Across this golden outlook there came a shadow. If he had wished to come to her, she would have waited for him anywhere, or if he had wished her to go to him, she would have gone anywhere. But it seemed as if that mass of gold, which brought them together, must keep them apart, a long time certainly, perhaps always. Nothing that had happened had had any element of certainty about it, and the future was still less certain. If he had come to her before undertaking the perilous voyage now before him, there would have been a certainty in her life which would have satisfied her forever. But he did not come. It was plainly his intention to have nothing to do with the present until the future should be settled, so far as he could settle it.
In a few days after she had written to Captain Horn, informing him of the plans she had made to go to France, Edna received an answer which somewhat disappointed her. If the captain’s concurrence in her proposed foreign sojourn had not been so unqualified and complete, if he had proposed even some slight modification, if he had said anything which would indicate that he felt he had authority to oppose her movements if he did not approve of them,—in fact, even if he had opposed her plan,—she would have been better pleased. But he wrote as if he were her financial agent, and nothing more. The tone of his letter was kind, the arrangements he said he had made in regard to the money deposited in San Francisco showed a careful concern for her pleasure and convenience, but nothing in his letter indicated that he believed himself possessed in any way of the slightest control over her actions. There was nothing like a sting in that kind and generous letter, but when she had read it, the great longing of Edna’s heart turned and stung her. But she would give no sign of this wound. She was a brave woman, and could wait still longer.
The captain informed her that everything was going well with his enterprise—that Burke had arrived, and had agreed to take part in the expedition, and that he expected that his brig, the Miranda, would be ready in less than a week. He mentioned again that he was extremely busy with his operations, but he did not say that he was sorry he was unable to come to take leave of her. He detailed in full the arrangements he had made, and then placed in her hands the entire conduct of the financial affairs of the party until she should hear from him again. When he arrived in France, he would address her in care of his bankers, but in regard to two points only did he now say anything which seemed like a definite injunction or even request. He asked Edna to urge upon Mrs. Cliff the necessity of saying nothing about the discovery of the gold, for if it should become known anywhere from Greenland to Patagonia, he might find a steamer lying off the Rackbirds’ cove when his slow sailing-vessel should arrive there. The other request was that Edna keep the two negroes with her if this would not prove inconvenient. But if this plan would at all trouble her, he asked that they be sent to him immediately.