She offered her hand to all of them, and when she came to Philip she gave him one long steady look in the eyes, then shook hands with him also.
WHEREIN ELNORA REACHES A DECISION, AND FRECKLES AND THE ANGEL APPEAR
“Well, she came, didn’t she?” remarked Mrs. Comstock to Elnora as they watched the automobile speed down the road. As it turned the Limberlost corner, Philip arose and waved to them.
“She hasn’t got him yet, anyway,” said Mrs. Comstock, taking heart. “What’s that on your finger, and what did she say to you?”
Elnora explained about the ring as she drew it off.
“I have several letters to write, then I am going to change my dress and walk down toward Aunt Margaret’s for a little exercise. I may meet some of them, and I don’t want them to see this ring. You keep it until Philip comes,” said Elnora. “As for what Miss Carr said to me, many things, two of importance: one, that I lacked every social requirement necessary for the happiness of Philip Ammon, and that if I married him I would see inside a month that he was ashamed of me——”
“Aw, shockins!” scorned Mrs. Comstock. “Go on!”
“The other was that she has been engaged to him for years, that he belongs to her, and she refuses to give him up. She said that if he were in her presence one hour, she would have him under a mysterious thing she calls ‘her spell’ again; if he were where she could see him for one week, everything would be made up. It is her opinion that he is suffering from wounded pride, and that the slightest concession on her part will bring him to his knees before her.”
Mrs. Comstock giggled. “I do hope the boy isn’t weak-kneed,” she said. “I just happened to be passing the west window this afternoon——”
Elnora laughed. “Nothing save actual knowledge ever would have made me believe there was a girl in all this world so infatuated with herself. She speaks casually of her power over men, and boasts of ’bringing a man to his knees’ as complacently as I would pick up a net and say: ’I am going to take a butterfly.’ She honestly believes that if Philip were with her a short time she could rekindle his love for her and awaken in him every particle of the old devotion. Mother, the girl is honest! She is absolutely sincere! She so believes in herself and the strength of Phil’s love for her, that all her life she will believe in and brood over that thought, unless she is taught differently. So long as she thinks that, she will nurse wrong ideas and pine over her blighted life. She must be taught that Phil is absolutely free, and yet he will not go to her.”
“But how on earth are you proposing to teach her that?”
“The way will open.”