The last days of June had come, and Wilford was beginning to make arrangements for removing Katy from the city before the warmer weather. To this he had been urged by Mark Ray’s remarking that Katy was not looking as well as when he first saw her, one year ago, “She had grown thin and pale,” he said. “Had Wilford remarked it?”
Wilford had not. She complained much of headache; but that was only natural. Still he wrote to the Mountain House that afternoon to secure rooms for himself and wife, and then at an earlier hour than usual went home to tell her of the arrangement. Katy was out shopping, Esther said, and had not yet returned, adding: “There is a note for her upstairs, left by a woman who insisted on seeing the house, until I took her over it, showing her every room.”
“A strange woman went over my house in Mrs. Cameron’s absence! Who was it?” Wilford asked, hastily, visions of Helen, or possibly Aunt Betsy, rising before his mind.
“She said she was a friend of Mrs. Cameron, and that she knew she would allow the liberty,” Esther replied, thus confirming Wilford in his suspicions that some country acquaintance had thrust herself upon them, and hastening up to Katy’s room, where the note was lying, he took it up and examined the superscription, examined it closely, holding it up to the light full a minute, and forgetting to open it in his perplexity and the train of thought it awakened.
“They are singularly alike,” he said, and still holding the note in his hand he went downstairs to the library, and opening a drawer of his writing desk, which was always kept locked, he took from it a picture and a bit of soiled paper, on which was written: “I am not guilty, Wilford, and God will never forgive the wrong you have done to me.”
There was no name or date, but Wilford needed neither, for he knew well whose hand had penned those lines, and he sat looking at them, comparing them at last with the “Mrs. Wilford Cameron” which the strange woman had written. Then opening the note, he read that, having returned to New York, and wishing employment either as seamstress or dressmaker, Marian Hazelton had ventured to call upon Mrs. Cameron, remembering her promise to give her work if she should desire it. The note concluded by saying: