“I’ll tell father you are here. I’ll make him come, Mr. Haines. He shall see you.”
With the air of a defiant little princess she started for the door.
“Hope, I forbid you doing any such thing,” exclaimed her older sister, but the younger girl paid no attention. Randolph caught her arm.
“You shall not, Hope,” he cried.
Hope Georgia struggled and pulled her arm free.
“I reckon I just got to do what seems right to me, Randolph,” she exclaimed. “I reckon I’ve grown up to-night, and I tell you—I tell all of you”—she whirled and faced them—“there’s something wrong here, and father is going to see Mr. Haines to-night, and they are going to settle it.”
Norton alone was equal to the situation, temporarily at least.
“I’ll be fair with you, Hope,” he said reassuringly, and she stopped in her flight to the hall door. “I’ll take Carolina and Randolph in to see the Senator, and we’ll tell him Mr. Haines is here. Perhaps we had better tell the Senator,” Norton suggested, beckoning to Carolina and her brother. “Let Mr. Haines wait here, and we will make the situation clear to the Senator.”
“You’d better make it very clear,” exclaimed the younger girl, “for I’m going to stay here with Mr. Haines until he has seen father.”
The guilty trio, fearful of this new and unexplainable activity of Hope Georgia, slowly departed in search of Senator Langdon to make a last desperate attempt to prevent him from meeting this pestilential secretary that was—and might be again.
When the door closed after them Hope came down to the table where Bud Haines was standing.
“Won’t you sit down, Mr. Haines?” she said. “I’ll—I’ll try to entertain you until father comes,” she said weakly, realizing that again she was alone with the man she loved.
HOPE LANGDON’S HOUR OF TRIUMPH
Haines sat at a table in the reception-room, across from Hope Georgia, and his gratitude for her battle in his favor mingled with a realization of qualities in this young lady that he had never before noticed. Probably he did not know that what he had really seen in her that day and that evening was the sudden transition from girlhood to womanhood, her casting aside of thoughtless, irresponsive youth and the shouldering of the responsibilities of the grown woman who would do her share in the world’s work.
He stared across in astonishment at this slip of a girl who had outwitted two resourceful men and an older sister of unquestioned ability.
“I do not recognize you, Miss Hope,” he said finally.
“Perhaps you never looked at me before,” she suggested archly, feeling instinctively that this was her hour; that the man she loved was at this moment thinking more about her than of anything else in the world.
Haines made a gesture of regret.