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True Love's Reward

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When Mrs. Montague entered her room, an hour after Mona went up stairs, there was a deep frown upon her brow.

She found Mona arrayed in a pretty white wrapper, and sitting before the glowing grate reading a new book, while she waited for her.

"What are you sitting up for, and arrayed in that style?" she ungraciously demanded.

"I thought you would need help in undressing, and I put on this loose wrapper because it was more comfortable than any other dress," Mona answered, as she regarded the lady with some surprise, for she had never before quite so curtly addressed her.

Mrs. Montague did not pursue the subject, and Mona patiently assisted her in taking off her finery, hanging the rich dress carefully over a form, folding her dainty laces, and arranging her jewels in their cases.

"Can I do anything more for you?" she asked, when this was done.


"At what time shall I come to you in the morning?" the fair girl inquired, without appearing to heed the uncivil monosyllable.

"Not before nine o'clock; but you can mend that rip in my traveling suit before that, as we shall go back to New York on the eleven o'clock express."

"Very well; good-night," Mona said, with gentle politeness, as she turned to leave the room.

"Stop a moment, Ruth," Mrs. Montague commanded.

Mona turned back, flushing slightly at the woman's imperiousness.

"I have not been at all pleased with your deportment this evening," the woman continued, "You have been exceedingly forward for a person in your position."

Mona's color deepened to a vivid scarlet at this unexpected charge.

"I do not quite understand you—" she began, when her companion turned angrily upon her, thus arresting her in the midst of her speech.

"I do not see how you can fail to do so," was her icy retort. "I refer to your acceptance of Mr. Palmer's attentions. One would have supposed that you regarded yourself as his equal by the way you paraded the drawing-room with him to-night."

Mona could hardly repress a smile at this attack, and she wondered what Ray would have thought if he could have heard it. Yet a thrill of indignation shot through her at this unreasonable abuse.

"You witnessed my introduction to Mr. Palmer this evening," she quietly replied; "you heard him offer to conduct me to Mr. Wellington, and so know how I happened to accept his attentions."

"You should have rejected his offer," was the quick retort.

"I could not do so without appearing rude—you yourself know that no young lady would have done so under the circumstances."

"No young lady—no, of course not," interposed Mrs. Montague, with significant emphasis; "but you must not forget that your position will not admit of your doing what might consistently be done by young ladies in society. You received Mr. Palmer's attentions as a matter of course—as if you considered yourself his equal."

"I do so consider myself," Mona returned, with quiet dignity, but with a dangerous sparkle in her usually mild eyes. The woman's arrogance was becoming unbearable, even to her sweet spirit....