Mr. Allison had fully kept his promise to Sophie, and Ashlands was again the fine old place it had been prior to the war. The family, consisting of the elder Mrs. Carrington, a young man, named George Boyd, a nephew of hers who had taken charge of the plantation, Sophie and her four children, had now been in possession for over a year.
Sophie, still an almost inconsolable mourner for the husband of her youth, lived a very retired life, devoting herself to his mother and his orphaned little ones.
Mrs. Ross, expecting to spend the fall and winter with them, had brought all her children and a governess, Miss Fisk, who undertook the tuition of the little Carringtons also during her stay at Ashlands, thus leaving the mothers more at liberty for the enjoyment of each other's society.
It was in the midst of school-hours that the Ion carriage came driving up the avenue, and Philip Ross, lifting his head from the slate over which he had been bending for the last half hour,