When all had come right! It required a faith as blind as Mrs. Worse’s to reckon on such a possibility. Rachel had now been six years in Paris without saying a word about coming home. What her occupation there really was, Jacob Worse could never discover. Each time he sent her money—and it was marvellous how much she used—he wrote her a few lines. She always answered briefly and reservedly. Through his friend Mr. Barnett he did not learn anything explicit. He only knew that Rachel was still living in the house, and that they were much attached to her. Mrs. Barnett’s salon was quite a place of assembly for the American colony, among which were many rich and accomplished men. Any day might bring the intelligence of her approaching marriage.
Worse was in the habit of reading the papers every morning as they sat at breakfast in his mother’s room. One day Mrs. Worse, who usually occupied herself half the morning with her paper, read out to her son that Pastor Martens had been nominated as clergyman in the town.
“Just fancy! So they are coming westward again!” ejaculated Mrs. Worse. “I should like to know how little Madeleine has got on in married life,” sighed the old woman, who knew but too well the uncertainty which marriage brings with it. The news awoke many painful recollections in Worse’s breast, and he paced up and down in his office for a long time, before he could bring himself to begin upon the foreign post, which lay in a formidable packet on his desk.
Among the letters there was one from Barnett Brothers in Paris; he knew the handwriting, but the office stamp was missing. As he opened it, it struck him that it was longer than usual. He turned it over hastily. What was this? Rachel Carman’s signature stood at the foot of the letter! Jacob Worse read as follows:—
“DEAR MR. WORSE,
“As I sit down to write to you, and thus carry out a long-formed resolution, I feel so overcome by emotion, that I find it difficult to control myself sufficiently, to express my thoughts verbatim. But now, as I have made up my mind, I will endeavour to make my letter clear and concise.
“I have, as you now perhaps perceive, carried on the Norwegian correspondence of Messrs. Barnett Brothers for several years. In my private letters to you I have disguised my handwriting, so as not to betray my secret. I wished, in fact, to see first if I could make myself useful, and am at length satisfied I that I can. I have learnt to adopt your mother’s homely maxim—remember me kindly to her—I can work.’ In your kind letters, for which receive my best thanks, I have sometimes thought that I could perceive a feeling of astonishment, as to how I could be employing all the money you have sent me. It is placed in our business. I say our business, because Messrs. Barnett Brothers have offered me a share in their Paris house. I have thus attained the object of my ambition in that direction.