“DEAR KATY: Your own conscience will tell you whether you are worthy of being addressed as ‘Dear,’ but I have called you thus so often that I cannot bring myself to any other form. Do my words startle you, and will you be sorry when you read this and find that I am gone, that you are free from the husband you do not love, the husband whom perhaps you never loved, though I thought you did? I trusted you once, and now I do not blame you as much as I ought, for you are young. You are easily influenced. You are very susceptible to flattery, as was proven by your career at Saratoga and Newport. I had no suspicion of you then, but now that I know you better, I see that it was not all childish simplicity which made you smile so graciously upon those who sought your favor. You are a coquette, Katy, and the greater one because of that semblance of artlessness which is the perfection of art. This, however, I might forgive, were it not for one flagrant act, which, if it is not a proof of faithlessness, certainly borders upon it. You know to what I refer, or if you do not, ask your smooth-tongued saint, your companion in the New Haven train; he will enlighten you; he will not wonder at my going, and perhaps he will offer you comfort, both religious and otherwise; but if you ever wish me to return, avoid him as you would shun a deadly poison. Until I countermand the order I wish you to remain here in this house, which I bought for you. Helen and your mother both may live with you, while father will have a general oversight of your affairs; I shall send him a line to that effect. And now, good-by. I am very calm as I write this, because I know you have deceived me. Not as I did you with regard to Genevra, but in a deeper sense, which touches a tenderer point and makes me willing to brave the talk my sudden departure will create. No one knows I am going, no one will know until you have waited and looked in vain for me with the gay young men who to-morrow night-will join their wives as I hoped yesterday morning to join mine. But that is over now. I cannot come to you. I am going away, where—it matters not to you. So farewell.
“Your deceived and disappointed husband.”
Had Wilford read this letter over, he might not have left it, but he did not read it, and in recalling its contents he gave himself great credit for his forbearance when speaking of Morris, whom he hated so cordially. Sealing the letter, and laying it in Katy’s drawer just above where she had left his, he tried to sleep; but the morning found him haggard and tired, and Esther, as she poured his coffee, asked if he was sick.
“No,” he answered, and then as he pushed back his chair, he said: “I shall not be home again to-day, as Mrs. Cameron expects me to spend Sunday at Yonkers.”
And so all that day and the next, the doors were locked, the shutters closed, the curtains dropped, while an ominous silence reigned throughout the house; but when Monday came, and was halfway gone there were inquiries made for Mr. Cameron by young Beverley and Lincoln, whose faces looked anxious and disturbed at Esther’s answer: