“Thank God, you are a woman! Child as you are, compared with my years and experience, you shall have your own way. I will this once put my lifelong principle under my feet, and if the future house of Muir & Brother is saved, you shall save it.”
“Oh, thank you, thank you, Henry! Now see how happy I am. I have but one stipulation—the ‘brother’ must not know it. We shall go on the first train, shall we not?”
“Yes. You can say you want to do some shopping. Come, we have been away from Mary too long already. Oh, Madge, Madge, would that there were more girls like you!”
“Well,” exclaimed Mrs. Muir, when they appeared at last; “I thought you and Madge had eloped!”
“We are going to to-morrow by first train,” said the young girl. “Henry says he must return to town for the day, and I shall accompany him to do some shopping.”
“Now, Henry, this is too bad, and I’ve scarcely seen you this evening.”
“I’m truly sorry, Mary; I did look forward to a good quiet day with you, but there is an important matter which I neglected to see to to-day, and which must be attended to. Graydon will soon be ready to relieve me a great deal.”
“Well, I shall be glad when he can do something besides waiting on Mr. Arnault’s convenience for the privilege of seeing Miss Wildmere. It will be a terribly long, fatiguing day for you, Madge—for you both, indeed!”
“Oh, I shan’t mind it in the least! It won’t be half so fatiguing as one of my long rides. You spoke of wanting some things, and I can shop for you, too.”
Mrs. Muir had long since given up the idea of objecting seriously to anything for which business was the alleged reason. The chance to do some shopping by proxy soon occupied her mind, and when Miss Wildmere took occasion to pass and repass, the only apparent topic of interest in the Muir group was the prospect of purchasing some expensive goods.
Madge retired early to prepare for her journey. Mrs. Muir soon followed, and her husband remarked that he would merely remain down long enough to write a note to Graydon. This missive was brief, but was charged with dynamite.
On the morrow, long before Miss Wildmere waked from the golden dreams which that day should realize, Madge and Mr. Muir were on their way to the city. The young girl had said: “Don’t let us do anything by halves. I have read that in the crisis of a battle timid measures are often fatal. Let me give you everything that you can use as collateral. How much is there?”
“Sixty thousand available at once. As I have said, you shall have your own way.”
“Well, for once a woman is wiser than Solomon.”
They went immediately to the trust company which had her property in keeping, and, having complied with the forms, obtained the entire sum, then parted on Broadway, to rendezvous at the train. Mr. Muir gave the radiant girl a look which she valued more than the money. He then went to his bank. The official whom he accosted had been rather cold and shy of late, but when he received the securities he grew perceptibly urbane.