Edna’s Parisian friends, were all Americans, and some of them people of consideration, one of her old schoolmates being the wife of a secretary of the American legation. Could she appear before these friends as Mrs. Captain Philip Horn, feeling that not only was she utterly unable to produce Captain Horn, but that she might never be able to do so? Should the captain not return, and should she have proofs of his death, or sufficient reason to believe it, she might then do as she pleased about claiming her place as his widow. But should he return, he should not find that she had trammelled and impeded his plans and purposes by announcing herself as his wife. She did not expect ever to live in San Francisco again, and in no other place need she be known as Mrs. Horn.
As to the business objects of her exceptional marriage, they were, in a large degree, already attained. The money Captain Horn had remitted to her in San Francisco was a sum so large as to astound her, and when she reached Paris she lost no time in depositing her funds under her maiden name. For the sake of security, some of the money was sent to a London banker, and in Paris she did not deposit with the banking house which Captain Horn had mentioned. But directions were left with that house that if a letter ever came to Mrs. Philip Horn, it was to be sent to her in care of Mrs. Cliff, and, to facilitate the reception of such a letter, Mrs. Cliff made Wraxton, Fuguet & Co. her bankers, and all her letters were addressed to them. But at Edna’s bankers she was known as Miss Markham, and her only Parisian connection with the name of Horn was through Mrs. Cliff.
The amount of money now possessed by Edna was, indeed, a very fair fortune for her, without regarding it, as Captain Horn had requested, as a remittance to be used as a year’s income. In his letters accompanying his remittances the captain had always spoken of them as her share of the gold brought away, and in this respect he treated her exactly as he treated Mrs. Cliff, and in only one respect had she any reason to infer that the money was in any manner a contribution from himself. In making her divisions according to his directions, her portion was so much greater than that of the others, Edna imagined Captain Horn sent her his share as well as her own. But of this she did not feel certain, and should he succeed in securing the rest of the gold in the mound, she did not know what division he would make. Consequently, this little thread of a tie between herself and the captain, woven merely of some hypothetical arithmetic, was but a cobweb of a thread. The resumption of her maiden name had been stoutly combated by both Mrs. Cliff and Ralph. The first firmly insisted upon the validity of the marriage, so long as the captain did not appear, but she did not cease to insist that the moment he did appear, there should be another ceremony.
“But,” said Edna, “you know that Cheditafa’s ceremony was performed simply for the purpose of securing to me, in case of his loss on that boat trip, a right to claim the benefit of his discovery. If he should come back, he can give me all the benefit I have a right to claim from that discovery, just as he gives you your share, without the least necessity of a civilized marriage. Now, would you advise me to take a step which would seem to force upon him the necessity for such a marriage?”