“You don’t care,” she said. “It is nothing to you. And it should be nothing,” suddenly remembering herself and sitting up. “Please let me go, Mr. Ingelow. We must part, and it is better so.”
Mr. Ingelow released her without a word. Mollie sat up, drew a letter from her pocket, and handed it to him. He saw it was addressed to Carl Walraven, and looked at her inquiringly.
“I wish you to read it,” she said.
It was unsealed. He opened it at once, and read:
“MR. WALRAVEN,—Miriam is dead—Miriam Dane—my mother. She deceived you from first to last. I am no daughter of yours—for which I humbly thank God!—no daughter of Mary Dane. I am Miriam’s child; yours died in the work-house in its babyhood. I know my own story—I know your hand is red with my father’s blood. I don’t forgive you, Mr. Walraven, but neither do I accuse you. I simply never will see you again. Mr. Ingelow will hand you this. He and I alone know the story. MARY DANE.”
Mr. Ingelow looked up.
“Will it do?” she asked.
“Yes. Am I to deliver it?”
“If you will add that kindness to your others. I don’t think he will seek me out. He knows better than that.”
Her head dropped against the side of the carriage. The face usually so sparkling looked very, very pale, and worn, and sad. The young artist took her hand and held it a moment at parting.
“You intend to write to your old manager to-morrow, Mollie?”
“Don’t do it. Postpone it another day. I am coming here to-morrow, and I have a different plan in my head that I think will suit better. Wait until to-morrow, Mollie, and trust me.”
His eyes flashed with an electric fire that thrilled the girl through.
What did he mean? But Mr. Ingelow had sprung into the carriage again and was gone.
Mr. Carl Walraven sat alone in his private room in a Broadway hotel, smoking an after-breakfast cigar, and looking lazily at the stream of people hurrying up and down. It was the morning following Miriam’s funeral, of which he, of course, had heard nothing. He had left the city after his interview with his wife, and had but just returned. He had not gone home, but he had notified Mr. Sardonyx of his presence in town, and signified that that gentleman was to wait upon him immediately.
Pending his arrival, Mr. Walraven sat and smoked, and stared at the passers-by, and wondered, with an internal chuckle, how Mme. Blanche felt by this time, and whether Mollie was lonely or not, shut up in the deserted mansion.
“If she’ll consent, I’ll take her to Europe,” mused Carl Walraven. “It will be delightful to go over the old places with so fresh a companion as my sparkling little Cricket. But I’m not sure that she’ll go—she’s a great deal to fond of young Ingelow. Well, he’s a fine fellow, and I’ve no objection.”