The Mayor's Wife
18. The Morning News
That evening I was made a heroine of by Mrs: Packard and all the other
members of the household. Even Nixon thawed and showed me his genial side. I
had to repeat my story above stairs--and below, and relate just what the old
ladies had done and said, and how they bore their joy, and whatever I thought
they would do with their money now they had it. When I at last reached my room,
my first act was to pull aside my shade and take a peep at the old attic window.
Miss Charity's face was there, but so smiling and gay I hardly knew it. She kissed
her hand to me as I nodded my head, and then turned away with her light as if to
show me she had only been waiting to give me this joyous good night.
This was a much better picture to sleep on than the former one had been.
Next day I settled back into my old groove. Mrs. Packard busied herself with her
embroidery and I read to her or played on the piano. Happier days seemed
approaching, nay, had come. We enjoyed two days of it, then trouble settled
down on us once more.
It began on Friday afternoon. Mrs. Packard and I had been out making some
arrangements for the projected dinner-party and I had stopped for a minute in the
library before going up-stairs.
A pile of mail lay on the table. Running this over with a rapid hand, she singled
out several letters which she began to open. Their contents seemed far from
satisfactory. Exclamation after exclamation left her lips, her agitation increasing
with each one she read, and her haste, too, till finally it seemed sufficient for her
just to glance at the unfolded sheet before letting it drop. When the last one had
left her hand, she turned and, encountering my anxious look, bitterly remarked:
"We need not have made those arrangements this morning. Seven regrets in this
mail and two in the early one. Nine regrets in all! and I sent out only ten
invitations. What is the meaning of it? I begin to feel myself ostracized."
I did not understand it any more than she did.
"Invite others," I suggested, and was sorry for my presumption the next minute.
Her poor lip trembled.
"I do not dare," she whispered. "Oh, what will Mr. Packard say! Some one or
something is working against us. We have enemies-- enemies, and Mr. Packard
will never get his election."