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   Chapter 16 OUT OF HER LOYALTY

The Girls at Mount Morris By Amanda M. Douglas Characters: 36744

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

Mrs. Van Orden's residence was large and handsome and a-light from top to bottom. There were three daughters from seventeen to thirteen. They had always been very friendly with the Crawfords, and this gathering was a good deal in honor of the young midshipman who was so soon to go on his first cruise of three years.

The girls in the dressing room hovered about Zay. Wasn't it wonderful that her sister had been found and living here all these months? Why it was just like a story!

"A princess in disguise," laughed Zay. "That was what I called her."

"And is she-does she look like you?"

"No, although we are twins you can easily tell us apart. She is taller; I think she will be like mother. Her hair is-well a sort of bronzy light brown, and her eyes are such a dark blue that you might mistake them for black, and she's rather grave; not such a fly-away as I am. Of course, you know, we have only had her one day though the others went over to Mrs. Barrington's to see her."

"And wasn't she something there," asked a girl.

"She was going to study for a teacher. Mrs. Barrington expected to keep her after her-well, I suppose we might call it a foster-mother, died. You see Mrs. Boyd thought the nurse mamma had was her real mother and she felt so sorry for the baby believing the true mother had been killed."

"Why it is a real romance."

Zaidee meant to put it on a right foundation. At school once she had, in a way, stood up for her when Louie Howe tried to establish a distinction. So why shouldn't she now, and always, even if she had not taken Marguerite cordially to her heart. No one outside should offer a slight.

"And you believe it is all true-"

"Well, I think Dr. Kendricks and Mr. Ledwith and Mrs. Barrington couldn't all be deceived. You see, this Mrs. Boyd never knew she belonged to us, but she thought there might be a father somewhere; and the account of the accident tallied; there were only two babies on the train and one was killed. Mrs. Boyd knew the baby she took was not hers. So it is beyond any doubt."

Zaidee Crawford looked brave and beautiful and her voice would have carried conviction anywhere, as well as disarming criticism.

"Oh, you are a darling!" and two or three of the girls kissed her rapturously.

"I wouldn't be without a sister for all the world," declared Evelyn Van Orden, the middle one of the three girls.

The musicians were tuning up. Several of the young gentlemen stood in the hall waiting. Mrs. Van Orden summoned them down.

It was a gay young people's party and numerous were the regrets that Willard Crawford was to be gone for so long.

"But you'll have Vincent all next summer," he said. "And there is no scarcity of other young fellows."

"But they go away, as well. Unless they have a fortune they cannot afford to stay at home."

"And I have all mine to make," he returned, with mock seriousness.

It was true that at ten the music stopped, but there was some gay chatting over the refreshments and then the carriages began to come. They all expressed their pleasure to their hostess. Willard insisted that they should take home two or three of the girls, and they were nothing loth.

"But, you see, Zay is quite certain she owns him, and she gave him about every other dance," said Sophie Lawrence, as she stood on the steps with her sister.

When they were alone Willard reached over and took his sister's hand in a warm clasp.

"Zay, I heard your fine defense for Marguerite. I was waiting at the head of the stairs. I suppose for awhile there will be some gossip and wondering, but there never can be any doubt of the truth. I think she is going to make a fine and admirable woman, and I hope you two will love each other as Vin and I always have."

"You can't love anyone offhand. Such a love would not be worth having, and if she wins you away from me-"

"Oh, Zay, silly child! No one can take your place in the heart of one of us."

"I'm not sure." Zay was crying then.

"You will be sure in the years to come. For mother's sake let us be a united family. You can never be crowded out. And I think the more love one gives, the more one gets in return."

The Major was waiting for them and gave them a tender good-night.

They were all busy the next day in consultations. A package of clothing came over from Barrington house that Miss Arran had put in order for Marguerite, much of it being gifts from Mrs. Barrington, accompanied with the kindliest and most delicate note. Aunt Kate had fussed a little about the child not having anything fit to wear.

"Mrs. Barrington is right, it is best not to make too great a change, though I think Marguerite's tastes are very simple. Zay, I fancy, has had rather too much, but she is not as vain of her clothes as of her beauty, and she is a dear, sweet child. Aunt Kate, we all owe you so much, and we will see how Marguerite develops."

Miss Crawford was somewhat mollified, but she returned-"Zay must not be crowded out of her mother's heart."

"Oh, there is no fear of that. If we had the six we planned for I think none of them would complain. Mother love is elastic."

Willard and Zay were much engrossed making farewell calls. He was very bright and hopeful, picturing the points of interest he should see and the experience he should gain. And there would be letters. Three years would pass rapidly. He stipulated that the girls should not be married until his return.

"We have had such a nice long vacation with you," said his mother, "and we must comfort ourselves with that; and I may come over to some port with the girls if you are to stay long enough. I feel as if I was just beginning to live a new life. Think, there have been times when I hardly expected to see one of you again. Now I am full of hope."

"My blessed mother!"

He would write when he reached Washington and tell them what the plans were. If they were not quite ready Zay and his father might come on for a few days' visit.

Zay kissed her mother and went to her room where she gave way to a violent fit of weeping.

"I ought to go to your mother," said Aunt Kate. Major Crawford had gone to the station with his son.

"Oh, no, stay with me, she will have Marguerite. Oh, if Willard never never should come back! So many accidents happen," she sobbed.

"Don't let us think of that; so many come home safely. Oh, my child, try to be a little tranquil. He is here in the country yet and will not go away for several days. Summon your fortitude for the sake of the others."

"No one loves him as I do," she moaned.

"I love him dearly. You children have been like my own, I have had so much of the care of you."

"But I love him so dearly, and if he should get weaned away! Why, I should be heartbroken!"

"My dear!" Aunt Kate sat on the side of the bed, bathed her head with fragrant water and comforted her with endearing terms until she grew tranquil and finally fell asleep.

Mrs. Crawford had seated herself on the couch and motioned Marguerite beside her.

"My dear daughter," she said, steadying her voice, "heaven only knows how glad I am to have you and we must comfort one another. I had dreaded Willard going, but God has been good to me and sent you just when I needed you most. We shall be very happy in each other's society, I foresee. You will be my girl as Zay is Aunt Kate's. Willard is so interested in you, and when it is a little pleasanter we will go driving together. I like the byways and the nooks and the wild flowers. Oh, do you think you could learn to ride? You would not be afraid! Father is so fond of it. Oh, the rides we used to have in our early life!"

Marguerite's eyes lighted with eager pleasure. "Oh, I should like it," she returned, earnestly.

"And he is so fond of it. It seems as if he had given up so many things for me. I used to go out to the Stations with him and live in the Forts. What magnificent gallops we have had. I don't wonder the boys were imbued with the love of military life, their father was such an ardent soldier. We were very happy with our boys but we did want a daughter. I was so proud of the twins, perhaps too proud. Yet I do not think we can love these choice gifts of God too much, so long as we are grateful to the giver. Then there came all the sorrowful years. For a long while they thought I never would walk again. The Major resigned from the army and I know it was a sore cross to him. But we took much pleasure in educating our boys, and Zay was such a bright, winsome little thing. Her passion is dancing and being merry. She loves to go out driving but I think she is afraid of managing a horse. Her father tried to train her a little but she cried and begged off, and the boys have been away so much. Oh, it will give him the greatest pleasure."

"And I want to devote my life to your happiness to make up for the years when you did not have me. You must train me in your ways, you must tell me what he likes best."

"Oh, my darling!"

Major Crawford found them in a close embrace when he returned.

"Oh," the wife began, eagerly, "we have been planning some pleasures so we shall not feel Willard's loss too keenly. You must teach Marguerite to ride and to play chess and we will read the old poets. Some of them are so charming. Why it will seem as if we had gone in an enchanted country-the Forest of Arden."

How bright and smiling she was! He kissed her and then sat down on the other side of Marguerite. He had been afraid he would find her in sore need of comfort.

Aunt Kate came in presently.

"Zaidee has fallen asleep," she said. "She was completely unnerved by the parting. Her feelings are so strong, her love has such depths to it, so I have been soothing her to comparative tranquility. You will not miss this one good-night."

"We shall all miss the boy very much, and he will return to us a man of full stature. I think we can trust him to return as true and honorable as when he went away. Yes, he and Zaidee have been together a great deal this last six months and she will miss him sorely."

"But there will be school and new interests," said the mother. "We must see Mrs. Barrington and make some future arrangements. Why in May the girls will be sixteen!"

"Sixteen!" re-echoed their father. "Let us have them set back."

"Oh no," cried Marguerite, "rather let us stay just here. I should like to make two days of every one. I am afraid no day will be long enough."

Miss Crawford turned away. The others resumed their talk and she heard their joyous voices. "Poor Zay! Poor Willard!" she said, under her breath.

When she went to her room and it was quite late the gas was lighted, her bed been put in the most inviting order and there lay a pretty nightdress with its garniture. She colored with a thrill of pleasure. Then she turned and surveyed herself in the glass. Her eyes had a luminous softness, there was a faint pink in her cheeks and her lips had lost their compression, were absolutely shaped into a smile. If she could grow prettier! But her parents loved her. She knew that and it filled her with joy.

Zaidee was bright as usual the next morning and hovered about her father in a tender manner. "By this time Willard was in Washington. When would he know his time of sailing?"

"I believe the vessel is at Fortress Monroe; we will hear soon."

"Aunt Kate we ought to make some calls today and Margie Putnam has a tea this afternoon, just an informal little affair. Her cousin has come from Providence, I believe, and will try to get in at Mrs. Barrington's. I should think there would be lovely schools in Providence."

"I want to go over to Mrs. Barrington's this morning," said Mrs. Crawford, "about ten; will you order the carriage?" to her husband.

Then she asked the maid to unpack a box that they had brought home on their last journey. There were many beautiful materials. They did seem extravagant at the time, but she was rather glad now.

"Marguerite, I wonder if you could wear these things. This green is lovely." It was a cloth that had the sheen of satin. She held it up to the young girl. Why, yes-it would make a handsome winter suit trimmed with fur. And this sort of lavender gray-it is a favorite color of mine. "We will see the dressmaker this morning."

Marguerite flushed and glancing up smiled gratefully, though she could not trust her voice to speak.

"Oh, it will be delightful for me to have a young girl to dress-a daughter. Perhaps, I shall be a foolish mother, but Aunt Kate has always looked after Zay's attire. I believe I was not much interested in clothes, but now I shall be and I have so many pretty things I shall never wear again. Zay is overburdened now," laughing softly, "and Aunt Kate will dower her. Oh, Marguerite, I am so glad to have you! It has given a new impetus to my life," and she held the girl to her heart.

It was a bright morning, cold, but with no perceptible wind. The trees were outlined against the blue sky, where there was scarcely a drift of white floating about. The evergreen about the lawns made it look less like winter and here and there a conservatory showed brilliant bloom. How beautiful the town was even in the winter.

There were two streets given over to business in one of which a trolley line was allowed, largely for the convenience of the outlying settlements. There really were some very nice stores. There was a fine music hall used for lectures and now and then a play found its way thither. Some seven miles distant was a thriving city.

The carriage paused at a fine residence with just a nameplate on the door. They were ushered into a handsome parlor and in a few moments Madam came sweeping down the broad stairway, her silken gown making a soft swish on the polished floor. She was surprised and delighted to see Mrs. Crawford, who introduced her daughter and soon stated her errand. The green was to be a walking suit for Miss Marguerite and trimmed with whatever fur would be considered most appropriate. The lavender would be a sort of dinner and general-utility dress and ornamented with some beautiful Persian embroidery that had been brought from abroad; one of Aunt Kate's bargains.

When it was all settled the forewoman was called, who ushered Marguerite upstairs into the fitting room where two tall mirrors gave the place twice the size. There were measurements and discussions but the fitter was horrified to learn that the young girl had never worn corsets.

"Still she has a fine figure. You will make a larger woman than your sister, indeed, you do favor your mother. It is like a miracle to see Mrs. Crawford going about without any aid. She had such a splendid physique until that horrible accident. How overjoyed they must feel that you escaped."

Marguerite quietly admitted that and presently she was returned to her mother.

"We might have sent for them, but I thought you wouldn't mind, and I should have had to explain it all to Aunt Kate. Why, I feel as if I had run away on some secret expedition. Do I look guilty?" and she laughed softly. "You are to be my girl you know. Oh, I hope you wont think me exigent? I can't endure fussiness, and I do believe that I have given in to Zay's desires when I did not think them wise or necessary, rather than have any discussion. But Aunt Kate loves her so and she has been so good to me."

Mrs. Barrington was delighted to see them. While the two ladies discussed studies and future plans, Marguerite ran through to the study where the left-over scholars were arranging a little play they were to amuse themselves with that afternoon. But Miss Nevins uttered a shriek of delight and nearly toppled her over in an exuberant embrace.

"Oh, my dear Miss Boyd-Crawford, I mean, will we get used to the new name! Isn't it all splendid! And to be so rich and to belong to a first class family! It does make a difference. I've been writing to mamma all about it. It ought to be put in a book. But I liked you so from the very first, and you were so good to me. But the girls kept hectoring me and saying mamma wouldn't approve. She's very particular about the friends I make, because I shall go in the best society when I get introduced. I think papa will give me a ball. It is real stylish to have it at Sherry's. And I want you and your sister; only you ought to look more alike, being twins; I'm just as glad as if something grand had happened to me. And your father ought to give you a splendid party at Crawford House. I suppose it is very fine and all that."

Her face was in a glow and her dull brown eyes had a glint in them that improved them very much.

"I am just the same as when I was Lilian Boyd," she began. But Alice interrupted-"Oh, no, you're not, and you will soon find it out. It's all right, too. Rich people do have more chances, and seeing the world and mixing with high up style gives you an air. Why you couldn't imagine that plain little Mrs. Boyd with her meek air going to dinners and balls, and she never could have earned money enough to dress any. That's what tells. And when you can't go into society or meet nice people but just stay at home and work or teach-what fun is there in life? Why I'd rather be dead."

"I should want to be alive even if I were Lilian Boyd. I think it is a grand world, and there is so much happening all the time. And I don't care so much about being rich-"

"But you will and your mother is so lovely. Major Crawford looks rather stern and that handsome young man-what a pity he's to follow the sea, unless he gets to be an Admiral, and then he'll have to be quite old. I'd rather be at West Point. Oh, I wish I had a brother."

Marguerite looked pityingly at the silly girl. Then she asked about the play. Miss Nevins had been to the theatre and wanted to remodel the simple little story, and there had been some warm arguments.

"I must go and see Miss Arran." There was no use disputing proprieties with the overwise girl. But she hoped they had all begun a Happy New Year.

Alice followed her into the hall. "You are coming back to school and now we can be real good friends. Oh, I just love you and I'm so glad all this happened to you." Before Marguerite could evade it she had given her a rapturous kiss which the girl rubbed off an instant later.

Miss Arran wa

s truly glad to see her and they exchanged warm wishes.

"We have a new caretaker, quite a young woman, but I do not take a real fancy to her. Your mother, oh, excuse me saying that-was so neat and particular and did every thing so well."

Marguerite smiled. She had often added touches of order and neatness, and kept the room tidy with a taste that never appealed to Mrs. Boyd. Though, perhaps, it had in her earlier years. The young girl could understand now, how gradually she had failed.

And there was Mrs. Dane with her cordial grasp and the heartiness of her greeting. Whatever distrust she might have had had vanished.

"We are so glad to have you back again," she exclaimed, "and such a bright future opening before you, though I must have given you the same respect if you had been here teaching. Mrs. Barrington doesn't often take such a fancy to anyone. She did from the very first, and though you'll find the money and position will make a difference in some quarters, it never would have with her."

"Oh, I am sure of that," responded the girl earnestly.

The two ladies had settled about the studies and the music and Mrs. Barrington explained a little plan. All the girls would be in by Saturday and she thought it would be well to introduce Marguerite in her new circumstances. She would, therefore, give a little dinner at which the sisters should be the guests of honor. That would prevent any gossip or comment and give Marguerite that home feeling with the other students. Mrs. Crawford assented cordially.

"And now, we must go or we will be late for lunch. I can never thank you enough for your kindly interest in my dear girl when she came to you an unknown stranger and if anything should happen to me, for I have wondered if one could be so happy and enjoy it for long, I should want you always to be her friend."

"You may depend upon that, but the good days are only the outgrowth of patiently borne bad ones; beauty for ashes."

Mrs. Crawford was very bright at luncheon. She announced to Zaidee Mrs. Harrington's plan for the informal dinner.

"Why, I think it excellent," declared Zaidee. "You see, we should both be questioned. It's awfully tiresome to have to tell an occurrence over and over and Mrs. Barrington would carry conviction. I hope you won't mind, Marguerite. See what it is to be a heroine."

"I was nearly killed with Miss Nevins and wouldn't it be a good thing to refer curious people to Mrs. Barrington?"

Marguerite glanced up with a half smile.

"We have to pay the penalty for any unusual happenings," said their father. "I think I should feel interested if this had occurred in the home of a neighbor. So we will not set it down to idle curiosity. Even I had to be convinced that it was not mere hearsay."

As they were leaving the room Miss Crawford said in a low tone, "Margaret-don't you need some shopping or planning done?"

"Thank you, Kate. You have been a true sister all these years. I took Marguerite and some material to Madame Blauvelt this morning. She thought that green cloth would make a very becoming suit and the lavender grey. They will not go out much this winter now that the holidays are over, and they are too young."

Miss Crawford only said, "Oh, very well."

The mother had a half guilty feeling as if she had unduly asserted herself, yet she was inexpressibly happy.

There were calls in the afternoon and Zaidee sat alone in her room leaning her chin on her hand and glancing out of the window.

In a way she had been the family heroine.

The twin sister who might have been so dear had been wrenched out of her life. She had thought of her, dreamed of her, although she had been well content to fill the place of an only daughter with this faint shadow of sorrow hanging over her; and suddenly, she had been uprooted, flung aside as it were, and another had stepped into her place. She did not like it. If it had been from the beginning! If it had come about some other way. If someone had sent from that Western town. Would the girls who had held themselves above the Boyd connection feel mortified at many of the comments they had made? She was glad she had held up some supposititious cases; though, truth to tell, Zaidee felt too secure of her own standing to need any propping, and there was a strand of independence in her character, but she had been first all her life and in a curious fashion she would lose that eminence.

Of course, in time she would love Marguerite. One could not do it in a moment. That was the salve she was applying to her conscience. When they had known each other for months, learned and respected each others' peculiarities, love would come. She had not felt inclined to fling herself in Lilian Boyd's arms, and she had almost doubted at first. So had Aunt Kate.

Zaidee would have scouted the thought of jealousy, and if it had been suggested would have denied it vehemently. Neither was she given to analysis. Her temperament was rather volatile and pleasure loving. The things that suited her she enjoyed, the others she passed by indifferently. She did like to be made much of, and she thought she was worthy of preference. She had beauty, good nature and a heedless sort of generosity and wealth. In a certain way she saw the benefit of that quite as much as Alice Nevins though she did not esteem it the chief good.

Major Crawford came in from his walk just at dusk.

"Letters!" holding it up. "A thick packet-one for each of us, I think."

Zaidee had been waiting for Aunt Kate to come up stairs, as the last caller had gone. She was lonely after this long communing with herself.

"If there is not one for me I shall go to bed and cry," she declared as she followed to her mother's room. Aunt Kate had been detailing some of the pleasant neighborhood news.

Yes-each one was directed. Willard had not omitted one member of the household. He was in Washington and had come just in time for some of the grand occasions. Saturday he was to board his vessel and by Wednesday, at the farthest, they were to start on their three years' pilgrimage. But to each one some tenderness exclusively for herself. To Zay he recalled many of their joys during the summer time, little events they were glad to hold together and the blessed news of their mother.

"There will never be anything quite like that," she thought to herself. "And there is no one else-Aunt Kate never felt afraid to trust us, and of course, he will grow older, find a sweetheart perhaps, and I may have a lover; girls of nineteen do. Up to this time he has cared the most for me."

Marguerite turned to the window though the gas had been lighted. There was no past to refer to, only the sweet, tender hopes of the future. It touched her deeply. No one had ever written her such a letter before. And that he was her brother and would write again and again. She must strive to deserve this love and confidence, grow up into the fine character he had pictured for her. Vincent had sent her fond messages in his mother's letter but she did not know him and he could not come so near.

Zay read some of hers aloud, but she wondered a little what he could find to say so much of to Marguerite. She had not the courage to show it to her mother, even, it seemed so sacred to her. Oh, could she reach the heights he had indicated?

Marguerite did shrink from the ordeal of Saturday evening. She had kept rigorously to the position of Mrs. Boyd's daughter but how would she meet these girls who had held aloof in her poverty and proffered cordiality now, because she was Major Crawford's daughter! She could not get over a little hurt feeling, for surely she was the same person. She almost despised the money and the position. But there was the grand and tender love. Ah, that was worth a great deal.

By Saturday noon all the girls had come in. There were merry greetings, recapitulations of the holiday times and the gifts they had received and some of them heard for the first time the change in Lilian Boyd's life.

"I always liked her," said Isabel Gordon, "only you couldn't get on with her. She allowed you to come so far and no farther. And she was a most excellent student and very ready to help anyone. I don't think you girls need ever felt afraid of her presuming and now I suppose you will all go down to her."

Miss Gordon's voice had a touch of indignation.

"I shall pay her the respect due her standing, of course," said another, "I was always polite to her in the classes.

"And, Louie Howe, you know you persuaded that Nevins' girl to write that hateful letter to her, when she had been so good and taken so much pains with her."

"I didn't persuade," rejoined Louie, angrily.

"You said you were sure Mrs. Nevins wouldn't approve of the friendship-yes I think you did suggest the letter and Miss Nevins slipped back woefully. How many of us would have taken her into grace again? And I know Mrs. Barrington held Miss Boyd in high esteem."

"She thought she would make a fine teacher; so, of course, she pushed her along."

"Oh, Louie!" in deprecating tones.

"Well, you may all go down to her. I shan't object. She can't hold a candle to Zaidee."

"Oh, Zay is a darling!"

"I wonder how she takes it. She has always been a little Queen and her aunt thinks the sun rises and sets in her and sweeps the very stars out of sight; and Zay isn't a bit puffed up or arrogant, but she does want people to love and admire her. And now that her mother has recovered sufficiently to go into society again I am afraid Zay won't like to share her."

"Miss Marguerite isn't handsome and Zay is a beauty, and the least vain of any pretty girl that I ever met."

"It's funny for twins not to look more alike, but there's something noble about her, and she has the same lovely complexion. What she needs is more color."

The carriage drove around; Mrs. Barrington welcomed them both warmly. Marguerite was in a light evening dress that made her look much younger and her hair had been becomingly arranged by the maid. All the girls were summoned to the drawing room and Mrs. Barrington entered with her most delightful air.

"Young ladies," she began, "I have a new scholar to introduce to your circle, Miss Marguerite Crawford, the lost child of Major and Mrs. Crawford, supposed to have been killed in the sad accident fifteen years ago. Mrs. Boyd's baby was killed and she, mistaking the nurse who was killed for the mother, out of pity, took the child. Her health was not very good when she came here and it failed gradually. Then she thought she ought to take some steps that the child might be able to trace her relatives, if she had any. You may have all heard the story, which has been proved beyond a doubt, and she has found the most cordial welcome in her own family. I hope you will all rejoice with her, though I had resolved if no claimant were found, to keep her here as my own. I hope you will unite with me in giving her the warmest of welcomes in your circle as ambitious students. I thought you might like to meet her in her new relation to us before the real work of next week began."

There was a moment's silence, then Miss Gordon stepped forward and clasped her hand.

"I think we all rejoice in your good fortune; also, that we are not to lose you. It is a beautiful and happy romance and Mrs. Barrington's plans for you would have been fully deserved if something so much more delightful had not happened. Believe me, I shall always be glad to have known you."

There was an instant confusion of voices and a throng gathering about her. Zaidee stood beside her looking proud and happy as congratulations poured in upon her. The cordial acceptance did touch her. She was glad to begin her new life by being friendly with them all.

Presently they went out to the dining room and it was quite a festive occasion. Zaidee was bright and charming, and endeared herself more than ever to the girls. No one should say she had a grudging thought. Phillipa Rosewald proposed drinking toasts to her, even if it was only in water, and much girlish wit and laughter went round.

"Why it's been a delightful party," several of them declared. "Mrs. Barrington, how can we thank you?"

"By being cordial and helpful with each other and holding fast to the divine truths that shape character and will make you admirable women capable of filling the best and highest positions in life; and, remember, there is nothing more satisfactory in the world than true and generous friendship."

Phillipa rescued Zay from the overwhelming kissing and hugs.

"Oh, my dear, isn't it all wonderful? Why you didn't write half of it to me! And I laughed over your little scare of scarlet fever. Louie had a mental attack, I think. She went almost crazy, but I fancy she won't blow on us. It was a silly thing to do, but see here-" and she twisted a ring around her finger. "A diamond, sure enough, but I can't be engaged until I've graduated. It's just awful, and only a little stolen bit in his sister's letters to me. But he thinks he'll plan a way to see me at Easter, even if he has to come here. So the old woman didn't miss it there! And I do wonder how you'll like a sister? You spoiled little midget!"

"Oh, we shan't quarrel," with a gay laugh.

The carriage had come for them and there were enough farewells to send them off to Europe.

"Zay does take it beautifully," said a group of girls. "Lucky that Miss Nevins was all bunged up with a bad toothache and swelled face. She'd counted so much on being in at the feast."

The three elders were sitting up for them.

"We've just had a gay old time and Rita was the star of the goodly company," exclaimed Zaidee in her merriest tone. "We drank healths enough to sink a ship and Mrs. Barrington was sweetness itself. I'm tired and sleepy, so you won't mind if I run off to bed. And Monday the treadmill of school begins. Only one day of grace!"

She kissed her parents, then her sister. Was she beginning to love her? She had been so radiantly sweet tonight.

"You did enjoy it?" and the Major pulled Marguerite down on his knee.

"Oh, yes, only I didn't like being quite so much of a heroine. But my most ardent admirer was ill in bed, and I was thankful for that."

He laughed. How different she was from Zay. Had it been her quiet restricted sphere, her struggle with the life she had known in dreams and the bald every day experiences? Zay laughed at the favors and pleasures showered upon her but she would not have been the bright, merry girl without them. Would the gravity of the one help to tone down the mercurial temperament of the other? Oh, it was so good to have them both! Could he ever be thankful enough? And he forgave the poor woman in her grave.

Zaidee chatted awhile with Aunt Kate who fancied she understood all the thoughts of the young girl's heart. It was not strange she should be a little jealous, but she had more gifts to attract the world with, and the pendulum of her parents' love would swing back presently. Then the child said good-night and went to her white bed, but the sleepiness had gone by and she was wondering about herself.

Would she come to love this strange sister who had been thrust upon her as it were. Truly, she did not know. If she kept the old love of them all, the first love, no one could quite climb up to that place in their hearts and if Marguerite could be content with the second place-that really was hers, she would be sweet and gracious and share honors with her.

Poor child! She did not understand what love really meant; that it was to dole out the overplus of one's life when one was in the mood, or withhold when one chose, was, as yet, her definition of it. What can an overindulged child know of the grand motives it takes a life-time to learn?

Marguerite looked out on the shining night with its tender hush, with no wind stirring, no sound anywhere. A new life unrolled before her; an illumination and comprehension of the past that would be builded in the years to come. Whatsoever was lovely and of good report was to be the foundation stones of the temple God had bidden her to rear. Would she learn to be lovely in feature and expression from the inward light of the soul-the lamp God had set there?

Yet the new life had brought grander duties than mere self advancement, and Marguerite prayed that she might fulfill them faithfully.

* * *


Complete Editions and you will get the best for the least money

Book by MRS. E. D. E. N. Southworth



The first eighteen titles with brackets are books with sequels, "Victor's Triumph," being a sequel to "Beautiful Fiend," etc. They are all printed from large, clear type on a superior quality of flexible paper and bound in English vellum cloth, assorted colors, containing charming female heads lithographed in twelve colors, as inlays; the titles being stamped in harmonizing colors of ink or foil. Cloth, 12mo size.

1 Beautiful Fiend, A

2 Victor's Triumph

3 Bride's Fate

4 Changed Brides

5 Cruel as the Grave

6 Tried for Her Life

7 Fair Play

8 How He Won Her

9 Family Doom

10 Maiden Widow

11 Hidden Hand, The

12 Capitola's Peril

13 Ishmael

14 Self Raised

15 Lost Heir of Linlithgow

16 Noble Lord, A

17 Unknown

18 Mystery of Raven Rocks

19 Bridal Eve, The

20 Bride's Dowry, The

21 Bride of Llewellyn, The

22 Broken Engagement, The

23 Christmas Guest, The

24 Curse of Clifton

25 Deserted Wife, The

26 Discarded Daughter, The

27 Doom of Deville, The

28 Eudora

29 Fatal Secret, A

30 Fortune Seeker

31 Gypsy's Prophecy

32 Haunted Homestead

33 India; or, The Pearl of Pearl River

34 Lady of the Isle, The

35 Lost Heiress, The

36 Love's Labor Won

37 Missing Bride, The

38 Mother-in-Law

39 Prince of Darkness, and Artist's Love

40 Retribution

41 Three Beauties, The

42 Three Sisters, The

43 Two Sisters, The

44 Vivian

45 Widow's Son

46 Wife's Victory

All of the above books may be had at the store where this book was bought, or will be sent postpaid at 75c each by the publishers


701-727 Dearborn Street CHICAGO

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