Her name was Maude Glendower, and years ago she won his love, leading him on and on until at last he paid her the highest honor a man can pay a woman--he offered her his heart, his hand, his name. But she refused him--scornfully, contemptuously, refused him, and he learned afterward that she had encouraged him for the sake of bringing another man to terms!--and that man, whose name the doctor never knew, was a college student not yet twenty-one.
"I hated her then," said he, "hated this Maude Glendower, for her deception; but I could not forget her, and after Katy died I sought her again. She was the star of Saratoga, and no match for me. This I had sense enough to see, so I left her in her glory, and three years after married your departed mother. Maude Glendower has never married, and at the age of forty has come to her senses, and signified her willingness to become my wife--or, that is to say, I have been informed by my sister that she probably would not refuse me a second time. Now, Maude Remington, I have told you this because I must talk with someone, and as I before remarked, you are a girl of sense, and will keep the secret. It is a maxim of mine, when anything is to be done, to do it; so I shall visit Miss Glendower immediately, and if I like her well enough I shall marry her at once. Not while I am gone, of course, but very soon. I shall start for Troy one week from to-day, and I wish you would attend a little to my wardrobe; it's in a most lamentable condition. My shirts are all worn out, my coat is rusty, and last Sunday I discovered a hole in my pantaloons--"
"Dr. Kennedy," exclaimed Maude, interrupting him," you surely do not intend to present yourself before the fastidious Miss Glendower with those old shabby clothes. She would say No sooner than she did before. You must have an entire new suit. You can afford it, too, for you have not had one since mother died."
Dr. Kennedy was never in a condition to be so easily coaxed as now. Maude Glendower had a place in his heart, which no other woman bad ever held, and that very afternoon the village merchant was astonished at the penurious doctor's inquiring the prices of the finest broadcloth in his store. It seemed a great deal of money to pay, but Maude Remington at his elbow and Maude Glendower in his mind conquered at last, and the new suit was bought, including vest, hat, boots, and all. There is something in handsome clothes very satisfactory to most people, and the doctor, when arrayed in his, was conscious of a feeling of pride quite unusual to him. On one point, however, he was obstinate, "he would not spoil them by wearing them on the road, when he could just as well dress at the hotel."
So Maude, between whom and himself there was for the time being quite an amicable understanding, packed them in his trunk, while Hannah and Louis looked on wondering what it could mean.
"The Millennial is comin', or else he's goin' a-courtin'," said Hannah, and satisfied that she was right she went back to the kitchen, while Louis, catching at once at her idea, began to cry, and laying his head on his sister's lap begged of her to tell him if what Hannah had said were true.
To him it seemed like trampling on the little grave beneath the willows, and it required all Maude's powers of persuasion to dry his tears and soothe the pain which every child must feel when first they know that the lost mother, whose memory they so fondly cherish, is to be succeeded by another.
She was a most magnificent looking woman, as she sat within her richly furnished room on that warm September night, now gazing idly dawn the street and again bending her head to catch the first sound of footsteps on the stairs. Personal preservation had been the great study of her life, and forty years had not dimmed the luster of her soft, black eyes, or woven one thread of silver among the luxuriant curls which clustered in such profusion around her face and neck. Gray hairs and Maude Glendower had nothing in common, and the fair, round cheek, the pearly teeth, the youthful bloom, and white, uncovered shoulders seemed to indicate that time had made an exception in her favor, and dropped her from its wheel.