Is this his photograph?
The best way to get a talk with his cousin was to dine with her. Arnold therefore went to Chester Square next day with the photograph in his pocket. It was half an hour before dinner when he arrived, and Clara was alone.
“My dear,” she cried with enthusiasm, “I am charmed—I am delighted—with Iris.”
“I am glad,” said Arnold mendaciously.
“I am delighted with her—in every way. She is more and better than I could have expected—far more. A few Americanisms, of course—”
“No doubt,” said Arnold. “When I saw her I thought they rather resembled Anglicisms. But you have had opportunities of judging. You have in your own possession,” he continued, “have you not, all the papers which establish her identity?”
“Oh, yes; they are all locked up in my strong-box. I shall be very careful of them. Though, of course, there is no one who has to be satisfied except myself. And I am perfectly satisfied. But then I never had any doubt from the beginning. How could there be any doubt?”
“Truth, honor, loyalty, and candor, as well as gentle descent, are written on that girl’s noble brow, Arnold, plain, so that all may read. It is truly wonderful,” she went on, “how the old gentle blood shows itself, and will break out under the most unexpected conditions. In her face she is not much like her father; that is true; though sometimes I catch a momentary resemblance, which instantly disappears again. Her eyes are not in the least like his, nor has she his manner, or carriage, or any of his little tricks and peculiarities—though, perhaps, I shall observe traces of some of them in time. But especially she resembles him in her voice. The tone—the timbre—reminds me every moment of my poor Claude.”
“I suppose,” said Arnold, “that one must inherit something, if it is only a voice, from one’s father. Have you said anything to her yet about money matters, and a settlement of her claims?”
“No, not yet. I did venture, last night, to approach the subject, but she would not hear of it. So I dropped it. I call that true delicacy, Arnold—native, instinctive, hereditary delicacy.”
“Have you given any more money to the American gentleman who brought her home?”
“Iris made him take a hundred pounds, against his will, to buy books with, for he is not rich. Poor fellow! It went much against the grain with him to take the money. But she made him take it. She said he wanted books and instruments, and insisted on his having at least a hundred pounds. It was generous of her. Yes; she is—I am convinced—a truly generous girl, and as open-handed as the day. Now, would a common girl, a girl of no descent, have shown so much delicacy and generosity?”
“By the way, Clara, here is a photograph. Does it belong to you? I—I picked it up.”