do I understand you? Are you
willing to take poor Maggie back?"

"I certainly have no other intention," he answered. "There was a
moment, the memory of which makes me ashamed, when my pride rebelled;
but it is over now, and though Maggie cannot in reality be again your
child, she can be my wife, and I must find her."

"You make me so happy--oh, so happy!" said Madam Conway. "I feared you
would cast her off, and in that case it would have been my duty to do
so too, though I never loved a human being as at this moment I love

Mr. Carrollton looked as if he did not fully comprehend the woman who,
loving Margaret as she said she did, could yet be so dependent upon
his decision; but he made no comment, and when next he spoke he
announced his intention of calling upon Hagar, who possibly could
tell him where Margaret had gone. "At all events," said he, "I may
ascertain why the secret, so long kept, was at this late day divulged.
It may be well," he continued, "to say nothing to the servants as yet,
save that Maggie has gone. Mrs. Jeffrey, however, had better be let
into the secret at once. We can trust her, I think."

Madam Conway bowed, and Mr. Carrollton left the room, starting
immediately for the cottage by the mine. As he approached the house he
saw the servant who for several weeks had been staying there, and who
now came out to meet him, telling him that since the night before
Hagar had been raving crazy, talking continually of Maggie, who, she
said, had gone where none would ever find her.

In some anxiety Mr. Carrollton pressed on, until the cottage door was
reached, where for a moment he stood gazing silently upon the poor
woman before him. Upon the bed, her white hair falling over her round,
bent shoulders, and her large eyes shining with delirious light, old
Hagar sat, waving back and forth, and talking of Margaret, of Hester,
and "the little foolish child," who, with a sneer upon her lip, she
said, "was a fair specimen of the Conway race."

"Hagar," said Mr. Carrollton; and at the sound of that voice Hagar
turned toward him her flashing eyes, then with a scream buried her
head in the bedclothes, saying: "Go away, Arthur Carrollton! Why are
you here? Don't you know who I am? Don't you know what Margaret is,
and don't you know how proud you are?"

"Hagar," he said again, subduing, by a strong effort, the repugnance
he felt at questioning her, "I know all, except where Margaret has
gone, and if on this point you can give me any information, I shall
receive it most thankfully."

"Gone!" shrieked Hagar, starting up in bed; "then she has gone. The
play is played out, the performance is ended--and I have sinned for

"Hagar, will you tell me where Maggie is? I wish to follow her," said
Mr. Carrollton; and Hagar answered: "Maggie, Maggie--he said that
lovingly enough, but there's a catch somewhere. He does not wish to
follow her for any good--and though I know where she has gone I'll
surely never tell. I kept one secret nineteen years. I can keep
another as long"; and, folding her arms upon her chest, she commenced
singing, "I know full well, but I'll never tell."

Biting his lips with vexation, Mr. Carrollton tried first by
persuasion, then by flattery, and lastly by threats, to obtain from
her the desired information, but in vain. Her only answer was, "I know
full well, but I'll never tell," save once, when tossing towards him
her long white hair, she shrieked: "Don't you see a resemblance--only
hers is black--and so was mine nineteen years ago--and so was Hester's
too--glossy and black as the raven's wing. The child is like the
mother--the mother was like the grandmother, and the grandmother is
like--me, Hagar Warren. Do you understand?"

Mr. Carrollton made no answer, and with a feeling of disappointment
walked away, shuddering as he thought, "And she is Margaret's

He found Madam Conway in hysterics on Margaret's bed, for she had
refused to leave the room, saying she would die there, or nowhere.
Gradually the reality of her loss had burst upon her, and now,
gasping, choking, and wringing her hands, she lay upon the pillows,
while Mrs. Jeffrey, worked up to a pitch of great nervous excitement,
fidgeted hither and thither, doing always the wrong thing, fanning the
lady when she did not wish to be fanned, and ceasing to fan her just
when she was "dying for want of air."

As yet Mrs. Jeffrey knew nothing definite, except that something
dreadful had happened to Margaret; but very candidly Mr. Carrollton
told her all, bidding her keep silent on the subject; then, turning to
Madam Conway, he repeated to her the result of his call on old Hagar.

"The wretch!" gasped Madam Conway, while Mrs. Jeffrey, running in her
fright from the window to the door, and from the door back to the
window again, exclaimed: "Margaret not a Conway, nor yet a Davenport,
after all! It is just what I expected. I always knew she came honestly
by those low-bred ways!"

"Jeffrey," and the voice of the hysterical woman on the bed was
loud and distinct, as she grasped the arm of the terrified little
governess, who chanced to be within her reach. "Jeffrey, either leave
my house at once, or speak more deferentially of Miss Miller. You
will call her by that name, too. It matters not to Mr. Carrollton and
myself whose child she has been. She is ours now, and must be treated
with respect. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, ma'am," meekly answered Jeffrey, rubbing her dumpy arm, which
bore the mark of a thumb and finger, and as her services were not just
then required she glided from the room to drown, if possible, her
grievance in the leather-bound London edition of Baxter!

Meanwhile Madam Conway was consulting with Mr. Carrollton as to the
best mode of finding Margaret. "She took the cars, of course," said
Mr. Carrollton, adding that he should go at once to the depot and
ascertain which way she went. "If I do not return to-night you need
not be alarmed," he said, as he was leaving the room, whereupon Madam
Conway called him back, bidding him telegraph for Theo at once, as she
must have someone with her besides that vexatious Jeffrey.

Mr. Carrollton promised compliance with her request, and then went
immediately to the depot, where he learned that no one had entered the
cars from that place on the previous night, and that Maggie, if she
took the train at all, must have done so at some other station. This
was not unlikely, and before the day was passed Mr. Carrollton had
visited several different stations, and had talked with the conductors
of the several trains, but all to no purpose; and, very much
disheartened, he returned at nightfall to the old stone house, where
to his surprise he found both Theo and her husband. The telegram had
done its mission, and feeling anxious to know the worst George had
come up with Theo to spend the night. It was the first time that Madam
Conway had seen him since her memorable encounter with his mother,
for though Theo had more than once been home, he had never before
accompanied her, and now when Madam Conway heard his voice in the hall
below she groaned afresh. The sight of his good-humored face, however,
and his kind offer to do whatever he could to find the fugitive,
restored her composure in a measure, and she partially forgot that he
was in any way connected with the blue umbrella, or the blue umbrella
connected with him! Never in her life had Theo felt very deeply upon
any subject, and now, though she seemed bewildered at what she heard,
she manifested no particular emotion, until her grandmother, wringing
her hands, exclaimed, "You have no sister now, my child, and I no
Margaret!" Then, indeed, her tears flowed, and when her husband
whispered to her, "We will love poor Maggie all the same," she cried
aloud, but not quite as demonstratively as Madam Conway wished; and,
in a very unamiable frame of mind, the old lady accused her of being
selfish and hard-hearted.

At this stage of proceedings Mr. Carrollton returned, bringing no
tidings of Maggie, whereupon another fit of hysterics ensued, and as
Theo behaved much worse than Mrs. Jeffrey had done, the latter was
finally summoned again to the sickroom, and at last succeeded in
quieting the excited woman. The next morning George Douglas visited
old Hagar, but he too was unsuccessful, and that afternoon he returned
to Worcester, leaving Theo with her grandmother, who, though finding
fault with whatever she did, refused to let her go until Margaret was

During the remainder of the week Mr. Carrollton rode through the
country, making the most minute inquiries, and receiving always the
same discouraging answer. Once he thought to advertise, but from
making the affair thus public he instinctively shrank, and, resolving
to spare neither his time, his money, nor his health, he pursued his
weary way alone. Once, too, Madam Conway spoke of Henry Warner, saying
it was possible Maggie might have gone to him, as she had thought so
much of Rose; but Mr. Carrollton "knew better." A discarded lover,
he said, was the last person in the world to whom a young girl like
Margaret would go, particularly as Theo had said that Henry was now
the husband of another.

Still the suggestion haunted him, and on the Monday following Henry
Warner's first visit to Worcester, he, too, went down to talk with Mr.
Douglas, asking him if it were possible that Maggie was in Leominster.

"I know she is not," said George, repeating the particulars of his
interview with Henry, who, he said, was at the store on Saturday.
"Once I thought of telling him all," said he, "and then, considering
the relation which formerly existed between them, I concluded to keep
silent, especially as he manifested no desire to speak of her,
but appeared, I fancied, quite uneasy when I casually mentioned

Thus was that matter decided, and while not many miles away Maggie
was watching hopelessly for the coming of Arthur Carrollton, he, with
George Douglas, was devising the best means for finding her, George
generously offering to assist in the search, and suggesting finally
that he should himself go to New York City, while Mr. Carrollton
explored Boston and its vicinity. It seemed quite probable that
Margaret would seek some of the large cities, as in her letter she
had said she could earn her livelihood by teaching music; and quite
hopeful of success, the young men parted, Mr. Carrollton going
immediately to Boston, while Mr. Douglas, after a day or two, started
for New York, whither, as the reader will remember, he had gone at the
time of Henry's last visit to Worcester.

Here for a time we leave them, Hagar raving mad, Madam Conway in
strong hysterics, Theo wishing herself anywhere but at Hillsdale, Mrs.
Jeffrey ditto, George Douglas threading the crowded streets of the
noisy city, and Mr. Carrollton in Boston, growing paler and sadder as
day after day passed by, bringing him no trace of the lost one. Here,
I say, we leave them, while in another chapter we follow the footsteps
of her for whom this search was made.



From the seaside to the mountains, from the mountains to Saratoga,
from Saratoga to Montreal, from Montreal to the Thousand Isles,
and thence they scarce knew where, the travelers wended their way,
stopping not long at any place, for Margaret was ever seeking change.
Greatly had she been admired, her pale, beautiful face attracting
attention at once; but from all flattery she turned away, saying to
Henry and Rose, "Let us go on."

So onward still they went, pausing longest at Montreal, for it was
there Arthur Carrollton had been, there a part of his possessions
lay, and there Margaret willingly lingered, even after her companions
wished to be gone.

"He may be here again," she said; and so she waited and watched,
scanning eagerly the passers-by, and noticing each new face as it
appeared at the table of the hotel where they were staying. But the
one she waited for never came. "And even if he does," she thought, "he
will not come for me."

So she signified her willingness to depart, and early one bright July
morning she left, while the singing birds from the treetops, the
summer air from the Canada hills, and, more than all, a warning voice
within her, bade her "Tarry yet a little, stay till the sun was
set," for far out in the country, and many miles away, a train was
thundering on. It would reach the city at nightfall, and among its
jaded passengers was a worn and weary man. Hopeless, almost aimless
now, he would come, and why he came he scarcely knew. "She would not
be there, so far from home," he felt sure, but he was coming for the
sake of what he hoped and feared when last he trod those streets.
Listlessly he entered the same hotel from whose windows, for five long
days, a fair young face had looked for him. Listlessly he
registered his name, then carelessly turned the leaves
backward--backward--backward still, till only one remained between his
hand and the page bearing date five days before. He paused and was
about to move away, when a sudden breeze from the open window turned
the remaining leaf, and his eye caught the name, not of Maggie Miller,
but of "Henry Warner, lady, and sister."

Thus it stood, and thus he repeated it to himself, dwelling upon the
last word "sister," as if to him it had another meaning. He had heard
from Madam Conway that neither Henry Warner nor Rose had a sister, but
she might be mistaken; probably she was; and dismissing the subject
from his mind, he walked away. Still the names haunted him, and
thinking at last that if Mr. Warner were now in Montreal he would
like to see him, he returned to the office, asking the clerk if the
occupants of Nos. ---- were there still.

"Left this morning for the Falls," was the laconic answer; and,
without knowing why he should particularly wish to do so, Mr.
Carrollton resolved to follow them.

He would as soon be at the Falls as in Montreal, he thought.
Accordingly he left the next morning for Niagara, taking the shortest
route by river and lake, and arriving there on the evening of the
second day after his departure from the city. But nowhere could a
trace be found of Henry Warner, and determining now to wait until he
came Mr. Carrollton took rooms at the International, where after a day
or two, worn out with travel, excitement, and hope deferred, he became
severely indisposed, and took his bed, forgetting entirely both Henry
Warner and the sister, whose name he had seen upon the hotel register.
Thoughts of Maggie Miller, however, were constantly in his mind, and
whether waking or asleep he saw always her face, sometimes radiant
with healthful beauty, as when he first beheld her, and again, pale,
troubled, and sad, as when he saw her last.

"Oh, shall I ever find her?" he would sometimes say, as in the dim
twilight he lay listening to the noisy hum which came up from the
public room below.

And once, as he lay there thus, he dreamed, and in his dreams there
came through the open window a clear, silvery voice, breathing the
loved name of Maggie. Again he heard it on the stairs, then little
tripping feet went past his door, followed by a slow, languid tread,
and with a nervous start the sick man awoke. The day had been cloudy
and dark, but the rain was over now, and the room was full of
sunshine--sunshine dancing on the walls, sunshine glimmering on the
floor, sunshine everywhere. Insensibly, too, there stole over Mr.
Carrollton's senses a feeling of quiet, of rest, and he slept ere long
again, dreaming this time that Margaret was there.

Yes, Margaret was there--there, beneath the same roof which sheltered
him and the same sunshine which filled his room with light had bathed
her white brow, as, leaning from her window, she listened to the roar
of the falling water. They had lingered on their way, stopping at the
Thousand Isles, for Margaret would have it so; but they had come at
last, and the tripping footsteps in the hall, the silvery voice upon
the stairs, was that of the golden-haired Rose, who watched over
Margaret with all a sister's love and a mother's care. The frequent
jokes of the fun-loving Henry, too, were not without their good
effect, and Margaret was better now than she had been for many weeks.

"I can rest here," she said, and a faint color came to her cheeks,
making her look more like herself than at any time since that terrible
night of sorrow in the woods.

And so three days went by, and Mr. Carrollton, on his weary bed,
dreamed not that the slender form which sometimes, through his
half-closed door, cast a shadow in his room, was that of her for whom
he sought. The tripping footsteps, too, went often by, and a merry,
childish voice, which reminded him of Maggie, rang through the
spacious halls, until at last the sick man came to listen for that
party as they passed. They were a merry party, he thought, a very
merry party; and he pictured to himself her of the ringing voice; she
was dark-eyed, he said, with braids of shining hair, and when, as they
were passing once, he asked of his attendant if it were not as he had
fancied, he felt a pang of disappointment at the answer, which was,
"The girl the young gentleman hears so much has yellow curls and dark
blue eyes."

"She is not like Maggie, then," he sighed, and when again he heard
that voice a part of its music was gone. Still, it cheered his
solitude, and he listened for it again, just as he had done before.

Once, when he knew they were going out, he went to the window to see
them, but the large straw hats and close carriage revealed no secret,
and disappointed he turned away.

"It is useless to stay here longer," he said; "I must be about my
work. I am able to leave, and I will go to-morrow. But first I will
visit the Falls once more. I may never see them again."

Accordingly, next morning, after Margaret and Rose had left the house,
he came down the stairs, sprang into an open carriage, and was driven
to Goat Island, which, until his illness, had been his favorite

       *       *       *       *       *

Beneath the tall forest trees which grow upon the island there is
a rustic seat. Just on the brink of the river it stands, and the
carriage road winds by. It is a comparatively retired spot, looking
out upon the foaming water rushing so madly on. Here the weary often
rest; here lovers sometimes come to be alone; and here Maggie Miller
sat on that summer morning, living over again the past, which to her
had been so bright, and musing sadly on the future, which would bring
her she knew not what.

She had struggled to overcome her pride, nor deemed it now a disgrace
that she was not a Conway. Of Hagar, too, she often thought, pitying
the poor old half-crazed woman who for her sake had borne so much. But
not of her was she thinking now. Hagar was shriveled and bent and old,
while the image present in Margaret's mind was handsome, erect, and
young, like the gentleman riding by--the man whose carriage wheels,
grinding into the gravelly road, attracted no attention. Too intent
was she upon a shadow to heed aught else around, and she leaned
against a tree, nor turned her head aside, as Arthur Carrollton went

A little further on, and out of Maggie's sight, a fairy figure was
seated upon the grass; the hat was thrown aside, and her curls fell
back from her upturned face as she spoke to Henry Warner. But the
sentence was unfinished, for the carriage appeared in view, and
with woman's quick perception Rose exclaims, "'Tis surely Arthur

Starting to her feet, she sprang involuntarily forward to meet him,
casting a rapid glance around for Margaret. He observed the
movement, and knew that somewhere in the world he had seen that face
before--those golden curls--those deep blue eyes--that childish
form--they were not wholly unfamiliar. Who was she, and why did she
advance towards him?

"Rose," said Henry, who would call her back, "Rose!" and looking
towards the speaker Mr. Carrollton knew at once that Henry Warner and
his bride were standing there before him.

In a moment he had joined them, and though he knew that Henry Warner
had once loved Maggie Miller he spoke of her without reserve, saying
to Rose, when she asked if he were there for pleasure: "I am looking
for Maggie Miller. A strange discovery has been made of late, and
Margaret has left us."

"She is here--here with us!" cried Rose; and in the exuberance of
her joy she was darting away, when Henry held her back until further
explanations were made.

This did not occupy them long, for sitting down again upon the bank
Rose briefly told him all she knew; and when with eager joy he asked
"Where is she now?" she pointed towards the spot, and then with Henry
walked away, for she knew that it was not for her to witness that glad

The river rolls on with its heaving swell, and the white foam is
tossed towards the shore, while the soft summer air still bears on its
wing the sound of the cataract's roar. But Margaret sees it not, hears
it not. There is a spell upon her now--a halo of joy; and she only
knows that a strong arm is around her, and a voice is in her ear,
whispering that the bosom on which her weary head is pillowed shall be
her resting place forever.

It had come to her suddenly, sitting there thus--the footfall upon the
sand had not been heard--the shadow upon the grass had not been seen,
and his presence had not been felt, till, bending low, Mr. Carrollton
said aloud, "My Maggie!"

Then indeed she started up, and turned to see who it was that thus so
much like him had called her name. She saw who it was, and looking
in his face she knew she was not hated, and with a moaning cry went
forward to the arm extended to receive her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Four guests, instead of one, went forth that afternoon from the
International--four guests homeward bound, and eager to be there. No
more journeying now for happiness; no more searching for the lost; for
both are found; both are there--happiness and Maggie Miller.



Impatient, restless, and cross, Madam Conway lay in Margaret's room,
scolding Theo and chiding Mrs. Jeffrey, both of whom, though trying
their utmost to suit her, managed unfortunately to do always just what
she wished them not to do. Mrs. Jeffrey's hands were usually too cold,
and Theo's were too hot. Mrs. Jeffrey made the head of the bed too
high, Theo altogether too low. In short, neither of them ever did what
Margaret would have done had she been there, and so day after day the
lady complained, growing more and more unamiable, until at last Theo
began to talk seriously of following Margaret's example, and running
away herself, at least as far as Worcester; but the distressed Mrs.
Jeffrey, terrified at the thought of being left there alone, begged of
her to stay a little longer, offering the comforting assurance
that "it cannot be so bad always, for Madam Conway will either get
better--or something."

So Theo stayed, enduring with a martyr's patience the caprices of
her grandmother, who kept the whole household in a constant state of
excitement, and who at last began to blame George Douglas entirely as
being the only one in fault. "He didn't half look," she said, "and
she doubted whether he knew enough to keep from losing himself in New
York. It was the most foolish thing Arthur Carrollton had ever done,
hiring George Douglas to search!"

"Hiring him, grandma!" cried Theo; "George offered his services for
nothing," and the tears came to her eyes at the injustice done her

But Madam Conway persisted in being unreasonable, and matters grew
gradually worse until the day when Margaret was found at the Falls. On
that morning Madam Conway determined upon riding. "Fresh air will
do me good," she said, "and you have kept me in a hot chamber long

Accordingly, the carriage was brought out, and Madam Conway carefully
lifted in; but ere fifty rods were passed the coachman was ordered to
drive back, as she could not endure the jolt. "I told you I couldn't,
all the time;" and her eyes turned reprovingly upon poor Theo, sitting
silently in the opposite corner.

"The Lord help me, if she isn't coming back so soon!" sighed Mrs.
Jeffrey, as she saw the carriage returning, and went to meet the
invalid, who had "taken her death of cold," just as she knew she
should when they insisted upon her going out.

That day was far worse than any which had preceded it. It was probably
her last, Madam Conway said, and numerous were the charges she gave
to Theo concerning Margaret, should she ever be found. The house, the
farm, the furniture and plate were all to be hers, while to Theo was
given the lady's wardrobe, saving such articles as Margaret might
choose for herself, and if she never were found the house and farm
were to be Mr. Carrollton's. This was too much for Theo, who resolved
to go home on the morrow, at all hazards, and she had commenced making
preparations for leaving, when to her great joy her husband came, and
in recounting to him her trials she forgot in a measure how unhappy
she had been. George Douglas was vastly amused at what he heard, and
resolved to experiment a little with the lady, who was so weak as to
notice him only with a slight nod when he first entered the room. He
saw at a glance that nothing in particular was the matter, and when
towards night she lay panting for breath, with her eyes half closed,
he approached her and said, "Madam, in case you die--"

"In case I die!" she whispered indignantly. "It doesn't admit of a
doubt. My feet are as cold as icicles now."

"Certainly," said he. "I beg your pardon; of course you'll die."

The lady turned away rather defiantly for a dying woman, and George
continued, "What I mean to say is this--if Margaret is never found,
you wish the house to be Mr. Carrollton's?"

"Yes, everything, my wardrobe and all," came from beneath the
bedclothes; and George proceeded: "Mr. Carrollton cannot of course
take the house to England, and, as he will need a trusty tenant, would
you object greatly if my father and mother should come here to live?
They'd like it, I--"

The sentence was unfinished--the bunches in the throat which for hours
had prevented the sick woman from speaking aloud, and were eventually
to choke her to death, disappeared; Madam Conway found her voice, and,
starting up, screamed out, "That abominable woman and heathenish girl
in this house, in my house; I'll live forever, first!" and her angry
eyes flashed forth their indignation.

"I thought the mention of mother would revive her," said George,
aside, to Theo, who, convulsed with laughter, had hidden herself
behind the window curtain.

Mr. Douglas was right, for not again that afternoon did Madam Conway
speak of dying, though she kept her bed until nightfall, when art
incident occurred which brought her at once to her feet, making her
forget that she had ever been otherwise than well.

In her cottage by the mine old Hagar had raved and sung and wept,
talking much of Margaret, but never telling whither she had gone.
Latterly, however, she had grown more calm, talking far less than
heretofore, and sleeping a great portion of the day, so that the
servant who attended her became neglectful, leaving her many hours
alone, while she, at the stone house, passed her time more agreeably
than at the lonesome hut. On the afternoon of which we write she was
as usual at the house, and though the sun went down she did not hasten
back, for her patient, she said, was sure to sleep, and even if she
woke she did not need much care.

Meantime old Hagar slumbered on. It was a deep, refreshing sleep, and
when at last she did awake, her reason was in a measure restored, and
she remembered everything distinctly up to the time of Margaret's last
visit, when she said she was going away. And Margaret had gone away,
she was sure of that, for she remembered Arthur Carrollton stood once
within that room, and besought of her to tell if she knew aught of
Maggie's destination. She did know, but she had not told, and perhaps
they had not found her yet. Raising herself in bed, she called aloud
to the servant, but there came no answer; and for an hour or more she
waited impatiently, growing each moment more and more excited. If
Margaret were found she wished to know it, and if she were not found
it was surely her duty to go at once and tell them where she was.
But could she walk? She stepped upon the floor and tried. Her limbs
trembled beneath her weight, and, sinking into a chair, she cried, "I
can't! I can't!"

Half an hour later she heard the sound of wheels. A neighboring farmer
was returning home from Richland, and had taken the cross road as
his shortest route. "Perhaps he will let me ride," she thought, and,
hobbling to the door, she called after him, making known her request.
Wondering what "new freak" had entered her mind, the man consented,
and just as it was growing dark he set her down at Madam Conway's
gate, where, half fearfully, the bewildered woman gazed around. The
windows of Margaret's room were open, a figure moved before them;
Margaret might be there; and entering the hall door unobserved, she
began to ascend the stairs, crawling upon her hands and knees, and
pausing several times to rest.

It was nearly dark in the sickroom, and as Mrs. Jeffrey had just gone
out, and Theo, in the parlor below, was enjoying a quiet talk with her
husband, Madam Conway was quite alone. For a time she lay thinking
of Margaret; then her thoughts turned upon George and his "amazing
proposition." "Such unheard of insolence!" she exclaimed, and she was
proceeding farther with her soliloquy, when a peculiar noise upon the
stairs caught her ear, and raising herself upon her elbow she listened
intently to the sound, which came nearer and nearer, and seemed like
someone creeping slowly, painfully, for she could hear at intervals a
long-drawn breath or groan, and with a vague feeling of uneasiness she
awaited anxiously the appearance of her visitor; nor waited long, for
the half-closed door swung slowly back, and through the gathering
darkness the shape came crawling on, over the threshold, into the
room, towards the corner, its limbs distorted and bent, its white hair
sweeping the floor. With a smothered cry Madam Conway hid beneath the
bedclothes, looking cautiously out at the singular object which came
creeping on until the bed was reached. It touched the counterpane, it
was struggling to regain its feet, and with a scream of horror the
terrified woman cried out, "Fiend, why are you here?" while a faint
voice replied, "I am looking for Margaret. I thought she was in bed";
and, rising up from her crouching posture, Hagar Warren stood face to
face with the woman she had so long deceived.

"Wretch!" exclaimed the latter, her pride returning as she recognized
old Hagar and thought of her as Maggie's grandmother. "Wretch, how
dare you come into my presence? Leave this room at once," and a shrill
cry of "Theo! Theo!" rang through the house, bringing Theo at once to
the chamber, where she started involuntarily at the sight which met
her view.

"Who is it? who is it?" she exclaimed.

"It's Hagar Warren. Take her away!" screamed Madam Conway; while
Hagar, raising her withered hand deprecatingly, said: "Hear me first.
Do you know where Margaret is? Has she been found?"

"No, no," answered Theo, bounding to her side, while Madam Conway
forgot to scream, and bent eagerly forward to listen, her symptoms
of dissolution disappearing one by one as the strange narrative
proceeded, and ere its close she was nearly dressed, standing erect as
ever, her face glowing, and her eyes lighted up with joy.

"Gone to Leominster! Henry Warner's half-sister!" she exclaimed. "Why
didn't she add a postscript to that letter, and tell us so? Though
the poor child couldn't think of everything;" and then, unmindful of
George Douglas, who at that moment entered the room, she continued:
"I should suppose Douglas might have found it out ere this. But the
moment I put my eyes upon _that woman_ I knew no child of hers would
ever know enough to find Margaret. The Warners are a tolerably good
family, I presume. I'll go after her at once. Theo, bring my broché
shawl, and wouldn't you wear my satin hood? 'Twill be warmer than my

"Grandma," said Theo, in utter astonishment, "What do you mean? You
surely are not going to Leominster to-night, as sick as you are?"

"Yes, I am going to Leominster to-night," answered the decided woman;
"and this gentleman," waving her hand majestically towards George,
"will oblige me much by seeing that the carriage is brought out."

Theo was about to remonstrate, when George whispered: "Let her go;
Henry and Rose are probably not at home, but Margaret may be there. At
all events, a little airing will do the old lady good;" and, rather
pleased than otherwise with the expedition, he went after John, who
pronounced his mistress "crazier than Hagar."

But it wasn't for him to dictate, and, grumbling at the prospect
before him, he harnessed his horses and drove them to the door, where
Madam Conway was already in waiting.

"See that everything is in order for our return," she said to Theo,
who promised compliance, and then, herself bewildered, listened to the
carriage as it rolled away; it seemed so like a dream that the woman
who three hours before could scarcely speak aloud had now started for
a ride of many miles in the damp night air! But love can accomplish
miracles, and it made the eccentric lady strong, buoying up her
spirits, and prompting her to cheer on the coachman, until just as the
day grew rosy in the east Leominster appeared in view. The house was
found, the carriage steps let down, and then with a slight trembling
in her limbs Madam Conway alighted and walked up the graveled path,
casting eager, searching glances around and commenting as follows:

"Everything is in good taste; they must be somebody, these Warners.
I'm glad it is no worse." And with each new indication of refinement
in Margaret's relatives the disgrace seemed less and less in the mind
of the proud Englishwoman.

The ringing of the bell brought down Janet, who, with an inquisitive
look at the satin hood and bundle of shawls, ushered the stranger
into the parlor, and then went for her mistress. Taking the card her
servant brought, Mrs. Warner read with some little trepidation the
name "Madam Conway, Hillsdale." From what she had heard, she was not
prepossessed in the lady's favor; but, curious to know why she was
there at this early hour, she hastened the making of her toilet, and
went down to the parlor, where Madam Conway sat, coiled in one corner
of the sofa, which she had satisfied herself was covered with real
brocatel, as were also the chairs within the room. The tables of
rosewood and marble, and the expensive curtains had none of them
escaped her notice, and in a mood which more common furniture would
never have produced Madam Conway arose to meet Mrs. Warner, who
received her politely, and then waited to hear her errand.

It was told in a few words. She had come for Margaret--Margaret, whom
she had loved for eighteen years, and could not now cast off, even
though she were not of the Conway and Davenport extraction.

"I can easily understand how painful must have been the knowledge that
Maggie was not your own," returned Mrs. Warner, "for she is a girl
of whom anyone might be proud; but you are laboring under a
mistake--Henry is not her brother;" and then very briefly she
explained the matter to Madam Conway, who, having heard so much, was
now surprised at nothing, and who felt, it may be, a little gratified
in knowing that Henry was, after all, nothing to Margaret, save the
husband of her sister. But a terrible disappointment awaited her.
Margaret was not there; and so loud were her lamentations that some
time elapsed ere Mrs. Warner could make her listen while she explained
that Mr. Carrollton had found Maggie the day previous at the Falls,
that they were probably in Albany now, and would reach Hillsdale that
very day; such at least was the import of the telegram which Mrs.
Warner had received the evening before. "They wish to surprise you,
undoubtedly," she said, "and consequently have not telegraphed to

This seemed probable, and forgetting her weariness Madam Conway
resolved upon leaving John to drive home at his leisure, while she
took the Leominster cars, which reached Worcester in time for the
upward train. This matter adjusted, she tried to be quiet; but her
excitement increased each moment, and when at last breakfast was
served she did but little justice to the tempting viands which her
hostess set before her. Margaret's chamber was visited next, and very
lovingly she patted and smoothed the downy pillows, for the sake of
the bright head which had rested there, while to herself she whispered
abstractedly, "Yes, yes," though to what she was giving her assent
she could not tell. She only knew that she was very happy, and very
impatient to be gone, and when at last she did go it seemed to her an
age ere Worcester was reached.

Resolutely turning her head away, lest she should see the scene of her
disaster when last in that city, she walked up and down the ladies'
room, her satin hood and heavy broché shawl, on that warm July
morning, attracting much attention. But little did she care. Margaret
was the burden of her thoughts, and the appearance of Mrs. Douglas
herself would scarcely have disturbed her. Much less, then, did the
presence of a queerly dressed young girl, who, entering the car with
her, occupied from necessity the same seat, feeling herself a little
annoyed at being thus obliged to sit so near one whom she mentally
pronounced "mighty unsociable," for not once did Madam Conway turn her
face that way, so intent was she upon watching their apparent speed,
and counting the number of miles they had come.

When Charlton was reached, however, she did observe the women in a
shaker, who, with a pail of huckleberries on her arm, was evidently
waiting for someone.

An audible groan from the depths of the satin hood, as Betsy Jane
passed out and the cars passed on, showed plainly that the mother and
sister of George Douglas were recognized, particularly as the former
wore the red and yellow calico, which, having been used as a "dress
up" the summer before, now did its owner service as a garment of
everyday wear. But not long did Madam Conway suffer her mind to dwell
upon matters so trivial. Hillsdale was not far away, and she came each
moment nearer. Two more stations were reached--the haunted swamp was
passed--Chicopee River was in sight--the bridge appeared in view--the
whistle sounded, and she was there.

Half an hour later, and Theo, looking from her window, started in
surprise as she saw the village omnibus drive up to their door.

"'Tis grandmother!" she cried, and running to meet her she asked why
she had returned so soon.

"They are coming at noon," answered the excited woman--then, hurrying
into the house and throwing off her hood, she continued: "He's found
her at the Falls; they are between here and Albany now; tell
everybody to hurry as fast as they can; tell Hannah to make a
chicken pie--Maggie was fond of that; and turkey--tell her to kill a
turkey--it's Maggie's favorite dish--and ice cream, too! I wish I had
some this minute," and she wiped the perspiration from her burning

No more hysterics now; no more lonesome nights; no more thoughts of
death--for Margaret was coming home--the best loved of them all.
Joyfully the servants told to each other the glad news, disbelieving
entirely the report fast gaining circulation that the queenly Maggie
was lowly born--a grandchild of old Hagar. Up and down the stairs
Madam Conway ran, flitting from room to room, and tarrying longest
in that of Margaret, where the sunlight came in softly through the
half-closed blinds and the fair summer blossoms smiled a welcome for
the expected one.

Suddenly the noontide stillness was broken by a sound, deafening and
shrill on ordinary occasions, but falling now like music on Madam
Conway's ear, for by that sound she knew that Margaret was near.
Wearily went the half-hour by, and then, from the head of the tower
stairs, Theo cried out, "She is coming!" while the grandmother buried
her face in the pillows of the lounge, and asked to be alone when she
took back to her bosom the child which was not hers.

Earnestly, as if to read the inmost soul, each looked into the other's
eyes--Margaret and Theo--and while the voice of the latter was choked
with tears she wound her arms around the graceful neck, which bent to
the caress, and whispered low, "You are my sister still."

Against the vine-wreathed balustrade a fairy form was leaning, holding
back her breath lest she should break the deep silence of that
meeting. In her bosom there was no pang of fear lest Theo should be
loved the best; and, even had there been, it could not surely have
remained, for stretching out her arm Margaret drew Rose to her side,
and placing her hand in that of Theo said, "You are both my sisters
now," while Arthur Carrollton, bending down, kissed the lips of the
three, saying as he did so, "Thus do I acknowledge your relationship
to me."

"Why don't she come?" the waiting Madam Conway sighed, just as Theo,
pointing to the open door, bade Margaret go in.

There was a blur before the lady's eyes--a buzzing in her ears--and
the footfall she had listened for so long was now unheard as it
came slowly to her side. But the light touch upon her arm--the
well-remembered voice within her ear, calling her "Madam Conway,"
sent through her an electric thrill, and starting up she caught the
wanderer in her arms, crying imploringly, "Not that name, Maggie
darling; call me grandma, as you used to do--call me grandma still,"
and smoothing back the long black tresses, she looked to see if grief
had left its impress upon her fair young face. It was paler now, and
thinner too, than it was wont to be, and while her tears fell fast
upon it, Madam Conway whispered: "You have suffered much, my child,
and so have I. Why did you go away? Say, Margaret, why did you leave
me all alone?"

"To learn how much you loved me," answered Margaret, to whom this
moment brought happiness second only to that which she had felt when
on the river bank she sat with Arthur Carrollton, and heard him tell
how much she had been mourned--how lonesome was the house without
her--and how sad were all their hearts. But that was over now--no more
sadness, no more tears; the lost one had returned; Margaret was home
again--home in the hearts of all, and nothing could dislodge her--not
even the story of her birth, which Arthur Carrollton, spurning at
further deception, told to the listening servants, who, having always
respected old Hagar for her position in the household as well as for
her education, so superior to their own, set up a deafening shout,
first for "Hagar's grandchild," and next for "Miss Margaret forever!"



By Theo's request old Hagar had been taken home the day before,
yielding submissively, for her frenzied mood was over--her strength
was gone--her life was nearly spent--and Hagar did not wish to live.
That for which she had sinned had been accomplished, and, though it
had cost her days and nights of anguish, she was satisfied at last.
Margaret was coming home again--would be a lady still--the bride of
Arthur Carrollton, for George Douglas had told her so, and she was
willing now to die, but not until she had seen her once again--had
looked into the beautiful face of which she had been so proud.

Not to-day, however, does she expect her; and just as the sun was
setting, the sun which shines on Margaret at home, she falls away to
sleep. It was at this hour that Margaret was wont to visit her, and
now, as the treetops grew red in the day's departing glory, a graceful
form came down the woodland path, where for many weeks the grass
has not been crushed beneath her feet. They saw her as she left the
house,--Madam Conway, Theo, all,--but none asked whither she was
going. They knew, and one who loved her best of all followed slowly
after, waiting in the woods until that interview should end.

Hagar lay calmly sleeping. The servant was as usual away, and there
was no eye watching Margaret as with burning cheeks and beating heart
she crossed the threshold of the door, pausing not, faltering not,
until the bed was reached--the bed where Hagar lay, her crippled hands
folded meekly upon her breast, her white hair shading a whiter face,
and a look about her half-shut mouth as if the thin, pale lips had
been much used of late to breathe the word "Forgive." Maggie had
never seen her thus before, and the worn-out, aged face had something
touching in its sad expression, and something startling too, bidding
her hasten, if to that woman she would speak.

"Hagar," she essayed to say, but the word died on her lips, for
standing there alone, with the daylight fading from the earth, and the
lifelight fading from the form before her, it seemed not meet that she
should thus address the sleeper. There was a name, however, by which
she called another--a name of love, and it would make the withered
heart of Hagar Warren bound and beat and throb with untold joy.
And Margaret said that name at last, whispering it first softly to
herself; then, bending down so that her breath stirred the snow-white
hair, she repeated it aloud, starting involuntarily as the rude walls
echoed back the name "Grandmother!"

"Grandmother!" Through the senses locked in sleep it penetrated, and
the dim eyes, once so fiery and black, grew large and bright again as
Hagar Warren woke.

Was it a delusion, that beauteous form which met her view, that soft
hand on her brow, or was it Maggie Miller?

"Grandmother," the low voice said again, "I am Maggie--Hester's child.
Can you see me? Do you know that I am here?"

Yes, through the films of age, through the films of coming death, and
through the gathering darkness, old Hagar saw and knew, and with a
scream of joy her shrunken arms wound themselves convulsively around
the maiden's neck, drawing her nearer, and nearer still, until the
shriveled lips touched the cheek of her who did not turn away, but
returned that kiss of love.

"Say it again, say that word once more," and the arms closed tighter
round the form of Margaret, who breathed it yet again, while the
childish woman sobbed aloud, "It is sweeter than the angels' song to
hear you call me so."

She did not ask her when she came--she did not ask her where she had
been; but Maggie told her all, sitting by her side with the poor hands
clasped in her own; then, as the twilight shadows deepened in the
room, she struck a light, and coming nearer to Hagar, said, "Am I much
like my mother?"

"Yes, yes, only more winsome," was the answer, and the half-blind eyes
looked proudly at the beautiful girl bending over the humble pillow.

"Do you know that?" Maggie asked, holding to view the ambrotype of
Hester Hamilton.

For an instant Hagar wavered, then hugging the picture to her bosom,
she laughed and cried together, whispering as she did so, "My little
girl, my Hester, my baby that I used to sing to sleep in our home away
over the sea."

Hagar's mind was wandering amid the scenes of bygone years, but it
soon came back again to the present time, and she asked of Margaret
whence that picture came. In a few words Maggie told her, and then for
a time there was silence, which was broken at last by Hagar's voice,
weaker now than when she spoke before.

"Maggie," she said, "what of this Arthur Carrollton? Will he make you
his bride?"

"He has so promised," answered Maggie; and Hagar continued: "He will
take you to England, and you will be a lady, sure. Margaret, listen to
me. 'Tis the last time we shall ever talk together, you and I, and
I am glad that it is so. I have greatly sinned, but I have been
forgiven, and I am willing now to die. Everything I wished for has
come to pass, even the hearing you call me by that blessed name; but,
Maggie, when to-morrow they say that I am dead--when you come down to
look upon me lying here asleep, you needn't call me 'Grandmother,' you
may say 'poor Hagar!' with the rest; and, Maggie, is it too much
to ask that your own hands will arrange my hair, fix my cap, and
straighten my poor old crooked limbs for the coffin? And if I should
look decent, will you, when nobody sees you do it--Madam Conway,
Arthur Carrollton, nobody who is proud--will you, Maggie, kiss me once
for the sake of what I've suffered that you might be what you are?"

"Yes, yes, I will," was Maggie's answer, her tears falling fast, and
a fear creeping into her heart, as by the dim candlelight she saw a
nameless shadow settling down on Hagar's face.

The servant entered at this moment, and, glancing at old Hagar, sunk
into a chair, for she knew that shadow was death.

"Maggie," and the voice was now a whisper, "I wish I could once more
see this Mr. Carrollton. 'Tis the nature of his kin to be sometimes
overbearing, and though I am only old Hagar Warren he might heed my
dying words, and be more thoughtful of your happiness. Do you think
that he would come?"

Ere Maggie had time to answer there was a step upon the floor, and
Arthur Carrollton stood at her side. He had waited for her long, and
growing at last impatient had stolen to the open door, and when the
dying woman asked for him he had trampled down his pride and entered
the humble room. Winding his arm round Margaret, who trembled
violently, he said: "Hagar, I am here. Have you aught to say to me?"

Quickly the glazed eyes turned towards him, and the clammy hand was
timidly extended. He took it unhesitatingly, while the pale lips
murmured faintly, "Maggie's too." Then, holding both between her own,
old Hagar said solemnly, "Young man, as you hope for heaven, deal
kindly with my child," and Arthur Carrollton answered her aloud, "As I
hope for heaven, I will," while Margaret fell upon her knees and wept.
Raising herself in bed, Hagar laid her hands upon the head of the
kneeling girl, breathing over her a whispered blessing; then the hands
pressed heavily, the fingers clung with a loving grasp, as it were, to
the bands of shining hair--the thin lips ceased to move--the head fell
back upon the pillow, motionless and still, and Arthur Carrollton,
leading Margaret away, gently told her that Hagar was dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

Carefully, tenderly, as if she had been a wounded dove, did the whole
household demean themselves towards Margaret, seeing that everything
needful was done, but mentioning never in her presence the name of the
dead. And Margaret's position was a trying one, for though Hagar had
been her grandmother she had never regarded her as such, and she could
not now affect a grief she did not feel. Still, from her earliest
childhood she had loved the strange old woman, and she mourned for
her now, as friend mourneth for friend, when there is no tie of blood
between them.

Her promise, too, was kept, and with her own hands she smoothed the
snow-white hair, tied on the muslin cap, folded the stiffened arms,
and then, unmindful who was looking on, kissed twice the placid face,
which seemed to smile on her in death.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the side of Hester Hamilton they made another grave, and, with
Arthur Carrollton and Rose standing at either side, Margaret looked on
while the weary and worn was laid to rest; then slowly retraced her
steps, walking now with Madam Conway, for Arthur Carrollton and Rose
had lingered at the grave, talking together of a plan which had
presented itself to the minds of both as they stood by the humble
stone which told where Margaret's mother slept. To Margaret, however,
they said not a word, nor yet to Madam Conway, though they both united
in urging the two ladies to accompany Theo to Worcester for a few

"Mrs. Warner will help me keep house," Mr. Carrollton said, advancing
the while so many good reasons why Margaret at least should go, that
she finally consented, and went down to Worcester, together with Madam
Conway, George Douglas, Theo, and Henry, the latter of whom seemed
quite as forlorn as did she herself, for Rose was left behind, and
without her he was nothing.

Madam Conway had been very gracious to him; his family were good, and
when as they passed the Charlton depot thoughts of the leghorn bonnet
and blue umbrella intruded themselves upon her, she half wished that
Henry had broken his leg in Theo's behalf, and so saved her from
bearing the name of Douglas.

The week went by, passing rapidly as all weeks will, and Margaret was
again at home. Rose was there still, and just as the sun was setting
she took her sister's hand, and led her out into the open air toward
the resting-place of the dead, where a change had been wrought; and
Margaret, leaning over the iron gate, comprehended at once the feeling
which had prompted Mr. Carrollton and Rose to desire her absence for
a time. The humble stone was gone, and in its place there stood a
handsome monument, less imposing and less expensive than that of Mrs.
Miller, it is true, but still chaste and elegant, bearing upon it
simply the names of "Hester Hamilton, and her mother Hagar Warren,"
with the years of their death. The little grave, too, where for many
years Maggie herself had been supposed to sleep, was not beneath the
pine tree now; that mound was leveled down, and another had been made,
just where the grass was growing rank and green beneath the shadow of
the taller stone, and there side by side they lay at last together,
the mother and her infant child.

"It was kind in you to do this," Margaret said, and then, with her
arm round Rose's waist, she spoke of the coming time when the sun of
another hemisphere would be shining down upon her, saying she should
think often of that hour, that spot, and that sister, who answered:
"Every year when the spring rains fall I shall come to see that the
grave has been well kept, for you know that she was my mother, too,"
and she pointed to the name of "Hester," deep cut in the polished

"Not yours, Rose, but mine," said Maggie. "My mother she was, and as
such I will cherish her memory." Then, with her arm still around her
sister's waist, she walked slowly back to the house.

A little later, and while Arthur Carrollton, with Maggie at his side,
was talking to her of something which made the blushes burn on her
still pale cheeks, Madam Conway herself walked out to witness the
improvements, lingering longest at the little grave, and saying to
herself, "It was very thoughtful in Arthur, very, to do what I
should have done myself ere this had I not been afraid of Margaret's

Then, turning to the new monument, she admired its chaste beauty, but
hardly knew whether she was pleased to have it there or not.

"It's very handsome," she said, leaving the yard, and walking backward
to observe the effect. "And it adds much to the looks of the place.
There is no question about that. It is perfectly proper, too, or Mr.
Carrollton would never have put it here, for he knows what is right,
of course," and the still doubtful lady turned away, saying as she
did so, "On the whole, I think I am glad that Hester has a handsome
monument, and I know I am glad that Mrs. Miller's is a little the
taller of the two!"



Years hence, if the cable resting far down in the mermaids' home
shall prove a bond of perfect peace between the mother and her child,
thousands will recall the bright summer morning when through the
caverns of the mighty deep the first electric message came, thrilling
the nation's heart, quickening the nation's pulse, and, with the music
of the deep-toned bell and noise of the cannon's roar, proclaiming to
the listening multitude that the isle beyond the sea, and the lands
which to the westward lie, were bound together, shore to shore, by a
strange, mysterious tie. And two there are who, in their happy home,
will oft look back upon that day, that 18th day of August, which gave
to one of Britain's sons as fair and beautiful a bride as e'er went
forth from the New England hills to dwell beneath a foreign sky.

They had not intended to be married so soon, for Margaret would wait
a little longer; but an unexpected and urgent summons home made it
necessary for Mr. Carrollton to go, and so by chance the bridal day
was fixed for the 18th. None save the family were present, and Madam
Conway's tears fell fast as the words were spoken which made them one,
for by those words she knew that she and Margaret must part. But not
forever; for when the next year's autumn leaves shall fall the old
house by the mill will again be without a mistress, while in a
handsome country-seat beyond the sea Madam Conway will demean herself
right proudly, as becometh the grandmother of Mrs. Arthur Carrollton.
Theo, too, and Rose will both be there, for their husbands have so
promised, and when the Christmas fires are kindled on the hearth and
the ancient pictures on the wall take a richer tinge from the ruddy
light, there will be a happy group assembled within the Carrollton
halls; and Margaret, the happiest of them all, will then almost
forget that ever in the Hillsdale woods, sitting at Hagar's feet, she
listened with a breaking heart to the story of her birth.

But not the thoughts of a joyous future could dissipate entirely the
sadness of that bridal, for Margaret was well beloved, and the billows
which would roll ere long between her and her childhood's home
stretched many, many miles away. Still they tried to be cheerful, and
Henry Warner's merry jokes had called forth more than one gay laugh,
when the peal of bells and the roll of drums arrested their attention;
while the servants, who had learned the cause of the rejoicing, struck
up "God Save the Queen," and from an adjoining field a rival choir
sent back the stirring note of "Hail, Columbia, Happy Land." Mrs.
Jeffrey, too, was busy. In secret she had labored at the rent made
by her foot in the flag of bygone days, and now, perspiring at every
pore, she dragged it up the tower stairs, planting it herself upon the
housetop, where side by side with the royal banner it waved in the
summer breeze. And this she did, not because she cared aught for the
cable, in which she "didn't believe" and declared "would never work,"
but because she would celebrate Margaret's wedding-day, and so make
some amends for her interference when once before the "Stars and
Stripes" had floated above the old stone house.

And thus it was, amid smiles and tears, amid bells and drums, and
waving flags and merry song, amid noisy shout and booming guns, that
double bridal day was kept; and when the sun went down it left a glory
on the western clouds, as if they, too, had donned their best attire
in honor of the union.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is moonlight on the land--glorious, beautiful moonlight. On Hagar's
peaceful grave it falls, and glancing from the polished stone shines
across the fields upon the old stone house, where all is cheerless
now, and still. No life--no sound--no bounding step--no gleeful song.
All is silent, all is sad. The light of the household has departed;
it went with the hour when first to each other the lonesome servants
said, "Margaret is gone."

Yes, she is gone, and all through the darkened rooms there is found no
trace of her, but away to the eastward the moonlight falls upon the
sea, where a noble vessel rides. With sails unfurled to the evening
breeze, it speeds away--away from the loved hearts on the shore which
after that bark, and its precious freight, have sent many a throb of
love. Upon the deck of that gallant ship there stands a beautiful
bride, looking across the water with straining eye, and smiling
through her tears on him who wipes those tears away, and whispers in
her ear, "I will be more to you, my wife, than they have ever been."

So, with the love-light shining on her heart, and the moonlight
shining on the wave, we bid adieu to one who bears no more the name of
Maggie Miller.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Maggie Miller" ***

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