According to European doctrine, my fealty to Eveena must then have been in peril. And yet, warmly as I felt for Eunane, the element in her passionate confession that touched me most was her recognition of Eveena’s superiority; and as I soothed and comforted the half-childish penitent, I thought how much it would please Eveena that I had at last come to an understanding with the companion she avowedly liked the best.
“But, Eunane,” I said at last, “do you remember what you were saying when I called you—called you on purpose to stop you? You said that there was something between Eveena and myself more than—–more than what? What did you mean? Speak frankly, child; I know that this time you were not going to scald me on purpose.”
“I don’t know quite what I meant,” she replied simply. “But the first time you took me out, I heard the superintendent say some strange things; and then he checked himself when he found your companion was not Eveena. Then Eive—I mean—you use expressions sometimes in talking to Eveena that we never heard before. I think there is some secret between you.”
“And if there be, Eunane, were you going to betray it—to set Enva and Leenoo on to find it out?”
“I did not think,” she said. “I never do think before I get into trouble. I don’t say, forgive me this time; but I will hold my tongue for the future.”
By this time our evening meal was ready. As I led Eunane to her place, Eveena looked up with some little surprise. It was rarely that, especially on returning from absence, I had sought any other company than hers. But there was no tinge of jealousy or doubt in her look. On the contrary, as, with her entire comprehension of every expression of my face, and her quickness to read the looks of others, she saw in both countenances that we were on better terms than ever before, her own brightened at the thought. As I placed myself beside her, she stole her hand unobserved into mine, and pressed it as she whispered—
“You have found her out at last. She is half a child as yet; but she has a heart—and perhaps the only one among them.”
“The four,” as I called them, looked up as we approached with eager malice:—bitterly disappointed, when they saw that Eunane had won something more than pardon. Whatever penance they had dreaded, their own escape ill compensated the loss of their expected pleasure in the pain and humiliation of a finer nature. Eunane’s look, timidly appealing to her to ratify our full reconciliation, answered by Eveena’s smile of tender, sisterly sympathy, enhanced and completed their discomfiture.