“Forty million dollars!” she exclaimed. “I thought you said you would only have twenty per cent.?”
“That is just what it is,” remarked the captain, “as nearly as we can calculate. Forty million dollars is about one fifth of the value of the cargo I brought to France in the Arato. And as to your share, Mrs. Cliff, I think, if you feel like it, you will be able to buy the town of Plainton; and if that doesn’t make you a leading citizen in it, I don’t know what else you can do.”
A CASE OF RECOGNITION
Every one in our party at the Hotel Grenade rose very early the next morning. That day was to be one of activity and event. Mrs. Cliff, who had not slept one wink during the night, but who appeared almost rejuvenated by the ideas which had come to her during her sleeplessness, now entered a protest against the proposed marriage at the American legation. She believed that people of the position which Edna and the captain should now assume ought to be married in a church, with all proper ceremony and impressiveness, and urged that the wedding be postponed for a few days, until suitable arrangements could be made.
But Edna would not listen to this. The captain was obliged, by appointment, to be in London on the morrow, and he could not know how long he might be detained there, and now, wherever he went, she wished to go with him. He wanted her to be with him, and she was going. Moreover, she fancied a wedding at the legation. There were all sorts of regulations concerning marriage in France, and to these neither she nor the captain cared to conform, even if they had time enough for the purpose. At the American legation they would be in point of law upon American soil, and there they could be married as Americans, by an American minister.
After that Mrs. Cliff gave up. She was so happy she was ready to agree to anything, or to believe in anything, and she went to work with heart and hand to assist Edna in getting ready for the great event.
Mrs. Sylvester, the wife of the secretary, received a note from Edna which brought her to the hotel as fast as horses were allowed to travel in the streets of Paris, and arrangements were easily made for the ceremony to take place at four o’clock that afternoon.
The marriage was to be entirely private. No one was to be present but Mrs. Cliff, Ralph, and Mrs. Sylvester. Nothing was said to Cheditafa of the intended ceremony. After what had happened, they all felt that it would be right to respect the old negro’s feelings and sensibilities. Mrs. Cliff undertook, after a few days had elapsed, to explain the whole matter to Cheditafa, and to tell him that what he had done had not been without importance and real utility, but that it had actually united his master and mistress by a solemn promise before witnesses, which in some places, and under certain circumstances, would be as good a marriage as any that could be performed, but that a second ceremony had taken place in order that the two might be considered man and wife in all places and under all circumstances.