Mary J. Holmes
Part 2 out of 4
might please you."
"Oh! they do, they do!" Maddy replied. "They almost make me well. Tell
him how much I thank him, and like him too, though I never saw him."
The doctor opened his lips to tell her she had seen him, but changed
his mind ere the words were uttered. She might not think as well of
Guy, he thought, and there was no harm in keeping it back.
So Maddy had no suspicion that the face she thought of so much
belonged to Guy Remington. She had never seen him, of course; but she
hoped she would some time, so as to thank him for his generosity to
her grandfather and his kindness to herself. Then, as she remembered
the message she had sent him, she began to think that it sounded too
familiar, and said to the doctor:
"If you please, don't tell Mr. Remington that I said I liked him--only
that I thank him. He would think it queer for a poor girl like me to
send such word to him. He is very rich, and handsome, and splendid,
"Yes, Guy's rich and handsome, and everybody likes him. We were in
"You were?" Maddy exclaimed. "Then you know him well, and Jessie, and
you've been to Aikenside often? There's nothing in the world I want so
much as to go to Aikenside. They say it is so beautiful."
"Maybe I'll carry you up there some day when you are strong enough to
ride," the doctor answered, thinking of his light buggy at home, and
wondering he had not used it more, instead of always riding on
Dr. Holbrook looked much older than he was, and to Maddy he seemed
quite fatherly, so that the idea of riding with him, aside from the
honor it might be to her, struck her much as riding with Farmer Green
would have done. The doctor, too, imagined that his proposition was
prompted solely from disinterested motives, but he found himself
wondering how long it would be before Maddy would be able to ride a
little distance, just over the hill and back. He was tiring her all
out talking to her; but somehow it was very delightful there in that
sick room, with the summer sunshine stealing through the window and
falling upon the soft reddish-brown head resting on the pillows. Once
he fixed those pillows, arranging them so nicely that grandma, who had
come in from her hens and yeast cakes, declared "he was as handy as a
woman," and after receiving a few general directions with regard to
the future, "guessed, if he wasn't in a hurry, she'd leave him with
Maddy a spell, as there were a few chores she must do."
The doctor knew that at least a dozen individuals were waiting for him
that moment; but still he was in no hurry, he said, and so for half an
hour longer he sat there talking of Guy, and Jessie, and Aikenside,
and wondering he had never before observed how very becoming a white
wrapper was to sick girls like Maddy Clyde. Had he been asked the
question, he could not have told whether his other patients were
habited in buff, or brown, or tan color; but he knew all about Maddy's
garb, and thought the dainty frill around her slender throat the
prettiest "puckered piece" that he had ever seen. How, then, was Dr.
Holbrook losing his heart to that little girl of fourteen and a half?
He did not think so. Indeed, he did not think anything about his
heart, though thoughts of Maddy Clyde were pretty constantly with him,
as after leaving her he paid his round of visits.
The Aikenside carriage was standing at Mrs. Conner's gate when he
returned, and Jessie came running out to meet him, followed by Guy,
while Agnes, in the most becoming riding habit, sat by the window
looking as unconcerned at his arrival as if it were not the very event
for which she had been impatiently waiting, Jessie was a great pet
with the doctor, and, lifting her lightly in his arms, he kissed her
forehead where the golden curls were clustering and said to her:
"I have seen Maddy Clyde. She asked for you, and why you do not come
to see her, as you promised."
"Mother won't let me," Jessie answered. "She says they are not fit
associates for a Remington."
There was a sudden flash of contempt on the doctor's face, and a gleam
of wrath in Agnes' eyes as she motioned Jessie to be silent, and then
gracefully received the doctor, who by this time was in the room. As
if determined to monopolize the conversation, and keep it from turning
on the Markhams, Agnes rattled on for nearly fifteen minutes, scarcely
allowing Guy a chance for uttering a word. But Guy bided his time, and
seized the first favorable opportunity to inquire after Madeline.
She was improving rapidly, the doctor said, adding: "You ought to have
seen her delight when I gave her your bouquet."
"Indeed," and Agnes bridled haughtily; "I did not know that Guy was in
the habit of sending bouquets to such as this Clyde girl. I really
must report him to Miss Atherstone."
Guy's seat was very near to Agnes, and while a cloud overspread his
fine features, he said to her in an aside:
"Please say in your report that the worst thing about this Clyde girl
is that she aspires to be a teacher, and possibly a governess."
There was an emphasis on the last word which silenced Agnes and set
her to beating her French gaiter on the carpet; while Guy, turning
back to the doctor, replied to his remark:
"She was pleased, then?"
"Yes; she must be vastly fond of flowers, though I sometimes fancied
the fact of being noticed by you afforded almost as much satisfaction
as the bouquet itself. She evidently regards you as a superior being,
and Aikenside as a second Paradise, and asking innumerable questions
about you and Jessie, too."
"Did she honor me with an inquiry?" Agnes asked, her tone indicative
of sarcasm, though she was greatly interested as well as relieved by
"Yes; she said she heard that Jessie's mother was a beautiful woman,
and asked if you were not born in England."
"She's mixed me up with Lucy. Guy, you must go down and enlighten
her," Agnes said, laughing merrily and appearing more at ease than she
had before since Maddy Clyde had been the subject of conversation.
Guy did not go down to Honedale--but fruit and flowers, and once a
bottle of rare old wine, found their way to the old red cottage,
always brought by Guy's man, Duncan, and always accompanied with Mr.
Remington's compliments. Once, hidden among the rosebuds, was a
childish note from Jessie, some of it printed and some in the uneven
hand of a child just commencing to write.
It was as follows:
"DEAD MADDY: I think that is such a pretty name, and so does Guy, and
so does the doctor, too. I want to come see you, but mamma won't let
me. I think of you ever so much, and so does Guy, I guess, for he
sends you lots of things. Guy is a nice brother, and is most as old as
mamma. Ain't that funny? You know my first ma is dead. The doctor
tells us about you when he comes to Aikenside. I wish he'd come
oftener, for I love him a bushel--don't you? Yours respectfully,
"JESSIE AGNES REMINGTON.
"P. S.--I am going to tuck this in just for fun, right among the buds,
where you must look for it."
This note Maddy read and reread until she knew it by heart,
particularly the part relating to Guy. Hitherto she had not
particularly liked her name, greatly preferring that it should have
been Eliza Ann, or Sarah Jane; but the knowing that Guy Remington
fancied it made a vast difference, and did much toward reconciling
her. She did not even see the clause, "and the doctor, too." His
attentions and concern she took as a matter of course, so quietly and
so constantly had they been given. The day was very long now which did
not bring him to the cottage; but she missed him much as she would
have missed her brother, if she had had one, though her pulse always
quickened and her cheeks glowed when she heard him at the gate. The
inner power did not lie deeper than a great friendliness for one who
had been instrumental in saving her life. They had talked over the
matter of her examination, the doctor blaming himself more than was
necessary for his ignorance as to what was required of a teacher; but
when she asked who was his proxy, he had again answered, evasively: "A
friend from Boston."
And this he did to shield Guy, whom he knew was enshrined in the
little maiden's heart as a paragon of all excellence.
Latterly the doctor had taken to driving in his buggy, and when Maddy
was strong enough he took her with him one day, himself adjusting the
shawl which grandma wrapped around her, and pulling a little farther
on the white sunbonnet which shaded the sweet, pale face, where the
roses were just beginning to bloom again. The doctor was very happy
that morning, and so, too, was Maddy, talking to him upon the theme of
which she never tired, Guy Remington, Jessie and Aikenside. Was it as
beautiful a place as she had heard it was, and didn't he think it
would be delightful to live there?
"I suppose Mr. Guy will be bringing a wife there some day when he
finds one," and leaning back in the buggy Maddy heaved a little sigh,
not at thoughts of Guy Remington's wife, but because she began to feel
tired, and thus gave vent to her weariness.
The doctor, however, did not so construe it. He heard the sigh, and
for the first time when listening to her as she talked of Guy, a keen
throb of pain shot through his heart, a something as near akin to
jealousy as it was possible for him then to feel. But all unused as he
was to the workings of love he did not at that moment dream of such an
emotion in connection with Madeline Clyde. He only knew that something
affected him unpleasantly, prompting him, for some reason, to tell
Maddy Clyde about Lucy Atherstone, who, in all probability, would one
day come to Aikenside as its mistress.
"Yes, Guy will undoubtedly marry," he began, just as over the top of
the easy hill they were ascending horses' heads were visible, and the
Aikenside carriage appeared in view. "There he is now," he exclaimed,
adding quickly: "No, I am mistaken, there's only a lady inside. It
must be Agnes."
It was Agnes driving out alone, for the sole purpose of passing a
place which had a singular attraction for her, the old, red cottage in
Honedale. She recognized the doctor, and guessed whom he had with him,
Putting up her glass, for which she had no more need than Jessie, she
scrutinized the little figure bundled up in shawls, while she smiled
her sweetest smile upon the doctor, showing to good advantage her
white teeth, and shaking back her wealth of curls with the air and
manner of a young coquettish girl.
"Oh, what a handsome lady! Who is she?" Maddy asked, turning to look
after the carriage now swiftly descending the hill.
"That was Jessie's mother, Mrs. Agnes Remington," the doctor replied.
"She'll feel flattered with your compliment."
"I did not mean to flatter. I said what I thought. She is handsome,
beautiful, and so young, too. Was that a gold bracelet which flashed
so on her arm?"
The doctor presumed it was, though he had not noticed. Gold bracelets
were not new to him as they were to Maddy, who continued:
"I wonder if I'll ever wear a bracelet like that?"
"Would you like to?" the doctor asked, glancing at the small white
wrist, around which the dark calico sleeve was closely buttoned, and
thinking how much prettier and modest-looking it was than Agnes'
half-bare arms, where the ornaments were flashing.
"Y-e-s," came hesitatingly from Maddy, who had a strong passion for
jewelry. "I guess I would, though grandpa classes all such things with
the pomps and vanities which I must renounce when I get to be good."
"And when will that be?" the doctor asked.
Again Maddy sighed, as she replied: "I cannot tell. I thought so much
about it while I was sick, that is, when I could think; but now I'm
better, it goes away from me some. I know it is wrong, but I cannot
help it. I've seen only a bit of pomp and vanity, but I must say that
I like what I have seen, and I wish to see more. It's very wicked, I
know," she kept on, as she met the queer expression of the doctor's
face;" and I know you think me so bad. You are good--a Christian, I
There was a strange light in the doctor's eye as he answered, half
sadly: "No, Maddy, I am not what you call a Christian, I have not
renounced the pomps and vanities yet."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," and Maddy's eyes expressed all the sorrow she
professed to feel. "You ought to be, now you've got so old."
The doctor colored crimson, and stopping his horse under the dim
shadow of a maple in a little hollow, he said:
"I'm not so very old, Maddy; only twenty-five--only ten years older
than yourself; and Agnes' husband was more than twenty years her
The doctor did not know why he dragged that last in, when it had
nothing whatever to do with their conversation; but as the most
trivial thing often leads to great results, so far from the pang
caused by Maddy's thinking him so old, was born the first real
consciousness he had ever had that the little girl beside him was very
dear, and that the ten years difference between them might prove a
most impassable gulf. With this feeling, it was exceedingly painful
for him to hear Maddy's sudden exclamation:
"Oh, oh! over twenty years--that's dreadful. She must be most glad
he's dead. I would not marry a man more than five years older than I
"Not if you loved him, and he loved you very, very dearly?" the doctor
asked, his voice low and tender in its tone.
Wholly unsuspicious of the wild storm beating in his heart, Maddy
untied her white sunbonnet, and, taking it in her lap, smoothed back
her soft hair, saying, with a long breath: "Oh! I'm so hot," and then,
as just thinking of his question, replied: "I shouldn't love him--I
couldn't. Grandma is five years younger than grandpa, mother was five
years younger than father, Mrs. Green is five years younger than Mr.
Green, and, oh! ever so many. You are warm, too; ain't you?" and she
turned her innocent eyes full upon the doctor, who was wiping from his
lips the great drops of water, induced not so much by the heat as by
the apparent hopelessness of the love he now knew was growing in his
heart for Maddy Clyde. Recurring again to Agnes, Maddy said: "I wonder
why she married that old man? It is worse than if you were to marry
"Money and position were the attractions, I imagine," the doctor said.
"Agnes was poor, and esteemed it a great honor to be made Mrs.
"Poor, was she?" Maddy rejoined. "Then maybe Mr. Guy will some day
marry a poor girl. Do you think he will?"
Again Lucy Atherstone trembled on the doctor's lips, but he did not
speak of her--it was preposterous that Maddy should have any thoughts
of Guy Remington, who was quite as old as himself, besides being
engaged, and with this comforting assurance the doctor turned his
horse in the direction of the cottage, for Maddy was growing tired and
needed to be at home.
"Perhaps you'll some time change your mind about people so much older,
and if you do you'll remember our talk this morning," he said, as he
drove up at last before the gate.
Oh, yes! Maddy would never forget that morning or the nice ride they'd
had. She had enjoyed it so much, and she thanked him many times for
his kindness, as she stood waiting for him to drive away, feeling no
tremor whatever when at parting he took and held her hand, smoothing
it gently, and telling her it was growing fat and plump again. He was
a very nice doctor, much better than she had imagined, she thought, as
she went slowly to the house and entered the neat kitchen, where her
grandmother sat shelling peas for dinner, and her grandfather in his
leathern chair was whispering over his weekly paper.
"Did you meet a grand lady in a carriage?" grandma asked, as Maddy sat
down beside her.
"Yes; and Dr. Holbrook said it was Mrs. Remington, from Aikenside, Mr.
Guy's stepmother, and that she was more than twenty years younger than
her husband--isn't it dreadful? I thought so; but the doctor didn't
seem to," and in a perfectly artless manner Maddy repeated much of the
conversation which had passed between the doctor and herself,
appealing to her grandma to know if she had not taken the right side
of the argument.
"Yes, child, you did," and grandma's hands lingered among the light
green peas in her pan, as if she were thinking of an entirely foreign
subject. "I knows nothing about this Mrs. Remington, only that she
stared a good deal at the house as she went by, even looking at us
through a glass, and lifting her spotted veil after she got by. She
may have been as happy as a queen with her man, but as a general thing
these unequal matches don't work, and had better not be thought on.
S'posin' you should think you was in love with somebody, and in a few
years, when you got older, be sick of him. It might do him a sight of
harm. That's what spoilt your poor Great-uncle Joseph, who's been in
the hospital at Worcester goin' on nine years."
"It was!" and Maddy's face was all aglow with the interest she always
evinced whenever mention was made of the one great living sorrow of
her grandmother's life--the shattered intellect and isolation from the
world of her youngest brother, who, as she said, had for nearly nine
long years been an inmate of a madhouse.
"Tell me about it," Maddy continued, bringing a pillow, and lying down
upon the faded lounge beneath the window.
"There is no great to tell, only he was many years younger than I.
He's only forty-one now, and was thirteen years older than the girl he
wanted. Joseph was smart and handsome, and a lawyer, and folks said a
sight too good for the girl, whose folks were just nothing, but she
had a pretty face, and her long curls bewitched him. She couldn't have
been older than you when he first saw her, and she was only sixteen
when they got engaged. Joseph's life was bound up in her; he worshiped
the very air she breathed, and when she mittened him, it almost took
his life. He was too old for her, she said, and then right on top of
that we heard after a little that she married some big bug, I never
knew who, plenty old enough to be her father. That settled it with
Joseph; he went into a kind of melancholy, grew worse and worse, till
we put him in the hospital, usin' his little property to pay the bill
until it was all gone, and now he's on charity, you know, exceptin'
what we do. That's what 'tis about your Uncle Joseph, and I warn all
young girls of thirteen or fourteen not to think too much of nobody.
They are bound to get sick of 'em, and it makes dreadful work."
Grandma had an object in telling this to Maddy, for she was not blind
to the nature of the doctor's interest in her child, and though it
gratified her pride, she felt that it must not be, both for his sake
and Maddy's, so she told the sad story of Uncle Joseph as a warning to
Maddy, who could scarcely be said to need it. Still it made an
impression on her, and all that afternoon she was thinking of the
unfortunate man, whom she had seen but once, and that in his prison
home, where she had been with her grandfather the only time she had
ever ridden in the cars. He had taken her in his arms then, she
remembered, and called her his little Sarah. That must have been the
name of his treacherous betrothed. She would ask if it were not so,
and she did.
"Yes, Sarah Morris, that was her name, and her face was handsome as a
doll," grandma replied, and wondering if she were as beautiful as
Jessie, or Jessie's mother, Maddy went back to her reveries of the
poor maniac, whom Sarah Morris had wronged so cruelly.
SHADOWINGS OF WHAT WAS TO BE.
It was very pleasant at Aikenside that afternoon, and the cool breeze
blowing from the miniature fish pond in one corner of the grounds,
came stealing into the handsome parlors, where Agnes Remington, in
tasteful toilet, reclined languidly upon the crimson-hued sofa,
bending her graceful head to suit the height of Jessie, who was
twining some flowers among her curls, and occasionally appealing to
Guy to know "if it was not pretty."
In his favorite seat in the pleasant bay window, opening into the
garden, Guy was sitting, apparently reading a book, though his eyes
did not move very rapidly down the page, for his thoughts were on some
other object. When his pretty stepmother first came to Aikenside,
three months before, he had been half sorry, for he knew just how his
quiet would be disturbed, but as the weeks went by, and he became
accustomed to Jessie's childish prattle and frolicsome ways, while
even Agnes herself was not a bad picture for his handsome home, he
began to feel how he should miss them when they were gone, Jessie
particularly, who made so much sunshine wherever she went, and who was
very dear to the heart of the half-brother. Full well he knew Agnes
would rather stay there, that her income did not warrant as luxurious
a home as he could give her, and that by remaining at Aikenside during
the warmer season she could afford to board through the winter in
Boston, where her personal attractions secured her quite as much
attention as was good for her. Had she been more agreeable to him he
would not have hesitated to offer her a home as long as she chose to
remain, but, as it was, he felt that Lucy Atherstone would be much
happier alone with him. Lucy, however, was not coming yet, and until
she did come Agnes perhaps might stay. It certainly would be better
for Jessie, who could have a teacher in the house, and it was upon
these matters that he was reflecting.
As if divining his thoughts Agnes said to him rather abruptly:
"Guy, Ellen Laurie writes me that they are all going to Saratoga for a
time, and then to Newport, and she wished I would join them. Do you
think I can afford it?"
"Oh, yes, that's splendid, for I'll stay here while you are gone, and
I like Aikenside so much better than Boston. Mamma can afford it,
can't she, Guy?" Jessie exclaimed, dropping her flowers and springing
upon her brother's knee.
Smoothing her bright hair and pinching her soft cheek, Guy replied:
"That means, I suppose, that I can afford it, don't it? but, puss, I
was thinking just now about your staying here where you really do
Then turning to Agnes he made some inquiries as to the plans proposed
by the Laurie's, ascertaining that Agnes' plan was as follows: He
should invite her to go with him to Saratoga, or Newport, or both, and
that Jessie meantime should remain at Aikenside, just as she wished to
Guy could not find much pleasure in escorting Agnes to a fashionable
watering place, particularly as he was, of course, expected to pay the
bills, but he sometimes did unselfish things; and as he had not been
very gracious to her on the occasion of her last visit to Aikenside,
he decided to martyr himself and go to Saratoga. But who would care
for Jessie? She must not be left wholly with the servants. A governess
of some kind must be provided, and he was about speaking of this to
Agnes, when the doctor was announced, and the conversation turned into
another channel. Agnes Remington would not have confessed bow much she
was interested in Dr. Holbrook. Indeed, only that morning in reply to
a joking remark made to her by Guy, she had petulantly exclaimed:
"The idea of my caring for him, except as a friend and physician. Why,
he must be younger than I am, or at most about my age. A mere boy, as
And yet, in making her toilet that afternoon, she had arranged every
part of her dress with direct reference to the "mere boy," her heart
beating faster every time she remembered the white sunbonnet and the
Scotch plaid shawl she had seen beside him in the drive that morning.
Little Maddy Clyde would hardly have credited the story had she been
told that the beautiful lady from Aikenside was positively jealous of
Dr. Holbrook's attentions to herself; yet so it was, and the jealousy
was all the more bitter when she remembered who Madeline was, and how
startled that aged couple of the red cottage would be, could they know
who she was. But they did not; she was quite sure of that; and so she
had ventured to pass their door, her heart throbbing with a strange
sensation as the old waymarks came in view, waymarks which she
remembered so well, and around which so many sad memories were
clustering. Agnes was not all bad. Indeed, she was scarcely worse than
most vain, selfish fashionable women; and all that day, since her
return from riding, haunting, remorseful thoughts of the long ago had
been clinging to her, making her more anxious to leave that
neighborhood for a time at least, and in scenes of gayety forget, if
possible, that such things as broken vows or broken hearts existed.
The arrival of the doctor dissipated her sadness in a measure, and
after greeting him with her usual expressions of welcome, she said,
half playfully, half spitefully:
"By the way, doctor, who was that old lady, all bent up double in
shawls and things, whom you were taking out for an airing?"
Guy looked up quickly, wondering where Agnes could have seen the
doctor, who, conscious of a sudden pang, answered, naturally:
"That old lady, bent double and bundled in shawls, was young Maddy
Clyde, to whom I thought a short ride might do good."
"Oh, yes; that patient about whom Jessie has gone mad. I am glad to
have seen her."
There was unmistakable irony in her voice now, and turning from her to
Guy, the doctor continued:
"The old man was telling me to-day of your kindness in saving his
house from being sold. It was like you, Guy; and I wish I, too, had
the means to be generous, for they are so very poor."
"I'll tell you," said Jessie, who had stolen to the doctor's side, and
lain her fat, bare arm upon his shoulder, as if he had been Guy. "You
might give Maddy the doctor's bill. I remember how mamma cried, and
said she never could pay papa's bill when it was sent in."
"Jessie!" said Agnes and Guy, simultaneously, while the doctor
laughingly pulled one of her long, bright curls.
"Yes, I could do that. I'd thought of it, but they might not accept
it, as they are proud as well as poor."
"Mr. Markham has no one to care for but his wife and this Madeline,
has he?" Agnes asked, and the doctor replied:
"I did not suppose so until a few days since, when I learned from a
Mr. Green that Mrs. Markham's youngest and now only brother has been
an inmate of a lunatic asylum for years; and that though they cannot
pay his entire expenses, of course they do all they can toward
providing him with comforts."
"What is a lunatic asylum, mother? What does he mean?" Jessie asked,
but it was the doctor, not Agnes, who explained to the child what a
lunatic asylum was.
"Is insanity hereditary in this family?" Guy asked.
Agnes' cheek was very white, though her face was fumed away as the
doctor answered: "I do not know; I did not ask the cause. I only heard
the fact that such a man as Joseph Mortimer exists."
For a moment there was silence in the room, and then Guy told the
doctor of what himself and Agnes were speaking when he arrived.
"I suppose it's of no use asking you to join us for a week or so."
"There was not," the doctor said. "His patients needed him and he must
stay at home."
"Doctor, how would this Maddy Clyde do to stay here with Jessie while
we are gone, partly as companion and partly as her teacher?" was Guy's
next question, which brought Mrs. Agnes at once from her reverie.
"Guy," she exclaimed, "are you crazy? That child Jessie's governess!
No, indeed! I shall have a teacher from Boston--one whose manners and
style are unexceptionable."
Guy had a will of his own, and few could provoke it into action as
effectually as Agnes, who, in thus opposing him, was working directly
against herself. Paying her no attention, except to bow in token that
he heard, Guy asked Jessie her opinion.
"Oh, it will be splendid! Can she come to-morrow? I shan't care how
long you are gone if I can have Maddy here, and doctor will come up
every day, will you, doctor?" and the soft eyes looked up pleadingly
into the doctor's face.
"It is not settled yet that Maddy comes," the doctor replied, adding
as an answer to Guy's question: "If Agnes could be willing, I do not
think you could do better than to secure Miss Clyde's services. Two
children will thus be made happy, for Maddy, as I have told you,
thinks Aikenside must be a little lower only than Paradise. I shall be
happy to open negotiations, if you say so."
"I'll ride down and let you know to-morrow," Guy said. "These domestic
matters, where there is a difference of thinking, had better be
discussed alone," and he turned good-humoredly toward Agnes, who knew
it was useless to oppose him then.
But oppose him she did that night, after the doctor had gone, taking
at first the high stand that sooner than have a country girl like
Maddy Clyde associated daily with her daughter, whether as teacher or
companion, she would give up Saratoga and stay at home. Guy could not
explain why it was that opposition from Agnes always aroused all his
powers of antagonism. Yet so it was, and now he was as fully
determined that Maddy Clyde should come to Aikenside as Agnes was that
she should not. He knew, too, how to attain this end without further
"Very well," was his quiet reply, "you can remain at home if you
choose, of course. I had intended taking you myself, wherever you
wished to go; and not only that, but I was about to ask how much was
needed for the necessary additions to your wardrobe, but if you prefer
remaining here to giving up a most unfounded prejudice against a girl
who never harmed you, and whom Jessie already loves, you can do so,"
and Guy walked from the room, leaving Agnes first to cry, then to
pout, then to think it all over, and finally to decide that going to
Saratoga and Newport under the protection of Guy, was better than
carrying out a whim, which, after all, was nothing but a whim.
Accordingly next morning as Guy was in his library reading his papers,
she went tripping up to him, and folding her white hands upon his
shoulder, said, very prettily:
"I was real cross last night, and let my foolish pride get the
ascendency, but I have considered the matter, and am willing for this
Miss Clyde to come, provided you still think it best."
Guy's mustache hid the mischievous smile lurking about his mouth, and
he received the concession as graciously as if he did not know
perfectly the motive which impelled it. As she had commenced being
amiable she seemed determined to continue it, and offered herself to
write a note soliciting Maddy's services,
"As I am Jessie's mother, it will be perfectly proper for me to hire
and manage her," she said, and as Guy acquiesced in this suggestion,
she sat down at the writing desk, and commenced a very pleasantly
worded note, in which Miss Clyde was informed that she had been
recommended as a suitable person with whom to leave Jessie during the
summer and a part of the autumn, and that she, Jessie's mother, wrote
to ask if for the sum of one dollar per week she were at liberty to
come to Aikenside as governess, or waiting-maid.
"Or what?" Guy asked, as she read to him what she had written. "Maddy
Clyde will not be waiting-maid in this house, neither will she come
for one dollar per week as you propose. I hire her myself. I have
taken a fancy to the girl. Commence again; substitute companion for
waiting-maid, and offering her three dollars per week instead of one."
As long as Guy paid the bill Agnes could not demur to the price,
although remembering a time when she had taught a district school for
one dollar per week and boarded around besides. She thought three
dollars far too much. But Guy had commanded, and him she generally
obeyed, so she wrote another note, which he approved, and sealing it
up sent it by a servant down to the red cottage.
The reception of Agnes' note produced quite a commotion at the red
cottage, where various opinions were expressed as to the prime mover
of the plan, grandpa thinking that as Mrs. Agnes wrote the note, and
was most interested in it, she, of course, had suggested it, grandma
insisting that it was Jessie's doings, while Maddy, when she said
anything, agreed with her grandmother, though away down in her heart
was a tiny spot warm with the half belief that Mr. Guy himself had
first thought of having her at Aikenside, where she would rather go
than to any other spot in the wide world; to Aikenside, with its
shaven lawn, almost large enough to be called a park, with its shaded
paths and winding walks, its costly flowers and running vines, its
fountains and statuary, its fish pond and grove, its airy rooms, its
marbled hall, its winding stairs, with banisters of rosewood, its
cupola at the top, from which so many miles of hill and meadow land
could be discerned, its bay windows and long piazzas, its sweet-faced,
golden-haired Jessie, and its manly, noble Guy. Only the image of
Agnes, flashing in silk and diamonds was a flaw on the picture's fair
surface. From thoughts of her Maddy had insensibly shrank, until she
met her in the carriage, and then received the note asking her
services. These events wrought in her a change, and dread of Mrs.
Agnes passed away. She should like her, and she should be so happy at
Aikenside, for, of course, she was going, and she began to wish the
doctor would come so as to tell her how long before she would be
strong enough to perform the duties of teacher to little Jessie.
At first Grandpa Markham hesitated. It might do Maddy a deal of hurt
to go to Aikenside, he said, her humble home would look mean to her
after all that finery, while the temptations to vanity and ambition
would be greater there than at home; but Maddy put all his objections
aside, and long before the doctor came she had written to Mrs. Agnes
that she would go. The doctor could not understand why it was that in
Maddy's home he did not think as well of her going to Aikenside as he
had done the evening previous. She looked so bright, so pure, so
artless, sitting by her grandfather's knee, that it seemed a pity to
transplant her to another soil, while, hidden in his heart where even
he did not know it was hidden, was a fear of what might be the effect
of daily intercourse with Guy. Still he said it was the best thing for
her to do, and laughingly remarked that it was far better than
teaching the district school, and then he asked if she would ride
again that day; but to this Mrs. Markham objected. It was too soon,
she said, Maddy had hardly recovered from yesterday's fatigue,
suggesting that as the doctor was desirous of doing good to his
convalescent patients, he carry out poor old deaf Mary Barnes, who
complained that he stayed so long with the child at "granther
Markham's" as to have but a moment to spare for her.
Instantly the eyes of Mrs. Markham and the doctor met, the latter
feeling very uncomfortable, while the former was confirmed in the
suspicion raised by what Maddy told her the day before.
It was the doctor who carried Maddy's answer to Agnes, the doctor who
made all the succeeding arrangements, deciding that Maddy would not be
wholly strong until the very day fixed upon by Agnes for her departure
for Saratoga. For this Guy was sorry. It would have been an easy
matter for him to have ridden down to the cottage, and seen the girl
in whom he was beginning to feel so much interest that in his last
letter to Lucy he had mentioned her as about to become his sister's
governess; but he did not care to see her there. It seemed to him that
the surroundings of that slanting-roofed house did not belong to her,
and he would rather meet her in his own more luxurious home. But the
doctor's word was law, and so, on the first day of August he followed
Agnes and her three huge traveling trunks to the carriage, and was
driven from the house to which Maddy was coming that afternoon.
It was a long, tiresome ride, for grandpa, from Honedale to Aikenside,
and as he was not in his wife's secret, he accepted thankfully the
doctor's offer to take Maddy there himself. With this arrangement
Maddy was well pleased, as it would thus afford her the opportunity
she had so much desired, of talking with the doctor about his bill,
and asking him to wait until she had earned enough to pay it.
To the aged couple, parting for the first time with their darling, the
day was very sad, but they would not intrude their grief upon the
young girl looking so eagerly forward to the new life opening before
her; only grandpa's voice faltered a little when, in the morning
prayer, he commended his child to God, asking that she might be kept
from temptation, and that the new sights and scenes to which she was
going might not beget in her a love of the world's vanities, or a
disgust for her old home; but that she might come back to it the same
loving, happy child as she was then, and never be ashamed of the
parents to whom she was so dear. There was an answering sob from the
chair where Maddy knelt, and after the devotions were ended she wound
her arm around her grandfather's neck, and parting his silvery locks,
said to him, earnestly;
"Grandpa, do you think I could ever be ashamed of you and grandma?"
"I hope not, darling; it would break our hearts; but finery and things
is mighty apt to set folks up, and after you've walked a spell on them
velvet carpets, you'll no doubt think your feet make a big noise on
our bare kitchen floor."
"That may be, but I shan't be ashamed of you. No, not if I were Mrs.
Guy Remington herself." And Maddy emphasized her words with a kiss, as
she thought how nice it would be provided she were a widow, to be Mrs.
Guy Remington, and have her grandparents live at Aikenside with her.
"But, pshaw! I'll never be Mrs. anybody; and if I am, I'll have to
have a husband, which would be such a bother!" was her next mental
comment, as, leaving her grandfather, she went to help her grandmother
with the breakfast dishes, wondering when she would wipe those blue
cups again, and how she should probably feel when she did.
Quickly the morning passed, and just as the clock struck two the
doctor's buggy appeared over the hill. Up to this moment Maddy had
only been happy in anticipation; but when, with her shawl and bonnet
on, she stood waiting while the doctor fastened her little trunk, and
when she saw a tear on the wrinkled faces of both her grandparents,
her fortitude gave way; and 'mid a storm of sobs, she said her good-bys
and received her grandfather's blessing.
It was very pleasant that afternoon, for the summer breeze was blowing
cool across the fields, where the laborers were busy; and with the
elasticity of youth, Maddy's tears stopped their flowing, but not
until the dear old home had disappeared, and they were some distance
on the road to Aikenside.
"I wonder how I shall like Mrs. Remington and Mr. Guy?" was the first
remark she made.
"You'll not see them immediately. They left this morning for
Saratoga," the doctor replied.
"Left! Mr. Guy gone!" Maddy repeated in a disappointed tone.
"Are you very sorry?" the doctor asked, and Maddy replied:
"I did want to see him once; you know I never have."
It would be such a surprise to find that Guy was no other than the
terrible inspector, that he would not undeceive her, the doctor
thought; and so he relapsed into a thoughtful mood, from which Maddy
aroused him by breaking the subject of the unpaid bill, asking if he'd
please not trouble grandpa, but wait until she could pay it.
"Perhaps it's wrong asking it when you were so good, but if you only
will take me for payment," and Maddy's soft brown eyes were lifted to
"Yes, Maddy, I'll take you for payment," the doctor said, smiling,
half seriously, as his eyes rested fondly upon her.
Even then stupid Maddy did not understand him, but began to calculate
out loud how long it would take to earn the money. She'd heard people
say that the doctor charged a dollar a visit to Honedale, and he'd
been so many, many times, that it would take a great many weeks to pay
him; besides, there was the debt to Mr. Guy. She wanted to help pay
that, but did not see how she could, unless he waited, too. Did the
doctor think he would? It seemed terrible to the doctor that one so
young as Maddy should be harassed with the payment of debts, and he
felt a most intense desire for the right to shield her from all such
care, but he must not speak of it then; he'd rather she should remain
a little longer an artless child, confiding all her troubles to him as
if he had been her brother.
"There's Aikenside," he said, at last, and it was not long before they
passed through the gate, guarded by the great bronze lions, and struck
into the graveled road leading to the house.
"It's grander, finer, than I ever dreamed. Oh! if I could some time
have just such a home! and doctor, look! What does make that water go
up in the air so? Is it what they call a fountain?"
In her excitement Maddy had risen, and with one hand resting on the
doctor's shoulder, was looking around her eagerly. Guy Remington would
have laughed, and been gratified, too, could he have heard the
enthusiastic praises heaped upon his home by the little schoolgirl as
she drove up to his door. But Guy was away in the dusty cars, and only
Jessie stood on the piazza to receive her teacher. There were warm
words of welcome, kisses and hugs; and then Jessie led her friend to
the chamber she was to occupy.
"Mother wanted you to sleep the other side of the house, but Brother
Guy said no, you should have a pleasant room; and when Guy says a
thing, it's so. It's nice in here, and close to me. See, I'm right
here," and Jessie opened a door leading directly to her own sleeping
"Here's one trunk," she continued, as a servant brought up and set
down, a little contemptuously, the small hair-cloth box containing
Maddy's wardrobe. "Here's one; where's the rest?" and she was flying
after Tom, when Maddy stopped her, saying:
"I have but one--that's all."
"Only that little, teenty thing? How funny. Why, mamma carried three
most as big as my bed to Saratoga. You can't have many dresses. What
are you going to wear to dinner?"
"I've been to dinner." And Maddy looked up in some surprise.
"You have! We never have it till five, when Guy is at home; but now
they are gone, Mrs. Noah says we will have it at one, as folks ought
to do. To-day I coaxed her to wait till you come, and the table is all
set out so nicely for two. Can you carve, and do you like green turtle
Maddy was bewildered, but managed to reply that she could not carve,
that she never saw any green turtle soup, and that she supposed she
should wear to dinner the delaine she had on. "Why, we always change,
even Mrs. Noah," Jessie exclaimed, bending over the open trunk and
examining its contents.
Two calicoes, a blue muslin, a gingham and another delaine, beside the
one she had on. That was the sum total of Maddy's wardrobe, and Jessie
glanced at it a little ruefully as Maddy carefully shook out the
nicely folded dresses and laid them upon the bed. Here Mrs. Noah was
heard calling Jessie, who ran away leaving Maddy alone for a moment.
Maddy had seen the look Jessie gave her dresses, and for the first
time there dawned upon her mind the possibility that her plain
apparel, and ignorance of the ways of Aikenside might be to her the
cause of much mortification.
"And grandma said they were so nice, too--doing them up so carefully,"
she said, her lip beginning to quiver, and her eyes filling with
tears, as thoughts of home came rushing over her.
She could not force them back, and laying her head upon the top of the
despised hair trunk, she sobbed aloud. Guy Remington's private room
was in that hall, and as the doctor knew a book was to have been left
there for him, he took the liberty of getting it; passing Maddy's door
he heard the low sound of weeping, and looking in, saw her where she
sat or rather knelt upon the floor.
"Homesick so soon!" he said, advancing to her side, and then amid a
torrent of tears, the whole came out.
Maddy never could do as they did there, and everybody would laugh at
her so for an awkward thing; she never knew that folks ate dinner at
five instead of twelve--she should surely starve to death--she
couldn't carve--she could not eat mud-turtle soup, and she did not
know which dress to wear for dinner--would the doctor tell her? There
they were, and she pointed to the bed, only five, and she knew Jessie
thought it so mean.
Such was the substance of Maddy's passionate outpouring of her griefs
to the highly perplexed doctor, who, after quieting her somewhat,
ascertained that the greatest present trouble was the deciding what
dress was suitable to the occasion. The doctor had never made dress
his study, but as it happened he liked blue, and so suggested it, as
the one most likely to be becoming.
"That!" and Maddy looked confounded. "Why, grandma never let me wear
that, except on Sunday; that's my very best dress."
"Poor child; I'm not sure it was right for you to come here where the
life is so different from the quiet, unpretentious one you have led,"
the doctor thought, but he merely said: "It's my impression they wear
their best dresses here, all the time."
"But what will I do when that's worn out! Oh, dear, dear, I wish I had
not come!" and another impetuous fit of weeping ensued, in the midst
of which Jessie came back, greatly disturbed on Maddy's account, and
asking eagerly what was the matter.
Very adroitly the doctor managed to draw Jessie aside, while as well
as he was able he gave her a few hints with regard to her intercourse
with Maddy, and Jessie, who seemed intuitively to understand him, went
back to the weeping girl, soothing her much as a little mother would
have soothed her child. They would have such nice times, when Maddy
got used to their ways, which would not take long, and nobody would
laugh at her, she said, when Maddy expressed her fears on that point.
"You are too pretty even if you do make mistakes!" and then she went
into ecstasies over the blue muslin, which was becoming to Maddy, and
greatly enhanced her girlish beauty. The tear stains were all washed
away, Jessie using very freely her mother's _eau-de-cologne_, and
making Maddy's cheeks very red with rubbing, the nut-brown hair was
brushed until it shone like satin, a little narrow band of black
velvet ribbon was pinned about Maddy's snowy neck, and then she was
ready for that terrible ordeal, her first dinner at Aikenside. The
doctor was going to stay, and this helped to relieve her somewhat.
"You must come to the housekeeper's room and see her first," Jessie
said, and with a beating heart and brain bewildered by the elegancies
which met her at every turn, Maddy followed to where the dreaded Mrs.
Noah, in rustling back silk and a thread lace collar, sat sewing and
greatly enjoying the leisure she had in her master's absence.
Mrs. Noah knew who Maddy was, remembering the old man said that she
would not disgrace a drawing-room as fine as that at Aikenside. She
had discovered, too, that Mrs. Agnes was opposed to her coming, that
only Guy's determined will had brought her there; and this, if nothing
else, had disposed her to feel kindly toward the little governess. She
had expected to see her rather pretty, but was not prepared to find
her what she was. Maddy's was a singular type of beauty--a beauty
untarnished by any selfish, uncharitable, or suspicious feeling. Clear
and truthful as a mirror, her brown eyes looked into Mrs. Noah's,
while her low courtesy--so full of deference, found its way straight
to that motherly heart.
"I am glad to see you, Miss Clyde," she said, "very glad."
Maddy's lip quivered a little and her voice shook as she replied:
"Please call me Maddy. They do at home, and I shan't be quite so--so--"
She could not say "homesick," lest she should break out again into a
fit of crying, but Mrs. Noah understood her, and remembering her own
experience when first she went from home, she involuntarily stooped to
kiss the pure, white forehead of the girl, who henceforth was sure of
one friend at least at Aikenside.
The dinner was a success, so far as Maddy was concerned. Not a single
mistake did she perpetrate, though her cheeks burned painfully as she
felt the eyes of the polite waiters fixed so often upon her, and
fancied they might be laughing at her. But they were not, and thanks
to the kind-hearted Guy, they thought of her only with respect, as one
who was their superior and must be treated accordingly. Knowing how
different everything was at Aikenside from that to which she had been
accustomed, Guy, with the thoughtfulness natural to him, had taken the
precaution of speaking to each of the servants concerning Miss Clyde,
Jessie's teacher. As he could not be there himself when she first came
it would devolve upon them, more or less, to make it pleasant for her
by kind, civil attentions, he said, hinting at the dire displeasure
sure to fall on any one who should be guilty of a misdemeanor in that
direction. To Paul, the coachman, he had been particular in his
charges, telling him who Maddy was, and arguing that from the
insolence once given to the grandfather the offender was bound to be
more polite to the grandchild. The carriage was to be at hers and
Jessie's command, Paul never refusing a reasonable request to drive
the young ladies when and where they wished to go, while a pretty
little black pony, recently broken to the saddle for Agnes, was to be
at Miss Clyde's service, if she chose to have it. As Guy's slightest
wish was always obeyed, Maddy's chances for happiness were not small,
notwithstanding that she felt so desolate and lonely when the doctor
left her, and standing by Jessie she watched him with a swelling heart
until he was lost to view in the deepening twilight.
Feeling that she must be homesick, Mrs. Noah suggested that she try
the fine piano in the little music-room.
"Maybe you can't play, but you can drum 'Days of Absence,' as most
girls do," and opening the lid she bade Maddy "thump as long as she
Music was a delight to Maddy, who coveted nothing so much as a
knowledge of it, and sitting down upon the stool, she touched the
soft-toned instrument, ascertaining by her far several sweet chords,
and greatly astonishing Jessie, who wondered at her skill. Twice each
week a teacher came up from Devonshire to give lessons to Jessie, but
as yet she could only play one scale and a few simple bars. These she
attempted to teach to Maddy, who caught at them so quickly and
executed them so well that Jessie was delighted. Maddy ought to take
lessons, she said, and some time during the next day she took to Mrs.
Noah a letter which she had written to Guy. After going into ecstasies
over Maddy, saying she was the nicest kind of a girl, that she prayed
in the morning as well as at night, and looked so sweet in blue, she
asked if she couldn't take music lessons, too, advancing many reasons
why she should, one of which was that she could play now a great deal
better than herself.
It was several days before an answer came to this letter, and when it
did it brought Guy's consent for Maddy to take lessons, together with
a note for Mr. Simons, requesting him to consider Miss Clyde his
pupil, on the same terms with Jessie.
Though greatly pleased with Aikenside, and greatly attached to Jessie,
Maddy had had many hours of loneliness when her heart was back in the
humble cottage where she knew they were missing her so much, but now a
new world, a world of music, was suddenly opened before her, and the
homesickness all disappeared. It had been arranged with Mrs. Noah, by
Agnes, that Jessie should only study for two hours each day,
consequently Maddy had nearly all the time to herself, and well did
she improve it, making so rapid progress that Simons looked on amazed
declaring her case to be without a parallel, while Jessie was left far
behind. Indeed, after a short time Maddy might have been her teacher,
and was of much service to her in practicing her lessons.
Meanwhile the doctor came often to Aikenside, praising Maddy's
progress in music, and though he did not know a single note,
compelling himself to listen while with childlike satisfaction she
played him her last lesson. She was very happy now at Aikenside, where
all were so kind to her, and half wished that the family would always
remain as it was then, that Agnes and Guy would not come home, for
with their coming she felt there would be a change. It was nearly time
now to expect them. Indeed, Guy had written on one Saturday that they
should probably be home the next, and during the ensuing week
Aikenside presented that most uncomfortable phase of a house being
cleaned. Everything must be in order for Mr. Guy, Mrs. Noah said,
taking more pains with his rooms than with the remaining portion of
the building. Guy was her idol; nothing was too good for him, few
things quite good enough, and she said so much in his praise that
Maddy began to shrink from meeting him. What would he think of her?
Perhaps he might not notice her in the least, and that would be
terrible. But, no, a man as kind as he had shown himself to her, would
at least pay her some attention, and so at last she began to
anticipate his coming home, wondering what their first meeting would
be, what she should say to him, and what he would think of her.
GUY AT HOME.
Saturday came at last, a balmy September day, when all nature seemed
conspiring to welcome the travelers for whom so extensive preparations
were making at Aikenside. They were expected at about six in the
afternoon, and just before that hour the doctor rode up to be in
readiness to meet them. In the dining-room the table was set as Maddy
had never seen it set before, making, with its silver, its china, and
cut-glass, a glittering display. There was Guy's seat as carver, with
Agnes at the urn, while Maddy felt sure that the two plates between
Agnes and Guy were intended for Jessie and herself, the doctor
occupying the other side. Jessie would sit next her mother, which
would leave her near to Guy, where he could see every movement she
made. Would he think her awkward, or would he, as she hoped, be so
much absorbed with the doctor as not to notice her? Suppose she should
drop her fork, or upset one of those queer-looking goblets, more like
bowls than anything else? It would be terrible, and Maddy's cheeks
tingled at the very thought of such a catastrophe. Were they goblets
really, those funny colored things, and if they were not, what were
they? Summoning all her courage, she asked the doctor, her prime
counselor, and learned that they were the finger-glasses, of which she
had read, but which she had never seen before.
"Oh, must I use them?" she asked, in so evident distress that the
doctor could not forbear a laugh as he told her it was not of the
slightest consequence whether she used them or not, advising her to
watch Mrs. Agnes, who was _au fait_ in all such matters.
Six o'clock came, but no travelers. Then an hour went by, and there
came a telegram that the cars had broken down and would not probably
arrive until late in the night, if indeed they did till morning.
Greatly disappointed, the doctor, after dinner, took his leave,
telling the girls they had better not sit up. Consequently, at a late
hour they both retired, sleeping so soundly as not to near the noise
outside the house; the banging of doors, the setting down of trunks,
the tramp of feet, Mrs. Noah's words of welcome, one pleasant voice
which responded, and another more impatient one which sounded as if
its owner were tired and cross.
Agnes and Guy had come. As a whole, Agnes' season at Saratoga had been
rather disagreeable. Guy, it is true had been exceedingly kind. She
had been flattered by brainless fops. She had heard herself called
"that beautiful Mrs. Remington," and "that charming young widow," but
no serious attentions had been paid, no millionaire had asked to be
her second husband. If there had, she would have said yes, for Agnes
was not averse to changing her state of widowhood. She liked the
doctor, but if he did not propose, and some other body did, she should
accept that other body, of course. This was her intention when she
left Aikenside, and when she came back, it was with the determination
to raise the siege at once, and compel the doctor to surrender. She
knew he was not wealthy as she could wish, but his family were the
Holbrooks, and as she positively liked him, she was prepared to waive
the matter of money. In this state of mind it is not surprising that
the morning of the return home she should listen with a troubled mind
to Jessie's rather exaggerated account of the number of times the
doctor had been there, and the nice things he had said to her and
"He had visited them ever so much, staying ever so long. I know Maddy
likes him; I do, anyway," Jessie said, never dreaming of the passion
she was exciting, jealousy of Maddy, hatred of Maddy, and a desire to
be revenged on a girl whom Dr. Holbrook visited "ever so much."
What was she that he should care for her? A mere nothing--a child,
whom Guy had taken up. Pity there was a Lucy Atherstone in the way of
his making her mistress of Aikenside. It would be a pretty romance,
Guy Remington and Grandpa Markham's grandchild. Agnes was nervous and
tired, and this helped to increase her anger toward the innocent girl.
She would take immediate measures, she thought, to put the upstart
down, and the sight of Flora laying the cloth for breakfast suggested
to her the first step in teaching Maddy her place.
"Flora," she said, "I notice you are arranging the table for four.
Have we company?"
"Why, no, ma'am; there's Mr. Guy, yourself, Miss Jessie, and Miss
Clyde," was Flora's reply, while Agnes continued haughtily: "Remove
Miss Clyde's plate. No one allows their governess to eat with them."
"But, ma'am," and Flora hesitated, "she's very pretty, and ladylike,
and young; she has always eaten with Miss Jessie and Dr. Holbrook when
he was here. He treats her as if she was good as anybody."
In her eagerness to serve Maddy and save her from insult, Flora was
growing bold, but she only hurt the cause by mentioning the doctor.
Agnes was determined now, and she replied:
"It was quite right when we were gone, but it is different now, and
Mr. Remington, I am sure, will not suffer it."
"Might I ask him?" Flora persisted, her hand still on the plate.
"No," Agnes would attend to that, and also see Miss Clyde. All Flora
had to do was to remove the plate, which she finally did, muttering to
herself: "Such airs! but I know Mr. Guy won't stand it."
Meantime Maddy had put on her prettiest delaine, tied her little
dainty black silk apron, Mrs. Noah's gift, and with the feeling that
she was looking unusually well, started for the parlor to meet her
employer, Mrs. Agnes. Jessie had gone in quest of her brother, and
thus Agnes was alone when Maddy Clyde first presented herself before
her. She had not expected to find Maddy so pretty, and for a moment
the hot blood crimsoned her cheek, while her heart throbbed wildly
beneath the rich morning dress. Dr. Holbrook had cause for being
attracted by that fresh, bright face, she thought, and so she steeled
herself against the better impulses of her nature, impulses which
pleaded that for the sake of the past she should be kind to Maddy
"Ah, good-morning. You are Jessie's governess, I presume," she said,
bowing distantly, and pretending not to notice the hand which Maddy
involuntarily extended toward her. "Jessie speaks well of you, and I
am very glad you suit her. You have had a pleasant time, I trust?"
Her voice was so cold and her manner so distant that Maddy's eyes for
an instant filled with tears, but she answered civilly that she had
been very happy, and everybody was very kind. It was harder work to
put down Maddy Clyde than Agnes had expected, and after a little
further conversation there ensued a silence, which neither was
inclined to break. At last, summoning all her courage, Agnes began:
"Excuse me, Miss Clyde, but your own good sense, of which I am sure
you have an abundance, must tell you that now Mr. Remington and myself
are at home, your intercourse with our family must be rather
limited--that is--ahem--that is, neither Mr. Remington nor myself are
accustomed to having our governess very much with us. I suppose you
have had the range of the parlors, sitting there when you liked, and
all this was perfectly proper. Mind, I am finding no fault with you.
It is all quite right," she continued, as she saw the strange look of
terror and surprise visible on Maddy's face. "The past is right, but
in future it will be a little different, I am willing to accord to a
governess all the privileges possible. They are human as well as
myself, but society makes a difference. Don't you know it does?"
"Yes--no--I don't know. Oh, pray tell me what I am to do!" Maddy
gasped, her face as white as ashes, and her eyes wearing as yet only a
scared, uncertain look.
With little, graceful tosses of the head, which set in motion every
one of the brown curls, Mrs. Agnes replied:
"You are not, of course, to go to Mr. Remington. It is my matter, and
does not concern him. What I wish is this: You are to come to the
parlor only when invited, and are not to intrude upon us at any time,
particularly when company is here, such as--well, such as Dr.
Holbrook, if you please. As you cannot be with Jessie all the while,
you will, when your labors as governess are over, sit in your own
room, or the schoolroom, or walk in the back yard, just as the higher
servants do--such as Mrs. Noah and the sewing girl, Sarah.
Occasionally we shall have you in to dine with us, but usually you
will take your meals with Mrs. Noah and Sarah. By following these
directions you will, I think, give entire satisfaction."
When Mrs. Agnes had finished this, Maddy began to understand her
position, and into her white face the hot blood poured indignantly.
Wholly inexperienced, she had never dreamed that a governess was not
worthy to sit at the same table with her employer, that she must never
enter the parlors unbidden, or intrude herself in any way. No wonder
that her cheeks burned at the degradation, or that, for an instant,
she felt like defying the proud woman to her face. But the angry words
trembling on her tongue were repressed as she remembered her
grandfather's teachings; and with a bow as haughty as any Mrs. Agnes
could have made, and a look on her face which could not easily be
forgotten, she left the room, and in a kind of stunned bewilderment
sought the garden, where she could, unseen, give way to her feelings.
Once alone, the torrent burst forth, and burying her face in the soft
grass, she wept bitterly, never hearing the step coming near, and not
at first heeding the voice which asked what was the matter. Guy
Remington, too, had come out into the garden, accidentally wandering
that way, and so stumbling upon the little figure crying in the grass.
He knew it was Maddy, and greatly surprised to find her thus, asked
what was the matter. Then, as she did not hear him, he laid his hand
gently upon her shoulder, compelling her to look up. In all her
imaginings of Guy, she had never associated him with the man who had
so puzzled and confused her, and now she did not for a time suspect
the truth. She only thought him a guest at Aikenside; some one come
with Guy, and her degradation seemed greater than before. She was not
surprised when he called her by name; of course he remembered her,
just as she did him; but she did wonder a little what Mrs. Agnes would
say, could she know how kindly he spoke to her, lifting her from the
grass and leading her to a rustic seat at no great distance from them.
"Now, tell me why you are crying so?" he said, brushing from her silk
apron the spot of dirt which had settled upon it. "Are you homesick?"
he continued, and then Maddy burst out again.
She forgot that he was a stranger, forgot everything except that he
sympathized with her.
"Oh, sir," she sobbed, "I was so happy here till they came home, Mrs.
Remington and Mr. Guy. I never thought it was a disgrace to be a
governess; never heard it was so considered, or that I was not good
enough to eat with them till she told me this. Oh, dear, dear!" and
choked with tears Maddy stopped a moment to take breath.
She did not look up at the young man beside her, and it was well she
did not, for the dark expression of his face would have frightened
her. Half guessing the truth, and impatient to hear more, he said to
"Go on," so sternly, that she started, and replied:
"I know you are angry with me and I ought not to have told you."
"I am not angry--not at you at least--go on," was Guy's reply, and
"She told me that now they had come home it would be different, that
only when invited must I come to the parlor, or anywhere, but must
stay in the servants' part, and eat with Mrs. Noah and Sarah. I'd just
as soon do that. I am no better than they, only, only--the way she
told me made me feel so mean, as if I was not anybody, when I am," and
here Maddy's pride began to rise. "I'm just as good as she, if grandpa
is poor, and I won't stay here to be treated like a nigger by her and
Mr. Guy. I liked him so much too, because he was kind to grandpa and
to me when I was sick. Yes, I did like him so much."
"And how is it now?" Guy asked, wondering who in the world she thought
he was. "How is it now?"
"I s'pose it's wicked to feel such things on Sunday, but, somehow,
what she said keeps making me so bad that I know I hate her, and I
guess I hate Mr. Guy!"
This was Maddy's answer, spoken deliberately, while she looked up at
the young man, who, with a comical expression about his mouth,
"I am Mr. Guy." "You, you! Oh, I can't bear it! I will die!" and Maddy
sprang up as quickly as if feeling an electric shock.
But Guy's arm was interposed to stop her, and Guy's arm held her back,
while he asked where she was going.
"Anywhere, out of sight where you can never see me again," Maddy
sobbed vehemently. "It is bad enough to have you think me a fool, as
you must; but now, oh what do you think of me?"
"Nothing bad, I assure you," Guy said, still holding her wrist to keep
her there. "I supposed you knew who I was, but as you did not, I
forgive you for hating me so cordially. If you thought I sanctioned
what Mrs. Remington has said to you, you had cause to dislike me, but
Miss Clyde, I do not, and this is the first intimation I have had that
you were to be treated other than as a lady. I am master of Aikenside,
not Mrs. Agnes, who shall be made to understand it."
"Oh, please don't quarrel about me. Let me go home, and then all will
be well," Maddy cried, feeling, at that moment, more averse to leaving
Aikenside than she could have thought it possible.
"We shall not quarrel, but I shall have my way; meanwhile go to your
room and stay there until told that I have sent for you."
They went to the house together, but separated in the hall; Maddy
repairing to her room, while Guy sought Mrs. Agnes. The moment she saw
his face she knew a storm was coming, but was not prepared for the
biting sarcasm and bitter reproaches heaped upon her by one who, when
roused, was a perfect hurricane.
Maybe she had forgotten what she was when his father married her, he
said, but he had not, and he remembered well the wonder expressed by
many that his father should stoop to marry a poor school teacher.
"Yes, that's what you were, madam, much as you despise Maddy Clyde for
being a governess; you were one once yourself, and before that time
mercy knows what you were--a hired girl, perhaps--your present airs
would seem to warrant as much!"
Guy was in a sad passion by this time, and failed to note the effect
his last words had on Agnes, who turned livid with rage and terror;
but smothering down her wrath, she said beseechingly:
"Pray, Guy, do not be so angry; I know I am foolish about some things,
and proud people who 'come up' as you say always are, I guess; I know
that marrying your father made me what I am, but everybody does not
know it, and it is not necessary they should. I don't remember exactly
what I did say to this Clyde girl, but I thought it would be
pleasanter for you, pleasanter for us all, not to have her always
around; it seems she has presided at the table when Dr. Holbrook was
here to tea, and even you can't think that quite right."
"I don't know why," and at mention of Dr. Holbrook Guy's temper burst
out again. "Agnes, you can't deceive me; I know the secret of your
abominable treatment of Maddy Clyde is jealousy."
"Guy--jealous, I jealous of that child;" and Agnes' voice was
expressive of the utmost consternation.
"Yes, jealous of that child; you think that because the doctor has
been kind to her, perhaps he wants her some time for his wife. I hope
he does; I mean to help it on; I'll tell him to have her, and if he
don't I'll almost marry her myself!" and Guy paced up and down the
parlor, chafing and foaming like a young lion.
Agnes was conquered, and quite as much bewildered as Maddy had been;
she heard only in part how Maddy Clyde was henceforth to be treated.
"Yes, yes," she gasped at last, as Guy talked on, "stop now, for
mercy's sake, and I'll do anything, only not this morning, my head
aches so I cannot go to the breakfast table; I must be excused," and
holding her temples, which were throbbing with pain, induced by strong
excitement, Agnes hurried to her own room and threw herself upon the
bed, angry, mortified and subdued.
The breakfast bell had rung twice while Guy was holding that interview
with Agnes, and at last Mrs. Noah came up herself to learn the cause
of the delay; standing in the hall she heard a part of what was
transpiring in the parlor. Mrs. Noah was proud and jealous of her
master's dignity, and once or twice the thought had crossed her mind
that perhaps when he came home Maddy would be treated more as some
governesses were treated by their employers, but to have Agnes take
the matter up was quite a different thing, and Mrs. Noah smiled with
grim satisfaction, as she heard Guy issuing orders as to how Miss
Clyde should be treated. Standing back to let Agnes pass, she waited a
moment, and then, as if she had just come up, presented herself before
Guy, asking if he were ready for breakfast.
"Yes, call Miss Clyde; tell her I sent for her," was Guy's answer, and
forthwith Mrs. Noah repaired to Maddy's room, finding her still
"I cannot go down," she said; "my face is all stains, and it's so
dreadful, happening on Sunday, too. What would grandpa say?"
"You can wash off the stains. Come," Mrs. Noah said, pouring water
into the bowl, and bidding Maddy hurry, "as Mr. Guy was waiting
breakfast for her."
"But I am not to eat with them," Maddy began, when Mrs. Noah stopped
her by explaining how Guy ruled that house, and Agnes had been
This did not quiet Maddy particularly, and her heart beat painfully as
she descended to the parlor, where Guy was still walking up and down.
"Come, Miss Clyde, Jessie is nearly famished," he said pleasantly, as
Maddy appeared, and without the slightest reference to what had passed
he drew Maddy's arm within his own, and giving a hand to Jessie, who
had just come in, he went to the breakfast room, where Maddy was told
Guy watched her closely without seeming to do so, mentally deciding
that she was neither vulgar nor awkward. On the contrary, he thought
her very pretty, and very graceful for one so unaccustomed to society.
Nothing was said of Agnes, who kept her room the entire day, and did
not join the family until evening, when Guy sat upon the piazza with
Jessie in his lap, while Maddy was not very far away. At first there
was much constraint between Agnes and Maddy, but with Guy to manage,
it soon wore away, and Agnes felt herself exceedingly amiable when she
reflected how gracious she had been to her rival.
But Maddy could not so soon forget. All through the day the conviction
had been settling upon her that she could not stay at Aikenside, and
so on the following morning, just after breakfast was over, she
summoned courage to ask Mr. Guy if she might talk with film. Leading
the way to his library, he bade her sit down, while he took the chair
opposite, and then waited for her to commence.
Maddy was afraid of Guy. He did not seem quite like Dr. Holbrook. He
was haughtier in his appearance, while his rather elaborate style of
dress and polished manners gave him, in her estimation, a kind of
superiority over all the men she had ever met. Besides that, she
remembered how his dark eyes had flashed when she told him what she
did the previous day, and also that she had said to his face that she
hated him. She could not bear to leave a bad impression on his mind,
so the first words she said to him were:
"Mr. Remington, I can't stay here after all that has happened. It
would not be pleasant for me or Mrs. Agnes, so I am going home, but I
want you to forget what I said about hating you yesterday. I did not
then know who you were. I don't hate you. I like you, and I want you
to like me."
She did not look at him, for her eyelids were cast down, and her
lashes were wet with the tears she could scarcely keep from shedding.
Guy had never known much about girls of Maddy's age, and there was
something extremely fascinating in the artless simplicity of this half
child, half woman, sitting there before him, and asking him so
demurely to like her. She was very pretty, he thought, and with proper
culture would make a beautiful woman. Then, as he remembered his
avowed intention of urging the doctor to make her his wife some day,
the idea flashed upon him that it would be very generous, very
magnanimous in him to educate that young girl expressly for the
doctor, and though he hardly seemed to wait at all ere replying to
Maddy, he had in the brief interval formed a skeleton plan, and saw it
in all its bearings and triumphal result.
"I am much obliged for your liking me," he said, a very little
mischievously. "You surely have not much reason so to do when you
recall the incidents of our first interview. Maddy--Miss Clyde--I have
come to the conclusion that I knew less than you did, and I beg your
pardon for annoying you so terribly."
Then briefly Guy explained to her how it all had happened, blaming
himself far more than he did the doctor, who, he said, had repented
bitterly. "Had you died, Miss Clyde, when you were so sick, I half
believe he would have felt it his duty to die also. He likes you very
much; more indeed than any patient I ever knew him to have," and Guy's
eyes glanced curiously at Maddy to witness the effect his words might
have upon her. But Maddy merely answered:
"Yes, I think he does like me, and I know I like him."
Mentally chastising himself for trying to find in Maddy's head an idea
which evidently never was there, he began to speak of her proposition
of leave, saying he should not suffer it, Jessie needed her and she
must stay. She was not to mind the disagreeable things Mrs. Remington
had said. She was tired and nervous, and so gave way to some very
preposterous notions, which she had picked up somewhere. She would
treat Maddy better hereafter, and she must stay. It was pleasanter for
Jessie to have a companion so near her own age. Then, as he saw signs
of yielding in Maddy's face, he continued:
"How would you like to turn scholar for a short time each day, I being
your teacher? Time often hangs heavily upon my hands, and I fancy the
novelty of the thing would suit me. I have books. I will appoint your
lessons and the hour for recitation."
Guy's face was scarlet by the time he finished speaking, for suddenly
he remembered to have heard or read of a similar instance which
resulted in the marriage of the teacher and pupil; besides that it
would subject him to so much remark, when it was known that he, the
fashionable and fastidious Guy, was teaching a pretty, attractive girl
like Maddy Clyde, and he sincerely hoped she would decline. But Maddy
had no such intention. Always in earnest herself, she supposed every
one else meant what they said, and without ever suspecting the
peculiar position in which such a proceeding would place both herself
and Guy, her heart leaped up at the idea of knowing what was in the
books she had never dared hope she might study. With her beautiful
eyes full of tears, which shone like diamonds, as she lifted them to
Guy's face, she said:
"Oh, I thank you so much. You could not make me happier, and I'll try
so hard to learn. They don't teach such things at the district school;
and when there was a high school in Honedale I could not go, for it
was three dollars a quarter, and grandpa had no three dollars for me.
Uncle Joseph needed help, and so I stayed at home. It's dreadful to be
poor, but, perhaps, I shall some time be competent to teach in a
seminary, and won't that be grand? When may I begin?"
Guy had never met with so much frankness and simplicity in any one,
unless it were in Lucy Atherstone, of whom Maddy reminded him
somewhat, except that the latter was more practical, more--he hardly
knew what--only there was a difference, and a thought crossed his mind
that if Maddy had had all Lucy's advantages, and was as old, she would
be what the world calls smarter. There was no disparagement to Lucy in
his thoughts, only a compliment to Maddy, who was waiting for him to
answer her question. There was no retracting now; he had offered his
services; she had accepted; and with a mental comment: "I dread Doc's
fun the most, so I'll explain to him how I am educating her for the
future Mrs. Dr. Holbrook," he replied:
"As soon as I am rested from my journey, or sooner, if you like; and
now tell me, please, who is this Uncle Joseph of whom you speak?"
He remembered what the doctor had said of a crazy uncle, but wishing
to hear Maddy's version of it, put to her the question he did.
"Uncle Joseph is grandma's youngest brother," Maddy answered, "and he
has been in the lunatic asylum for years. As long as his little
property lasted, his bills were paid, but now they keep him from
charity, only grandpa helps all he can, and buys some little nice
things which he wants so badly, and sometimes cries for, they say. I
picked berries all last summer, and sold to buy him a thin coat and
pants. We should have more to spend than we do, if it were not for
Uncle Joseph," and Maddy's face wore a thoughtful expression as she
recalled all the shifts and turns she'd seen made at home that the
poor maniac might be more comfortable.
"What made him crazy?" Guy asked, and after a moment's hesitancy Maddy
replied: "I don't believe grandma would mind my telling you, though
she don't talk about it much. I only knew it a little while ago. He
was disappointed once. He loved a girl very much, and she made him
think that she loved him. She was many years younger than Uncle
Joseph--about my age at first, and when she grew up she said she was
sick of him, because he was so much older. He wouldn't have felt so
badly, if she had not gone straight off and married a rich man who was
a great deal older even than Uncle Joseph; that was the hardest part,
and he grew crazy at once. It has been so long that he never can be
helped, and sometimes grandma talks of bringing him home, as he is
perfectly harmless. I suppose it's wicked, but I most hope she won't,
for it would be terrible to live with a crazy man," and a chill crept
over Maddy, as if there had fallen upon her a foreshadowing of what
might yet be. "Mr. Remington," she continued suddenly, "if you teach
me, I can't, of course, expect three dollars a week. It would not be
"Perfectly right," he answered. "Your services to Jessie will be worth
just as much as ever, so give yourself no trouble on that score."
He was the best man that ever lived, Maddy thought, and so she told
the doctor that afternoon when, as he rode up to Aikenside, she met
him out on the lawn before he reached the house.
It did strike the doctor a little comically that one of Guy's habits
should offer to turn school teacher, but Maddy was so glad, that he
was glad too, and doubly glad that across the sea there was a Lucy
Atherstone. How he wished that she was there now as Mrs. Guy, and he
must tell Guy so that very day. Seated in Guy's library, the
opportunity soon occurred, Guy approaching the subject himself by
"Guess, Hal, what crazy project I have just embarked in."
"I know without guessing; Maddy told me," and the doctor's eyebrows
were elevated just a little as he crossed his feet upon the window
sill and moved his chair so as to have a better view of Maddy and
Jessie romping in the grass.
"And so you don't approve?" was Guy's next remark, to which the doctor
"Why, yes; it's a grand thing for her, providing you know enough to
teach her; but, Guy, this is a confounded gossiping neighborhood, and
folks will talk, I'm afraid."
"Talk about what!" and Guy bridled up as his independent spirit began
to rise, "What harm is there in my doing a generous act to a poor girl
like Maddy Clyde? Isn't she graceful as a kitten, though?" and Guy
nodded toward the spot where she was playing.
It annoyed the doctor to have Guy praise Maddy, but he would not show
it, and answered calmly:
"It's all right in you, but just because the poor girl is Maddy Clyde,
folks will talk. She is too handsome, Guy, for Madam Grundy to let
alone. If Lucy were only here, it would be different. Why, in the name
of wonder, are you two not married, if you are ever going to be?"
"Jealous, as I live!" and Guy's hand came down playfully on the
doctor's shoulder. "I did not suppose you had got as far as that. You
are afraid of the effect it may have on me teaching a sweet-faced
little girl how to conjugate amo; and to cover up your own interest,
you bring Lucy forward as an argument. Eh, Hal, have I not probed the
The doctor was in no mood for joking, and only smiled gloomily, while
"Honestly, doctor, I am doing it for you. I imagine you fancy her, as
well you may. She'll make a splend'd woman, but she needs educating,
of course, and I am going to do it. You ought to thank me, instead of
looking so like a thundercloud," and Guy laughed merrily.
The doctor was ashamed of his mood, and could not tell what spirit
prompted him to answer:
"I am obliged to you, Guy; but as far as I am concerned, you may spare
yourself the trouble. If my wife needs educating, I can do it myself."
Guy was puzzled. Could it be that, after all, he was deceived, and the
doctor did not care for Maddy? It might be, and he hastened to change
the conversation to another topic than Maddy Clyde. The doctor stayed
to dinner, and as Guy watched him closely, he made up his mind that he
did care for Maddy Clyde, and this confirmed him in his plan of
educating her for him.
Magnanimous Guy! He felt himself very good, very generous, very
condescending, and very forgiving, the early portion of the afternoon;
but later in the day he began to view Guy Remington in the light of a
martyr, said martyrdom consisting in the scornful toss of the head
with which Agnes had listened to his plan, and the open opposition of
"Was he beside himself, or what?" this worthy asked. "She liked Maddy
Clyde, to be sure, but it wasn't for him to demean himself by turning
her school master. Folks would talk awfully, and she couldn't blame
'em; besides, what would Lucy say to his bein' alone in a room with a
girl as pretty as Maddy? It was a duty he owed her at any rate to tell
her all about it, and if she said 'twas right, why, go it."
This was the drift of Mrs. Noah's remarks, and as Guy depended much on
her judgment, he decided to write to Lucy to see if she had the
slightest objections to his teaching Maddy Clyde. Accordingly he wrote
that very night, telling her frankly all he knew concerning Maddy
Clyde, and narrating the circumstances under which he first had met
her, being careful also to repeat what he knew would have weight with
an English girl like Lucy, to wit, that though poor, Maddy's father
and grandfather Clyde had been gentlemen, the one a clergyman, the
other a sea captain. Then he told of her desire for learning, and his
plan to teach her himself, of what the doctor and Mrs. Noah said about
it, and his final determination to consult her. Then he described
Maddy herself, feeling a strange thrill as he told how pure, how
innocent, how artless and beautiful she was, and asked if Lucy feared
aught from his association with her.
"If you do," he wrote, "you have but to say so, and though I am
committed, I will extricate myself in some way rather than wound you
in the slightest degree."
It would be some time ere an answer to this letter could be received,
and until such time Guy could not honorably hear Maddy's lessons as he
had agreed to do. But Maddy was not suspicious, and accepting his
trivial excuse, waited patiently, while he, too, waited for the
letter, wondering what it would contain.
A GENEROUS LETTER.
At last the answer came, and it was Maddy who brought it to Guy. She
had been home that day, and on her return had ridden by the office as
Guy had requested her to do. She saw the letter bore a foreign
postmark, also that it was in the delicate handwriting of some female,
but the sight did not affect her in the least. Maddy's heart was far
too heavy that day to care for a trifle, and so placing the letter
carefully in her basket she kept on to Aikenside.
The letter was decidedly Lucy-ish in all that pertained to her
"dearest darling," her "precious Guy," but when she came to Maddy
Clyde, her true, womanly nature spoke; and Guy, while reading it, felt
how good she was. Of course he might teach Maddy Clyde all he wished
to teach her, and it made Lucy love him better to know that he was
willing to do such things. She wished she was there to help him; they
would open a school for all the poor, but she did not know when mamma
would let her come. That pain in her side was not any better, and her
cough had come earlier this season than last. The physician had
advised a winter in Naples, and they were going before very long. It
would be pleasant there, no doubt, only she should be farther away
from her boy Guy, but she would think of him, oh, so often, teaching
that dear little Maddy Clyde, and she would pray for him, too, just as
she always did. Then followed a few more lines sacred to the lover's
eye, lines which told how pure was the love which sweet Lucy
Atherstone bore for Guy Remington, who, as he read, felt his heart
beat with a throb of pain, for Lucy spoke to him now for the first
time of what might possibly be.
"I've dreamed about it nights," she said. "I've thought about it days,
and tried so hard to be reconciled; to feel that if God will have it
so, I am willing to die before you have ever called me your little
wife, or I have ever called you husband. Heaven is better than earth,
I know, and I am sure of going there, I think, but oh, dear Guy, a
life with you looks so very sweet, that sometimes your little Lucy
shrinks from the dark grave, which would hide her forever from you.
Guy, you once said you never prayed, and it made me feel so badly, but
you will, when you get this, won't you? You will ask God to make me
well, and may be He will hear you. Do, Guy, please do pray for your
Lucy, far away over the sea."
Guy could not resist that touching appeal, "to pray for his little
Lucy," and though his lips were all unused to prayer, bowing his head
upon his hands he did ask that she might live, beseeching the Father
to send upon him any calamity save this one--Lucy must be spared. Guy
felt better for having prayed, it was something to tell Lucy,
something that would please her well, and though his heart yet was
very sad, a part of the load was lifted, and he could think of Lucy
now without the bitter pain her letter first had cost him. Was there
nothing that would save her, nobody who could cure her? Her disease
was not hereditary; surely it might be made to yield; had English
physicians no skill, would not an American do better? It was possible,
and if that mother of Lucy's would let her come where doctors knew
something, she might get well; but she wouldn't; she was determined
that no husband should be burdened with an ailing wife, and so if the
mountain would not come to Mahomet, why, Mahomet must go to the
mountain, and Guy fairly leaped from his chair as he exclaimed: "I
have it--Doc!--he's the most skillful man I ever knew; I'll send him
to England; send him to the Atherstones; he shall go to Naples with
them as their family physician; he can cure Lucy; I'll speak to him
the very next time he comes here;" and with another burden lifted from
his mind, Guy began to wonder where Maddy was, and why that day had
been so long.
He knew she had returned, for Flora had said she brought the letter,
and he was about going out, in hopes of finding her and Jessie, when
he heard her in the hall, as she answered some question of Mrs.
Noah's; stepping to the door, he asked her to come in, saying he
would, if she chose, appoint the lessons talked about so long.
Ordinarily, Maddy's eyes would have flashed with delight, for she had
anticipated so much from these lessons; now, however, there was a sad
look upon her face and she could scarcely keep from crying as she came
at Guy's bidding, and sat upon the sofa, near to his armchair. Somehow
it rested Guy to look at Maddy Clyde, who, having recovered from her
illness, seemed the very embodiment of perfect health, a health which
glowed and sparkled all over her bright face; showing itself as well
in the luxuriance of her glossy hair as in the brilliancy of her
complexion, and the flash of her lustrous eyes. How Guy wished that
Lucy could share in what seemed almost superfluity of health; and why
shouldn't she? Dr. Holbrook had cured Maddy; Dr. Holbrook could cure
Lucy; and so for the present dismissing that from his mind, he turned
to Maddy, and said the time had come when he could give those promised
lessons, asking if she would commence to-morrow, after she was through
with Jessie, and what she would prefer to take up first?
"Oh, Mr. Remington," and Maddy began to cry: "I am afraid I cannot
stay they need me at home, or maybe Grandpa said so and I don't want
to go, though I know it's wicked not to; oh, dear, dear!"
Here Maddy broke down entirely, sobbing so convulsively that Guy
became alarmed, and wondered what he ought to do to quiet her. As she
sat the bowed head was just within his reach, and so he very naturally
laid his hand upon it, and as if it had been Jessie's smoothed the
silken hair, while he asked why she must go home. Had anything
occurred to make her presence more necessary than it was at Aikenside?
and into the young man's heart there crept a feeling that Aikenside
would be very lonely without Maddy Clyde.
Controlling her voice as well as she was able, Maddy told him how the
physicians at the asylum had written that as Uncle Joseph would in all
human probability never be perfectly sane, and as a change of scene
would do him good, Mr. Markham had better try taking him a while; that
having been spoken with upon the subject, he seemed as anxious as a
little child, even crying when the night came around and he was not at
home, as he expressed it. "They have kept him so long," Maddy said,
"that grandpa thought it his duty to relieve them, though he can't
well afford it, and so he's coming next week, and grandma will need
some one to help, and I must go. I know it's wrong, but I do not want
to go, try as I will"
It was a gloomy prospect to exchange Aikenside for the humble home
where poverty had its abode, and it was not very strange that Maddy
should shrink from it at first. She did not stop to ask what was her
duty, or think how much happiness her presence might give her
grandparents, or how much she might cheer and amuse the weak imbecile,
her uncle. She was but human, and so when Guy began to devise ways of
preventing her going, she listened, while the pain at her heart grew
less as her faith in Guy grew stronger. He would drive down with her
to-morrow, he said, and see what could be done. Meanwhile she must dry
her eyes and go to Jessie, who was calling her.
As Guy had half expected, the doctor came around that evening, and
inviting him into his private room, Guy proceeded at once to unfold
his scheme, asking him first:
"How much he probably received a year for his services as physician."
The doctor could not tell at once, but after a little thought made an
estimate, and then inquired why Guy had asked the question.
"Because, Doc, I have a project on foot. Lucy Atherstone is dying with
what they call consumption. I don't believe those old fogies
understand her disease, and if you will go over to England and
undertake her cure, I'll give you just double what you'll get by
remaining here. They are going to Naples for the winter, and,
undoubtedly, will spend some time in Paris. It will be just the thing
for you. Lucy and her mother will be glad of your services when they
know I sent you, Lucy likes you now. Will you go? You can trust Maddy
to me. I'll take good care that she is worthy of you when you come
At the mention of Maddy's name, the doctor's brow darkened. He was
sure that Guy meant kindly, but it grated on his feelings to be thus
joked about what he knew was a stern reality. Guy's project appeared
to him at first a most insane one, but as he continued to enlarge upon
it, and the advantage it would be to the doctor to travel in the old
world, a feeling of enthusiasm was kindled in his own breast; a desire
to visit Naples and France, and the places he had dreamed of as a boy,
but never hoped to see, Guy's plan began to look more feasible, and
possibly he might have yielded but for one thought, and that a thought
of Maddy Clyde. He would not leave her alone with Guy, even though Guy
was true to Lucy as steel. He would stay; he would watch; and in time
he would win the young girl waiting now for him in the hall below,
waiting to tell him 'mid blushes of shame and tears of regret how she
had meant to pay him with her very first wages, but now, Uncle Joseph
was coming home, and he must wait a little longer.
"Would he, could he be so good?" and unmindful of Guy's presence Maddy
laid her hand confidingly upon his arm, while her soft eyes looked
beseechingly into his.
How the doctor wished Guy was away, and kindly taking the hint, Guy
left them together in the lighted hall. Sitting down on the sofa, and
making Maddy sit beside him, the doctor began:
"Maddy, you know I mean what I say, at least to you, and when I tell
you that I never think of that bill except when you speak of it, you
will believe me. I know your grandfather's circumstances, and I know,
too, that I did much to induce your sickness, consequently if I made
one out at all, it would be a very small one."
He did not get any further, for Maddy hastily interrupted him, and
while her eyes flashed with pride, exclaimed:
"I will not be a charity patient! I say I will not! I'd be a hired
girl before I'd do it!"
It troubled the doctor to see Maddy so disturbed about dollars and
cents--to know that poverty was pressing its iron hand upon her young
heart; and only because she was so young did he refrain from offering
her then and there a resting place from the ills of life in his
sheltering love. But she was not prepared, and he should only defeat
his object by his rashness, so he restrained himself, though he did
pass his arm partly around her waist as he said to her:
"I tell you, Maddy, honestly, that when I want that bill liquidated
I'll ask you. I certainly will, and I'll let you pay it, too. Does
that satisfy you?"
Yes, Maddy was satisfied, and after a little the doctor continued:
"By the way, Maddy, I have some idea of going to Europe for a few
months, or a year or more. You know it does a physician good to study
awhile in Paris. What do you think of it? Shall I go?"
The doctor had become quite necessary to Maddy's happiness. He it was
to whom she confided all her little troubles, and to lose him would be
a terrible loss, and so she answered that if it would be much better
for him she supposed he ought to go, though she should miss him sadly
and be so lonely without him.
"Would you, Maddy? Are you in earnest? Would you be lonelier for my
being gone?" the doctor asked, eagerly. With her usual truthfulness,
Maddy replied: "Of course I should;" and, when, after the conference
was ended, the doctor stood for a moment talking with Guy, ere bidding
him good-night, he said: "I think I shall not accept your European
proposition. Somebody else must cure Lucy."
The next day, as Guy had proposed, he rode down to Honedale, taking
Maddy with him, and offering so many reasons why she should not be
called home, that the old people began to relent, particularly as they
saw how Maddy's heart was set on the lessons Guy was going to give
her. She might never have a like opportunity, the young man said, and
as a good education would put her fa the way of helping them when they
were older and needed her more, it was their duty to leave her with
them. He knew they objected to her receiving three dollars a week, but
he should pay it just the same, and if they chose they might, with a
part of it, hire a little girl to do the work which Maddy would do
were she at home. All this sounded very feasible, especially as it was
backed up by Maddy's eyes, brimful of tears, and fixed pleadingly upon
her grandfather. The sight of them, more than Guy's arguments,
influenced the old man, who decided that if grandma were willing Maddy
should stay, unless absolutely needed at the cottage. Then the tears
burst forth, and winding her arms around her grandfather's neck, Maddy
sobbed out her thanks, asking if it were selfish and wicked and
naughty in her to prefer learning rather than staying there.
"Not if that's your only reason," grandpa replied. "It's right to want
learning, quite right; but, if my child is biased by the fine things
at Aikenside, and hates to come back to her poor home, because 'tis
poor, I should say it was very natural, but not exactly right."
Maddy was very happy after it was settled, and chatted gayly with her
grandmother, while Guy went out with her grandfather, who wished to
speak with him alone.
"Young man," he said, "you have taken a deep interest in me and mine
since I first came to know you, and I thank you for it all. I've
nothing to give in return except my prayers, and those you have every
day; you and that doctor. I pray for you two just as I do for Maddy.
Somehow you three come in together. You're uncommon good to Maddy.
'Tain't every one like you who would offer and insist on learning her.
I don't know what you do it for. You seem honest. You can't, of
course, ever dream of making her your wife, and, if I thought--yes, if
I supposed"--here grandpa's voice trembled, and his face became a
livid hue with the horror of the idea--"if I supposed that in your
heart there was the shadow of an intention to deceive my child, to
ruin my Maddy, I'd throttle you here on the spot, old as I am, and
bitterly as I should repent the rashness."
Guy attempted to speak, but grandpa motioned him to be silent, while
he went on:
"I do not suspect you, and that's why I trust her with you. My old
eyes are dim, but I can see enough to know that Maddy is beautiful.
Her mother was so before her, and the Clydes were a handsome race. My
Alice was elevated, folks thought, by marrying Captain Clyde, but I
don't think so. She was pure and good as the angels, and Maddy is much
like her, only she has the ambition of the Clydes: has their taste for
everything a little above her. She wouldn't make nobody blush if she
was mistress of Aikenside."
Grandpa felt relieved when he had said all this to Guy, who listened
politely, smiling at the idea of his deceiving Maddy, and fully
concurring with grandpa in all he said of her rare beauty and natural
gracefulness. On their return to the house grandpa showed Guy the
bedroom intended for Uncle Joseph, and Guy, as he glanced at the
furniture, though within himself how he would send down from Aikenside
some of the unused articles piled away on the garret when he
refurnished his house. He was becoming greatly interested in the
Markhams, caring nothing for the remarks his interest might excite
among the neighbors, some of whom watched Maddy half curiously as in
the stylish carriage, beside its stylish owner, she rode back to
Aikenside in the quiet, autumnal afternoon.
In course of time Uncle Joseph came as was arranged, and on the day
following Maddy and Guy rode down to see him, finding him a tall,
powerfully built man, retaining many vestiges of manly beauty, and
fully warranting all Mrs. Markham had said in his praise. He seemed
perfectly gentle and harmless, though when Guy was announced as Mr.
Remington, Maddy noticed that in his keen black eyes there was for an
instant a fiery gleam, but it quickly passed away, as he muttered:
"Much too young; he was older than I, and I am over forty. It's all
And the fiery eye grew soft and almost sleepy in its expression, as
the poor lunatic turned next to Maddy, telling her how pretty she was,
asking if she were engaged, and bidding her be careful that her
_fiance_ was not more than a dozen years older than herself.
Uncle Joseph seemed to take to her from the very first, following her
from room to room, touching her fair, soft cheeks, smoothing her
silken hair, telling her Sarah's used to curl, asking if she knew
where Sarah was, and finally crying for her as a child cries for its
mother, when at last she went away. Much of this Maddy had repeated to
Jessie, as in the twilight they sat together in the parlor at
Aikenside; and Jessie was not the only listener, for, with her face
resting on her hand, and her head bent eagerly forward, Agnes sat, so
as not to lose a word of what Maddy was saying of Uncle Joseph. The
intelligence that he was coming to the red cottage had been followed
with a series of headaches, so severe and protracted that Dr. Holbrook
had pronounced her really sick, and had been unusually attentive.
Anxiously she had waited for the result of Maddy's visit to the poor
lunatic, and her face was colorless as marble as she heard him
described, while a faint sigh escaped her when Maddy told what he had
said of Sarah.
Agnes was changed somewhat of late. She had grown more thoughtful and
quiet, while her manner toward Maddy was not as haughty as formerly.
Guy thought her improved, and thus was not so delighted as he would
otherwise have been, when, one day, about two weeks after Uncle
Joseph's arrival at Honedale, she startled him by saying she thought
it nearly time for her to return to Boston, if she meant to spend the
winter there, and asked what she should do with Jessie.
Guy was not quite willing for Agnes to leave him there alone, but when
he saw that she was determined, he consented to her going, with the
understanding that Jessie was to remain--a plan which Agnes did not
oppose, as a child so large as Jessie might stand in the way of her
being as gay as she meant to be in Boston. Jessie, too, when
consulted, said she would far rather stay at Aikenside; and so one
November morning, Agnes, wrapped in velvet and furs, kissed her little
daughter, and bidding good-by to Maddy and the servants, left a
neighborhood which, since Uncle Joseph was so near, had become so
intolerable that not even the hope of winning the doctor could avail
to keep her in it.
Guy accompanied her to the city, wondering why, when he used to like
it so much, it now seemed dull and tiresome, or why the society he had
formerly enjoyed failed to bring back the olden pleasure he had
experienced when a resident of Boston. Guy was very popular there, and
much esteemed by his friends of both sexes, and great were the efforts
made to entertain and keep him as long as possible. But Guy could not
be prevailed upon to stay there long, and after seeing Agnes settled
in one of the most fashionable boarding houses, he started for
It was dark when he reached home, and as the evening had closed in
with a heavy rain, the house presented rather a cheerless appearance,
particularly as, in consequence of Mrs. Noah's not expecting him that
day, no fires had been kindled in the parlors, or in any room except
the library. There a bright coal fire was blazing in the grate, and
thither Guy repaired, finding, as he had expected, Jessie and her
teacher. Not liking to intrude on Mr. Guy, of whom she still stood
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