While Harwood’s mind was busy with these reflections he had been acquiescing in various speculations in which Mrs. Owen had been indulging, without really being conscious of their import.
“I don’t know that any good can come of keeping the letter, Daniel. I reckon we might as well tear it up. You and I know what it is, and I’ve been studying it for a couple of days without seeing where any good can come of holding it. You might burn it in the grate there and we’ll both know it’s out of the way. I guess that person feels that he done his whole duty in making the offer and he won’t be likely to bother any more. That conscience was a long time getting waked up, and having done that much it probably went to sleep again. There’s nothing sleeps as sound as a conscience, I reckon, and I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if mine took a nap occasionally. Better burn that little document, Daniel, and we’ll be rid of it and try to forget it.”
“No; I don’t believe I’d do that,” he said slowly. “It might be better to hold on to it, at least until the estate is closed up. You can’t tell what’s behind it.” And then, groping for a plausible reason, he added: “The author of the letter may be in a position to annoy Sylvia by filing a claim against the Professor’s estate, or something of that kind. It’s better not to destroy the only thing we have that might help if that should occur. I believe it’s best to hold on to it till the estate’s settled.”
This was pretty lame, as he realized, but his caution pleased her, and she acquiesced. She was anxious to leave no ground for anyone to rob Sylvia of her money, and if there was any remote possibility that the letter might add to the girl’s security she was willing that it should be retained. She sent Dan out into the bank for an envelope, and when it was brought, sealed up the letter and addressed it to Dan in her own hand and marked it private.