Perhaps he suspected this feeling in part, for he bit his lip impatiently, and without another word called up the servant whose duty it was to prepare his early breakfast. Cold and cheerless seemed the dining-room, to which an hour later he repaired, and tasteless was the breakfast without Katy there to share it. She had been absent many times before, but never just as now, with this wide gulf between them, and as he broke his egg and tried to drink his coffee, Wilford felt like one from whom every support had been swept away, leaving him tottering and giddy. He did not like the look of Katy’s face or the sound of her voice, and as he thought upon them, self began to whisper again that she had no right to stand out so long when he had confessed everything, and by the time his breakfast was finished Wilford Cameron was, in his own estimation, an abused an injured man, so that it was with an air of defiance rather than humility that he went again to Katy. She, too, had been thinking, and as the result of her thoughts she lifted up her head as he came in and said, “I can kiss you now, Wilford.”
It was human nature, we suppose—at least it was Wilford’s nature—which for an instant tempted him to decline the kiss proffered so lovingly; but Katy’s face was more than he could withstand, and when again he left that room the kiss of pardon was upon his lips and comparative quiet was in his heart.
“The picture, Wilford—you have forgotten that,” Katy called after him, as he was running down the stairs.
Wilford would rather have been with her when she first looked upon Genevra, but there was not time for that, and hastily unlocking his private drawer he carried the case to Katy’s room, laying it upon the bureau and saying to her: “I would not mind it now, until it is fully light. Try and sleep a while. You need the rest so much.”
Katy knew she had the whole day before her in which to investigate the face of one who once had filled her place, and so she nestled down among her pillows, and soon fell into a quiet sleep, from which Esther, who looked in upon her several times, at last awakened her, asking if she should bring her breakfast to her room.
“Yes, do,” Katy replied, adjusting her dress and trying to arrange the matted curls, which were finally confined in a net until Esther’s more practiced hands were ready to attack them.
And all this while the picture lay upon the bureau—the square, old-fashioned daguerreotype, which Katy shrank from opening.
“I’ll wait till after breakfast,” she said; then as the thought came over her that if the face proved as beautiful as Wilford had described, she in her present forlorn condition would feel the contrast deeply, she said, “I’ll wait till Esther has fixed my hair; then I will look at Genevra.”
Breakfasting did not occupy her long, and Esther soon was busy with her toilet, combing out and looping-back her curls, and bringing a plain dress of rich bombazine, with fresh bands of white crape, as had been worn the previous day. Katy’s toilet was complete at last, and as Esther closed the door behind her, Katy, with a trembling hand, took from the drawer, where she had hid it from Esther’s eyes, the picture of Genevra Lambert.