Marcia Schuyler (Chapter 4, page 4 of 10)


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Chapter 4

The bed had not been slept in; that they all saw at once. The room was in confusion, but perhaps not more than might have been expected when the occupant was about to leave on the morrow. There were pieces of paper and string upon the floor and one or two garments lying about as if carelessly cast off in a hurry. David recognized the purple muslin frock Kate had worn the night before, and put out his hand to touch it as it lay across the foot of the bed, vainly reaching after her who was not there.

They stood in silence, father, mother, sister, and lover, and took in every detail of the deserted room, then looked blankly into one another's white faces, and in the eyes of each a terrible question began to dawn. Where was she?

Madam Schuyler recovered her senses first. With her sharp practical system she endeavored to find out the exact situation.

"Who saw her last?" she asked sharply looking from one to the other. "Who saw her last? Has she been down stairs this morning?" she looked straight at Marcia this time, but the girl shook her head.

"I went to bed last night before they came in," she said, looking questioningly at David, but a sudden remembrance and fear seized her heart. She turned away to the window to face it where they could not look at her.

"We came in early," said David, trying to keep the anxiety out of his voice, as he remembered his well-beloved's good-night. Surely, surely, nothing very dreadful could have happened just over night, and in her father's own house. He looked about again to see the natural, every-day, little things that would help him drive away the thoughts of possible tragedy.

"Kate was tired. She said she was going to get up very early this morning and wash her face in the dew on the grass." He braved a smile and looked about on the troubled group. "She must be out somewhere upon the place," he continued, gathering courage with the thought; "she told me it was an old superstition. She has maybe wandered further than she intended, and perhaps got into some trouble. I'd better go and search for her. Is there any place near here where she would be likely to be?" He turned to Marcia for help.

"But Kate would never delay so long I'm sure," said the stepmother severely. "She's not such a fool as to go traipsing through the wet grass before daylight for any nonsense. If it were Marcia now, you might expect anything, but Kate would be satisfied with the dew on the grass by the kitchen pump. I know Kate."

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