Louis Kennedy, weeping that his mother was forgotten, had nothing to fear from Maude Glendower, for a child of Matty Remington was a sacred trust to her, and when as the doctor bade her good-night he said again, "You will find a great contrast between your home and mine," she answered, "I shall be contented if Maude and Louis are there."
"And Nellie, too," the doctor added, unwilling that she should be overlooked.
"Yes, Nellie too," the lady answered, the expression of her mouth indicating that Nellie too was an object of indifference to her.
The doctor is gone, his object is accomplished, and at the Mansion House near by he sleeps quietly and well. But the lady, Maude Glendower, oh, who shall tell what bitter tears she wept, or how in her in-most soul she shrank from the man she had chosen. And yet there was nothing repulsive in him, she knew. He was fine-looking,-- he stood well in the world,--he was rich while she was poor. But not for this alone had she promised to be his wife. To hold Maude Remington within her arms, to look into her eyes, to call his daughter child, this was the strongest reason of them all. And was it strange that when at last she slept she was a girl again, looking across the college green to catch a glimpse of one whose indifference had made her what she was, a selfish, scheming, cold- hearted woman.
There was another interview next morning, and then the doctor left her, but not until with her soft hand in his, and her shining eyes upon his face, she said to him, "You think your home is not a desirable one for me. Can't you fix it up a little? Are there two parlors, and do the windows come to the floor? I hope your carriage horses are in good condition, for I am very fond of driving. Have you a flower garden? I anticipate much pleasure in working among the plants. Oh, it will be so cool and nice in the country. You have an ice-house, of course."
Poor doctor! Double parlors, low windows, ice-house, and flower garden he had none, while the old carryall had long since ceased to do its duty, and its place was supplied by an open buggy, drawn by a sorrel nag. But Maude Glendower could do with him what Katy and Matty could not have done, and after his return to Laurel Hill he was more than once closeted with Maude, to whom he confided his plan of improving the place, asking her if she thought the profits of next year's crop of wheat and wool would meet the whole expense. Maude guessed at random that it would, and as money in prospect seems not quite so valuable as money in hand, the doctor finally concluded to follow out Maude Glendower's suggestions, and greatly to the surprise of the neighbors, the repairing process commenced.
The October sun had painted the forest trees with the gorgeous tints of autumn and the November winds had changed them to a more sober hue ere J.C. De Vere came again to Laurel Hill. Very regularly he wrote to Maude--kind, loving letters, which helped to cheer her solitary life. Nellie still remained with Mrs. Kelsey, and though she had so far forgiven her stepsister as to write to her occasionally, she still cherished toward her a feeling of animosity for having stolen away her lover.
On his return to Rochester J.C. De Vere had fully expected that his engagement would be the theme of every tongue, and he had prepared himself for the attack. How, then, was he surprised to find that no one had the least suspicion of it, though many joked him for having quarreled with Nellie as they were sure he had done, by his not returning when she did.