It was plain the tale of the golden mask had startled her a little, for she laid her hand impetuously upon his arm, and her eyes searched his face with troubled intentness.
“It will all be very singular and daring,” she faltered after a while. “I had thought of something like it myself—to help her, I mean. You are so—different, Carl! I know of no man who might dare so much and win.” Then with unconscious tribute to one whose opinion she valued above all others, she added: “Philip trusts you utterly. He has said so. And Philip knows!”
Carl glanced furtively at her face and cleared his throat.
“Diane,” he asked gravely, “I wonder how much that incredible tale of the old candlestick pleased you?”
“I don’t know,” said Diane honestly. “I wish I did. I’ve wondered and wondered. No matter how hard I think, it doesn’t somehow come right. It’s like shattering a cherished crystal into fragments to think that every tie of blood and country I valued is meaningless—that every memory is a mockery—that grandfather and you and Aunt Agatha—” she paused and sighed. “When I try to realize,” she finished, “I feel very lonely and afraid.”
“And Philip?” hinted Carl.
“I don’t think he is pleased.”
“You’re right,” said Carl with decision. “It upset him a lot. But that night by the old chief’s camp fire, Philip discovered—”
“That some imperfection in the stilted wording of the hidden paper had led us all astray. Philip said he could not be sure—there was so much fuss and trouble and misunderstanding—but the old chief had nursed Theodomir through some dreadful illness and knew it all. They were staunch friends. Norman Westfall came into the Glades hunting with a friend. He persuaded your mother to go away with him, but they went—alone!”
“That they did not take a child away from the Indian village as the paper in the candlestick declares—”
“And the daughter of Theodomir?”
“Is Keela. They left her by the old chief’s wigwam.”
Carl, traveling north after a day of earnest discussion in his cousin’s camp, thought much of the second candlestick. Since that night in Philip’s wigwam, it had haunted him persistently. Now with Diane’s permission to probe its secret—if, indeed, it had one like its charred companion—he was fretting again, as he had intermittently fretted in the lodge of Mic-co, at the train of circumstances that had interposed delay.
Train and taxi were perniciously slow. Carl found his patience taxed to the utmost.