"Yes, Lucy! She is ruined! She has nothing. It was all there." He paced up and down, hoarse with agitation and triumph. "She mustn't know it, mother, until she is safe in another home."
"Another home?" "Oh, surely you understand! Here--if she will come. Poor little girl! She has not a dollar! I am getting a big salary. I can work for you all. My God! I will have her at last! Unless---- Perhaps she won't come! Mother, do you think she will come?" He caught her arm, his jaws twitched, the tears stood in his eyes, as when he used to come to her with his boyish troubles.
"How can I tell?" said Frances. "Go and ask her."
In July Miss Vance returned unexpectedly. Her charges had tired of travel, and turned their backs upon India. She dropped them in Chicago, and came to Weir for rest. The evening of her arrival she strolled with Frances through the park, listening to the story of George's sudden wooing, and the quiet, hurried wedding.
"It had to be quiet and hurried," said Mrs. Waldeaux, "in order to keep her ignorant of her change of fortune. He took her to the Virginia mountains, so that no newspapers could reach her. They are coming to-morrow. It won't trouble her to hear that her money is gone when she is here with us all, at home. As for me," she went on excitedly, "I am beginning to advertise the summer resort. I must put my hand to the plough. I don't mean that she shall miss any comfort or luxury as George's wife."
Miss Vance looked at her. "Frances, give up your planning and working. Let George work for you and his wife," she said curtly. "It is time for you to stop and rest."
"And why should I stop and rest, Clara?" said Frances, amazed.
"Surely you know, dear. You are not as young as you once were. Your eyes are weak, and your hearing is a little dulled, and----"