“I should not do either,” was Mrs. Cameron’s reply for she well knew that trying to forget her was the surest way of keeping her in mind, and she dared not confess to him how wholly she was determined that Katy Lennox should never be her daughter if she could prevent it.
If she could not, then as a lady and a woman of policy, she should make the most of it, receiving Katy kindly and doing her best to educate her up to the Cameron ideas of style and manner.
“Let matters take their course for a while,” she said, “and see how you feel after a little. We are going to Newport the first of August, Jamie and all, and perhaps you may find somebody there infinitely superior to this Katy Lennox. That’s your father’s ring. He is earlier than usual to-night. I would not tell him yet till you are more decided,” and the lady went hastily out into the hall to meet her husband.
A moment more and the elder Cameron appeared—a short, square-built man, with a face seamed with lines of care and eyes much like Wilford’s, save that the shaggy eyebrows gave them a different expression. He was very glad to see his son, though he merely shook his hand, asking what nonsense took him off around the Lakes with Mrs. Woodhull, and wondering if women were never happy unless they were chasing after fashion. The elder Cameron was evidently not of his wife’s way of thinking, but she let him go on until he was through, and then, with the most unruffled mien, suggested that his dinner would he cold. He was accustomed to that, and so he did not mind, but he hurried through his lonely meal to-night, for Wilford was home, and the father was always happier when he knew his son was in the house. Contrary to his usual custom, he spent the short summer evening in the parlor, talking with Wilford on various items of business, and thus preventing any further conversation concerning Katy Lennox, who just as their evening was commencing, was bowing the knee reverently between her sister and her uncle, listening while the good old man invoked the nightly blessing, without which he never retired to sleep. But in that household on Fifth Avenue there was no blessing asked of Heaven, no word of thanksgiving for the prosperity so long vouchsafed, no prayer said except by the crippled Jamie, who, remembering the Savior of whom Morris Grant had told him when across the sea, whispered his childish prayer, thanking him most for bringing back the uncle so dearly loved, the Wilford who, on his way to his own room, had stopped as he always did to say good-night to Jamie, folding his arms around him and kissing his sweet face with a fondness in which there was something half regretful, half sad, as well as pleasing.