Ethelyn's Mistake (Chapter 2, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 2

Captain Markham's carryall, which Jake, the hired man, had brushed up
wonderfully for the occasion, had gone over to West Chicopee after the
party from Boston--Mrs. Dr. Van Buren, with Frank, and his betrothed,
Miss Nettie Hudson, from Philadelphia. Others had been invited from the
city, but one after another their regrets had come to Ethelyn, who would
gladly have excused the entire set, Aunt Van Buren, Frank and all,
though she confessed to herself a great deal of curiosity with regard to
Miss Nettie, whom she had never seen; neither had she met Frank since
the dissolution of their engagement, for though she had been in Boston,
where most of her dresses were made, Mrs. Dr. Van Buren had wisely
arranged that Frank should be absent from home. She was herself not
willing to risk a meeting between him and Ethelyn until matters were too
well adjusted to admit of a change, for Frank had more than once shown
signs of rebellion. He was in a more quiescent state now, having made up
his mind that what could not be cured must be endured, and as he had
sensibility enough to feel very keenly the awkwardness of meeting
Ethelyn under present circumstances, and as Miss Nettie was really very
fond of him, and he, after a fashion, was fond of her, he was in the
best of spirits when he stepped from the train at West Chicopee and
handed his mother and Nettie into the spacious carryall of which he had
made fun as a country ark, while they rode slowly toward Aunt Barbara
Bigelow's. Everything was in readiness for them. The large north chamber
was aired and swept and dusted, and only little bars of light came
through the closed shutters, and the room looked very cool and nice,
with its fresh muslin curtains looped back with blue, its carpet of the
same cool shade, its pretty chestnut furniture, its snowbank of a bed,
and the tasteful bouquets which Ethelyn had arranged--Ethelyn, who
lingered longer in this room than the other one across the hall, the
bridal chamber, where the ribbons which held the curtains were white,
and the polished marble of the bureau and washstand, sent a shiver
through her veins whenever she looked in there. She was in her own cozy
chamber now, and the silken hair, which in the early morning had been
twisted under her net, was bound in heavy braids about her head, while a
pearl comb held it in its place, and a half-opened rose was fastened
just behind her ear. She had hesitated some time in her choice of a
dress, vacillating between a pale buff, which Frank had always admired,
and a delicate blue muslin, in which Judge Markham had once said she
looked so pretty. The blue had won the day, for Ethelyn felt that she
owed some concession to the man whose kind note she had treated so
cavalierly that morning, and so she wore the blue for him, feeling glad
of the faint, sick feeling which kept the blood from rushing too hotly
to her face, and made her fairer and paler than her wont. She knew that
she was very handsome when her toilet was made, and that was one secret
of the assurance with which she went forward to meet Nettie Hudson when
at last the carryall stopped before the gate.

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