That Mrs. Cameron had hunted for and failed to find the stolen letter, and that she associated its disappearance with Mark Ray’s sudden marriage, Bell was very sure, from the dark, anxious look upon her face when she came from her room, whither she had repaired immediately after breakfast, but whatever her suspicions were they did not find form in words. Mark was lost. It was too late to help that now, and as a politic woman of the world, Mrs. Cameron decided to let the matter rest, and by patronizing the young bride prove that she had never thought of Mark Ray for her son-in-law. Hence it was that the Cameron carriage and the Grandon carriage stood together before Mrs. Banker’s door, while the ladies who had come in the carriages paid their respects to Mrs. Ray, rallying her upon the march she had stolen upon them, telling her how delighted they were to have her back again, and hoping they should see a great deal of each other during the coming winter.
“You know we are related,” Juno said, holding Helen’s hand a long time at parting, ostensibly to show how very friendly she felt, but really to examine and calculate the probable value of the superb diamond which shone on Helen’s finger, Mark’s first gift, left for her with his mother, who had presented it for him.
“As diamonds are now, that never cost less than four or five hundred dollars,” Juno said, as she was discussing the matter with Bell, and telling her that Helen had the ring they had admired so much at Tiffany’s the last time they were there, and then her spiteful, envious nature found vent in the remark: “I wonder at Mark’s taste when only shoddy buy diamonds now.”
“Why, then, did you torment father into buying that little pin for you the other day?” Bell asked, and Juno replied:
“I have always been accustomed to diamonds and that is a very different thing from Helen Lennox putting them on. Did you notice how red and fat her fingers were, and rough, too? Positively her hand felt like a nutmeg grater.”
“You know the fable of the fox and the grapes,” Bell said, her gray eyes flashing indignantly upon her sister, who, wisely forbore further remarks upon Helen’s hands and contented herself with wondering if people generally would take up Mrs. Ray and honor her as they once did Katy.
“Of course they will,” she said. “It’s like heaps of them to do it,” and in this conclusion she was not wrong, for those who had liked Helen Lennox did not find her less desirable now that she was Helen Ray, and numberless were the attentions bestowed upon her and the invitations she received.