“Mamma!” she cried, passionately, and bursting into tears, for she had been working herself up as well, “when I am away from her I hate her for having won him from me, and I am almost ready to do anything desperate; but when I am with her she disarms me; there is something about the girl that almost makes me love her. If you could have seen her this morning, she looked so proud and happy when I praised the baby.”
“Sadie Farnum, I do believe you are becoming demented! Here is poor Lady Linton almost heart-broken over her brother’s mesalliance, his mother lies at death’s door on account of the excitement caused by it, while you, who ought to be the most interested party of all, are about to turn traitress and go over to the enemy just because of a foolish sentimentality for this doll-faced girl. I declare, I have no patience with you.”
“I think you have said enough, mamma,” replied Miss Farnum, coldly, and wiping away her tears, “but there may come a time when you will regret your present attitude—when you will be sorry that you strove to inculcate such a bitter spirit into the mind of your only daughter. Lady Linton for some strange reason wanted us to come here and see for ourselves what this girl is like; we have seen her. Let us go our way now and not revive old hopes and ambitions, which, to say the least, are not pleasant to remember under the circumstances. Yes, let us end this disagreeable business, and leave Sir William Heath’s wife alone.”
“I am not ready to leave New York yet, and we will stay where we are for the present,” responded Mrs. Farnum, flushing a deep red, for she had never told her daughter of the plot which she was helping Lady Linton to carry out, and she saw now that it would not be wise to do so, since Sadie might flatly refuse to have anything to do with it, and in her present state of mind, might do something to upset their well-laid schemes.
The Plot Begins to Work.
The acquaintance between the Farnums and Virgie progressed rapidly after the meeting between Sadie and the young wife. Mrs. Farnum was duly introduced, and did not prove to be nearly so formidable a personage as Virgie had imagined her to be; for although she was not drawn toward her as she had been to her daughter, yet she was so gracious and exerted herself to be so agreeable, that Virgie could but acknowledge to herself that she was a very pleasant and entertaining person.
Visits were exchanged almost every day between them; the baby was praised and admired, and Virgie was petted and made much of, until her heart and confidence were entirely won.
They insisted upon her driving with them; “the fresh air would do her good,” Mrs. Farnum declared, “for she had noticed during the last week that she was losing color;” and thus she made many excursions with the two ladies, and visited many points of interest. They even proposed that they should go into the country together, as it was getting so oppressively warm in the city; but Virgie would not listen to this proposition, because of her anxiety for letters, and the hope that Sir William might be coming for her.