Only Sahwah, with her faith in her friend unshaken, though circumstances pointed accusing fingers from every direction, declared stoutly, “She didn’t, I know she didn’t. Some day you’ll find out I’m right!”
The days dragged themselves along and a week loitered past which seemed an age to the Winnebagos. No word had come from Nyoda since a telegram she had sent upon her arrival, saying that Sherry was very low and not expected to live. They had written her about Veronica’s plight, but there was no answer to that.
Neither did they hear anything about Veronica. Mr. Wing had been in Philadelphia ever since the day of Veronica’s arrest, but they had not heard from him since.
The Winnebagos wore themselves out talking about Veronica. The subject of her mysterious excursions from the house was always in the air, and it formed a hurdle over which no one could jump. Where had she gone on those excursions? Why didn’t she confide in them and satisfy their minds on this point?
It usually happens in such instances, where our friends fail to take us into their confidence on matters which we think we have a right to know, that our pride is hurt at the neglect and pretty soon we begin to have suspicions in regard to the mysterious action. So it was with the Winnebagos. At first they only felt hurt that Veronica should have secrets away from them, but soon they began to say to themselves that there must have been something suspicious somewhere, if she could not confide in them, her best friends.
It was Agony who voiced this sentiment the oftenest, and kept the mystery constantly stirred up. She never let them forget it for a moment. She seemed inclined to argue as her father had done, that Veronica’s ties of blood and birth had been too strong for her and in an unguarded moment she had yielded to the impulse to assist the cause of her native land. The constant repetition of this belief began to influence the others. Much as they were loath to believe that Veronica would assist the enemies of their country, they were always conscious of the fact that they had never really known Veronica; that they could not understand her strange, passionate nature; that never in their acquaintance with her had they ever been able to guess what she would do next. There had always been a gulf between themselves and her which they had never been able to cross entirely, much as they had come to love her; there was always a line drawn around her over which they had never been able to pass. They loved her dearly; they admired her wildly; but they no more understood the soul that was locked up in her uncommunicative nature than they understood the riddle of the Sphinx. They all realized this, and were filled with sorrowful forebodings. The fact that she had known Prince Karl Augustus loomed larger and larger in their minds as the days wore on, and it seemed not at all improbable that she had seized the opportunity to aid him in his activities, without ever stopping to think of the consequences of her act. They were broken-hearted over it, but gradually came to believe the possibility of the charge against her.