Then the two cars were rolling away, Nancy sitting silent beside her uncle. At the corner Peter’s vanished. The bride hoped from the bottom of her heart that she would never lay eyes upon her bridegroom again. She didn’t exactly wish him any harm, greatly as she disliked him, but she felt that if he would go away and die he would be doing her a personal favor.
Peter and Emma made their boat ten minutes before the gang-plank was pulled in. A steward took Emma in charge, and carried off the bird-cage containing Satan. Emma, who had been silent during the drive to the pier, opened her mouth now:
“Mist’ Peter,” said she, “ef yo’ uncle ’s wuth a million dollars, he ought to tun it over to you dis mawnin’. ’T ain’t for me,” said Emma, beginning to tremble, “to talk ‘bout Mis’ Champneys whut you done got married to. But I used to know Miss Maria. And dat ’s how-come,” finished Emma, irrelevantly, “dat ’s how-come I mighty glad we ‘s gwine to furrin folkses’ countries, whichin I hopes to Gawd dey ’s a mighty long way off fum dat gal.” And Peter’s heart echoed Emma’s sentiments so fully that he couldn’t find it in him to reprove her for giving utterance to them.
With a sense of relief, he watched New York receding from his sight. Hadn’t he paid too high a price, after all? Remembering his bride’s eyes, pure terror assailed him. No woman had ever looked at Peter like that before. He tried to keep from feeling bitter toward his uncle. Well! He was in for it! He would make his work his bride, by way of compensation. For all that he was a bridegroom of an hour or so, and a seeker bound upon the quest of his heart’s desire, Peter turned away from the steamer’s railing with a very heavy heart.
A tall, fair-faced woman turned away from the railing at the same instant, and their eyes met. Hers were brightly, bravely blue, and they widened with astonishment at sight of Peter Champneys. She stared, and gasped. Peter stared, and gasped, too.
“Miss Claribel!” cried Peter.
“Mrs. Hemingway,” she corrected, smiling. “It isn’t—Yes, it is, too! Peter! Oh, that Red Admiral is a fairy!”
HIS GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE
“It is rather wonderful to turn around and find you here, Peter,—and to find you so unchanged. Because you haven’t changed, really; you’ve just grown up,” said Mrs. Hemingway, holding his hand. Her face was excited and glad. “I should have known you instantly, anywhere.”
“I am told my legs are quite unmistakable. Some have said I appear to be walking on fishing-poles,” said Peter.
Mrs. Hemingway laughed. “They seem to be good, long, serviceable legs,” she said, gaily. “But it is your eyes I recognized, Peter. One couldn’t mistake your eyes.”
Peter smiled at her gratefully. “The really wonderful thing is that you should remember me at all,” he told her happily, and his face glowed. That her reappearance should be timed to the outset of his great adventure into life seemed highly significant. One might almost consider it an omen.