George, it wasn't! and Meg must know it." He had fumed inwardly during the feast, but when the flurry was over, and he strolled home, after seeing Scott off, a milder mood came over him. "Poor little thing! it was hard upon her when she tried so heartily to please me. She was wrong, of course, but then she was young. I must be patient, and teach her." He hoped she had not gone home—he hated gossip and interference. For a minute he was ruffled again at the mere thought of it; and then the fear that Meg would cry herself sick, softened his heart, and sent him on at a quicker pace, resolving to be calm and kind, but firm, quite firm, and show her where she had failed in her duty to her spouse.
Meg likewise resolved to be "calm and kind, but firm," and show him his duty. She longed to run to meet him, and beg pardon, and be kissed and comforted, as she was sure of being; but, of course, she did nothing of the sort; and when she saw John coming, began to hum quite naturally, as she rocked and sewed like a lady of leisure in her best parlor.
John was a little disappointed not to find a tender Niobe; but, feeling that his dignity demanded the first apology, he made none: only came leisurely in, and laid himself upon the sofa, with the singularly relevant remark,—
"We are going to have a new moon, my dear."
"I've no objection," was Meg's equally soothing remark.
A few other topics of general interest were introduced by Mr. Brooke, and wet-blanketed by Mrs. Brooke, and conversation languished. John went to one window, unfolded his paper, and wrapt himself