“Talk about lovely woman!” cried Philip Ammon. “One would think that after such a dose as Edith gave me, she would be satisfied to let me go my way, but no! Not caring for me enough herself to save me from public disgrace, she must now pursue me to keep any other woman from loving me. I call that too much! I am going to see her, and I want you to go with me, father.”
“Very well,” said Mr. Ammon, “I will go.”
When Edith Carr came into her reception-room that afternoon, gowned for conquest, she expected only Philip, and him penitent. She came hurrying toward him, smiling, radiant, ready to use every allurement she possessed, and paused in dismay when she saw his cold face and his father. “Why, Phil!” she cried. “When did you come home?”
“I am not at home,” answered Philip. “I merely ran up to see my father on business, and to inquire of you what it was you said to Miss Comstock yesterday that caused her to disappear before I could return to the Limberlost.”
“Miss Comstock disappear! Impossible!” cried Edith Carr. “Where could she go?”
“I thought perhaps you could answer that, since it was through you that she went.”
“Phil, I haven’t the faintest idea where she is,” said the girl gently.
“But you know perfectly why she went! Kindly tell me that.”
“Let me see you alone, and I will.”
“Here and now, or not at all.”
“What did you say to the girl I love?”
Then Edith Carr stretched out her arms.
“Phil, I am the girl you love!” she cried. “All your life you have loved me. Surely it cannot be all gone in a few weeks of misunderstanding. I was jealous of her! I did not want you to leave me an instant that night for any other girl living. That was the moth I was representing. Every one knew it! I wanted you to bring it to me. When you did not, I knew instantly it had been for her that you worked last summer, she who suggested my dress, she who had power to take you from me, when I wanted you most. The thought drove me mad, and I said and did those insane things. Phil, I beg your pardon! I ask your forgiveness. Yesterday she said that you had told her of me at once. She vowed both of you had been true to me and Phil, I couldn’t look into her eyes and not see that it was the truth. Oh, Phil, if you understood how I have suffered you would forgive me. Phil, I never knew how much I cared for you! I will do anything—anything!”
“Then tell me what you said to Elnora yesterday that drove her, alone and friendless, into the night, heaven knows where!”
“You have no thought for any one save her?”
“Yes,” said Philip. “I have. Because I once loved you, and believed in you, my heart aches for you. I will gladly forgive anything you ask. I will do anything you want, except to resume our former relations. That is impossible. It is hopeless and useless to ask it.”