Equipped and armed for conquest, then, she came into the room with a very tolerable affectation of unconcern. Altogether, it was a quite effective entrance.
“I’ve been for a little drive, Billy,” she mendaciously informed him. “That’s how you happen to have the opportunity of seeing me in all my nice new store-clothes. Aren’t you pleased, Billy? No, don’t you dare get up!” Margaret stood across the room, peeling off her gloves and regarding him on the whole with disapproval. “They’ve been starving you,” she pensively reflected. “As soon as that Jeal person goes away, I shall have six little beefsteaks cooked and see to it personally that you eat every one of them. And I’ll cook a cherry pie—quick as a cat can wink her eye—won’t I, Billy? That Jeal person is a decided nuisance,” said Miss Hugonin, as she stabbed her hat rather viciously with two hat-pins and then laid it aside on a table.
Billy Woods was looking up at her forlornly. It hurt her to see the love and sorrow in his face. But oh, how avidly his soul drank in the modulations of that longed-for voice—a voice that was honey and gold and velvet and all that is most sweet and rich and soft in the world.
“Peggy,” said he, plunging at the heart of things, “where’s that will?”
Miss Hugonin kicked forward a little foot-stool to the other side of the fire, and sat down and complacently smoothed out her skirts.
“I knew it!” said she. “I never saw such a one-idea’d person in my life. I knew that would be the very first thing you would ask for, Billy Woods, because you’re such an obstinate, stiffnecked donkey. Very well!”—and Margaret tossed her head—“here’s Uncle Fred’s will, then, and you can do exactly as you like with it, and now I hope you’re satisfied!” And Margaret handed him the long envelope which lay in her lap.
Mr. Woods promptly opened it.
“That,” Miss Hugonin commented, “is what I term very unladylike behaviour on your part.”
“You evidently don’t trust me, Billy Woods. Very well! I don’t care! Read it carefully—very carefully, and make quite sure I haven’t been dabbling in forgery of late—besides, it’s so good for your eyes, you know, after being hit over the head,” Margaret suggested, cheerfully.
Billy chuckled. “That’s true,” said he, “but I know Uncle Fred’s fist well enough without having to read it all. Candidly, Peggy, I had to look at it, because I—well, I didn’t quite trust you, Peggy. And now we’re going to burn this interesting paper, you and I.” “Wait!” Margaret cried. “Ah, wait, just a moment, Billy!”
He glanced up at her in surprise, the paper still poised in his hand.
She sat with head drooped forward, her masculine little chin thrust out eagerly, her candid eyes transparently appraising him.
“Why are you going to burn it, Billy?”
“Why?” Mr. Woods, repeated, thoughtfully. “Well, for a variety of reasons. First is, that Uncle Fred really did leave his money to you, and burning this is the only way of making sure you get it. Why, I thought you wanted me to burn it! Last time I saw you—”