It was half an hour afterwards that Mrs. Cliff said: “Well, Edna, I will go with you. But I can tell you this: I would gladly give up all the mountains and palaces I may see in Europe, if I could go back to Plainton this day, deposit my money in the Plainton bank, and then begin to live according to my means. That would be a joy that nothing else on this earth could give me.”
Edna laughed. “All you have to do,” she said, “is to be patient and wait awhile, and then, when you go back like a queen to Plainton, you will have had your mountains and your palaces besides.”
AT THE HOTEL BOILEAU
It was early in December,—two months after the departure of Edna and her little party from New York,—and they were all comfortably domiciled in the Hotel Boileau, in a quiet street, not far from the Boulevard des Italiens. This house, to which they came soon after their arrival in Paris, might be considered to belong to the family order, but its grade was much higher than that of the hotel in which they had lived in San Francisco. As in the former place, they had private apartments, a private table, and the service of their own colored men, in addition to that of the hotel servants. But their salon was large and beautifully furnished, their meals were cooked by a French chef, every one, from the lordly porter to the quick-footed chambermaid, served them with a courteous interest, and Mrs. Cliff said that although their life in the two hotels seemed to be in the main the same sort of life, they were, in reality, as different as an old, dingy mahogany bureau, just dragged from an attic, and that same piece of furniture when it had been rubbed down, oiled, and varnished. And Ralph declared that, so far as he knew anything about it, there was nothing like the air of Paris to bring out the tones and colorings and veinings of hotel life. But the greatest difference between the former and the present condition of this little party lay in the fact that in San Francisco its principal member was Mrs. Philip Horn, while in Paris it was Miss Edna Markham.
This change of name had been the result of nights of thought and hours of consultation. In San Francisco Edna felt herself to be Mrs. Horn as truly as if they had been married at high noon in one of the city churches, but although she could see no reason to change her faith in the reality of her conjugal status, she had begun to fear that Captain Horn might have different views upon the subject. This feeling had been brought about by the tone of his letters. If he should die, those letters might prove that she was then his widow, but it was plain that he did not wish to impress upon her mind that she was now his wife.
If she had remained in San Francisco, Edna would have retained the captain’s name. There she was a stranger, and Captain Horn was well known. His agents knew her as Mrs. Horn, the people of the Mary Bartlett knew her as such, and she should not have thought of resigning it. But in Paris the case was very different. There she had friends, and expected to make more, and in that city she was quite sure that Captain Horn was very little known.