old Ghiscari coast road, and another fifty from Yunkai
Of Maude's existence he knew nothing, and when at last supper was announced, and he followed his cousin to the dining room, he started in surprise as his eye fell on the dark-eyed girl who, with a heightened bloom upon her cheek, presided at the table with so much grace and dignity. Whether intentionally or not, we cannot say, but Nellie failed to introduce her stepsister, and as Mrs. Kelsey was too much absorbed in looking at her pretty niece, and in talking to her brother, to notice the omission, Maude's position would have been peculiarly embarrassing but for the gentlemanly demeanor of James, who, always courteous, particularly to those whom he thought neglected, bowed politely, and made to her several remarks concerning the fineness of the day and the delightful view which Laurel Hill commanded of the surrounding country. She was no menial, he knew, and looking in her bright, black eyes he saw that she had far more mind than the dollish Nellie, who, as usual, was provoking J.C. to say all manner of foolish things.
As they were returning to the parlor J.C. said to Nellie: "By the way, Nell, who is that young girl in white, and what is she doing here?"
"Why, that's Maude Remington, my stepsister," answered Nellie. "I'm sure you've heard me speak of her."
J.C. was sure he hadn't; but he did not contradict the little lady, whose manner plainly indicated that any attention paid by him to the said Maude would be resented as an insult to herself. Just then Mrs. Kelsey went upstairs, taking her niece with her; and as Dr. Kennedy had a patient to visit he, too, asked to be excused, and the young men were left alone. The day was warm, and sauntering out beneath the trees they sat down upon a rustic seat which commanded a view of the dining room, the doors and windows of which were open, disclosing to view all that was transpiring within.
"In the name of wonder, what's that?" exclaimed J.C., as he saw a curiously shaped chair wheeling itself, as it were, into the room.
"It must be Dr. Kennedy's crippled boy," answered James, as Louis skipped across the floor on crutches and climbed into the chair which Maude carefully held for him.
Louis did not wish to eat with the strangers until somewhat acquainted, consequently he waited until they were gone, and then came to the table, where Maude stood by his side, carefully ministering to his wants, and assisting him into his chair when he was through. Then, pushing back her curls, and donning the check apron which Nellie so much abhorred, she removed the dishes herself, for old Hannah she knew was very tired, having done an unusual amount of work that day.
"I tell you what, Jim, I wouldn't wonder if that's the very one for you," said J.C., puffing leisurely at his cigar, and still keeping his eyes fixed upon the figure in white, as if to one of his fastidious taste there was nothing very revolting in seeing Maude Remington wash the supper dishes, even though her hands were brown and her arms a little red.
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