Her face had turned perfectly white.
A look, partly of pity for her, partly of scorn for Wickersham, crossed Keith’s face. He rose and strode up and down the room in perplexity.
“He is a common thief,” he said sternly—“beneath contempt!”
His conviction suddenly extended to her. When he looked at her, she showed in her face that she believed him. Her last prop had fallen. The calamity had made her quiet.
“What shall I do?” she asked hopelessly.
“You must tell Norman.”
“Make a clean breast of it.”
“You do not know Norman! How can I? He would despise me so! You do not know how proud he is. He—!” Words failed her, and she stared at Keith helplessly.
“If I do not know Norman, I know no one on earth. Go to him and tell him everything. It will be the happiest day of his life—your salvation and his.”
“You think so?”
“I know it.”
She relapsed into thought, and Keith waited.
“I was to see Fer—Mr. Wickersham to-night,” she began presently. “He asked me to supper to meet some friends—the Count and Countess Torelli.”
Keith smiled. A fine scorn came into his eyes.
“Where does he give the dinner? At what hour?”
She named the place—a fashionable restaurant up-town. The time was still several hours away.
“You must go to Norman.”
She sat in deep reflection.
“It is your only chance—your only hope. Give me authority to act for you, and go to him. He needs you.”
“If I thought he would forgive me?” she said in a low tone.
“He will. I have just come from him. Write me the authority and go at once.”
A light appeared to dawn in her face.
She rose suddenly.
“What shall I write?”
“Write simply that I have full authority to act for you—and that you have gone to Norman.”
She walked into the next room, and seating herself at an escritoire, she wrote for a short time. When she handed the paper to Keith it contained just what he had requested: a simple statement to F.C. Wickersham that Mr. Keith had full authority to represent her and act for her as he deemed best.
“Will that do?” she asked.
“I think so,” said Keith. “Now go. Norman is waiting.”
For some time after Keith left her Mrs. Wentworth sat absolutely motionless, her eyes half closed, her lips drawn tight, in deep reflection. Presently she changed her seat and ensconced herself in the corner of a divan, leaning her head on her hand; but her expression did not change. Her mind was evidently working in the same channel. A tumult raged within her breast, but her face was set sphinx-like, inscrutable. Just then there was a scurry up-stairs; a boy’s voice was heard shouting: