Esther HTML version

Chapter IX
At her usual hour for taking Esther to drive, Mrs. Murray appeared at the house, where
she found Catherine looking as little pleased as though she were ordered to return to
her native prairie.
"We have sent him off," said she, "and we are clean broke up."
The tears were in her eyes as she thus announced the tragedy which had been acted
only an hour or two before, but her coolness more than ever won Mrs. Murray's heart.
"Tell me all that has happened," said she.
"I've told you all I know," replied Catherine. "They had it out here for an hour or more,
and then Esther ran up to her room. I've been to the door half a dozen times, and could
hear her crying and moaning inside."
Mrs. Murray sat down with a rueful face and a weary sigh, but there was no sign of
hesitation or doubt in her manner. The time had come for her to take command, and
she did it without fretfulness or unnecessary words.
"You are the only person I know with a head," said she to Catherine. "You have some
common sense and can help me. I want to take Esther out of this place within six hours.
Can you manage to get every thing ready?"
"I will run it all if you will take care of Esther," replied Catherine. "I'm not old enough to
boss her."
"All you will have to do is to see that your trunks are packed for a week's absence and
you are both ready to start by eight o'clock," answered Mrs. Murray. "Do you attend to
that and I will look out for the rest. Now wait here a few minutes while I go up and see
Catherine wished nothing better than to start any where at the shortest notice. She was
tired of the long strain on her sympathies and feelings, and was glad to be made useful
in a way that pleased her practical mind. Mrs. Murray went up to Esther's room. All was
quiet inside. The storm had spent itself. Knowing that her aunt would come, Esther had
made the effort to be herself again, and when Mrs. Murray knocked at the door, the
voice that told her to come in was firm and sweet as ever. Esther was getting ready for
her drive, and though her eyes, in spite of bathing, were red and swollen, they had no
longer the anxious and troubled look of a hunted creature which had so much alarmed
Mrs. Murray for the last few days. Her expression was more composed than it had been
for weeks. Her love had already become a sorrow rather than a passion, and she would
not, for a world of lovers, have gone back to the distress of yesterday.