“She’s very old, too,” Phil said, “and lives in a tiny house. She’s not at all well off; we shouldn’t want to bother her. And there is Uncle Lewis.”
“Oh, him!” said Ken, gloomily.
“It takes three months even to get an answer from a letter to him,” Felicia explained. “He’s in the Philippines, doing something to Ignorants.”
“Igorrotes, Phil,” Ken muttered.
“He sounds unpromising,” Mr. Dodge sighed. “And there are no friends who would be sufficiently interested in your problem to open either their doors or their pocket-books?”
“We don’t know many people here,” Felicia said. “Mother hasn’t gone out very much for several years.”
Ken flushed. “And we’d rather people didn’t open anything to us, anyhow,” he said.
“Except, perhaps, their hearts,” Mr. Dodge supplemented, “or their eyes, when they see your independent procedure!” He tapped his knee with his glasses. “My dear children, I suggest that you move to some other house—perhaps to some quaint little place in the country, which would be much less expensive than anything you could find in town. Your mother had best go away, as the doctor advises—she will be much better looked after, and of course she mustn’t know what you do. I’ll watch over this Rocky Head concern, and you may feel perfectly secure in the Fidelity. And don’t hesitate to ask me anything you want to know, at any time.”
He rose, pushing back his papers.
“Don’t we owe you something for all this, sir?” Ken asked, rather red.
Mr. Dodge smiled. “One dollar, and other valuable considerations,” he said.
Kenelm brought out his pocketbook, and carefully pulled a dollar bill from the four which it contained. He presented it to Mr. Dodge, and Felicia said:
“Thank you so very, very much!”
“You’re very welcome,” said the attorney, “and the best of luck to you all!” When the glass door had closed behind the pair, Mr. Dodge sat down before his desk and wiped his glasses. He looked at the dollar bill, and then he said—quite out loud—
“Poor, poor dears!”
That night, Kenelm could not sleep. He walked up and down his room in the dark. His own head ached, and he could not think properly. The one image which stood clearly out of the confusion was that of the Celestine, raising gracious spars above the house-tops. The more he thought of her, the more a plan grew in his tired mind. The crew of the Celestine must be paid quite well—he could send money home every week from different ports—he could send gold and precious things from South America. There would be one less person to feed at home; he would be earning money instead of spending it.
He turned on his light, and quickly gathered together his hockey sweater, his watch-cap, and an old pair of trousers. He made them into a bundle with a few other things. Then he wrote a letter, containing many good arguments, and pinned it on Felicia’s door. He tiptoed downstairs and out into the night. From the street he could see the faint green light from his mother’s room, where Miss McClough was sitting. He turned and ran quickly, without stopping to think.