words. "Dawning delicate beauty." They led her to the looking-glass so often that she had no time nor thought for what was happening elsewhere. Meanwhile Mrs. Merrill-Cotton and Mr. Rysam foregathered on deck, and at mealtimes, at the bridge table and in the saloon. Margaret was assured of a stepmother long before she realised the possibility of her father having a thought for anybody but herself. And then she was told that it was only for her sake that the engagement had been entered into! Mrs. Merrill-Cotton, it appeared, was the centre of English society, had a large income and a larger heart. She, Margaret, would be the chief interest of the two of them.
Margaret's indifference to mundane things was sufficient to make her presently accept the position, if not enthusiastically, yet agreeably. And, strangely enough, Mrs. Merrill-Cotton proved to be as alleged. She had never had a daughter, and wished to mother Margaret: she had no other ulterior motive in marrying the American. Her income was at least as much as she had said, and she knew a great many people. That they were city people of greater wealth than distinction made no difference to her future husband. He wanted a domestic hearth and some one to share the embarrassment of his exceptional daughter.
The first thing they did after the wedding was to take Margaret to Dresden for those piano lessons