He showed the photograph which Lala Roy had given him.
“Oh, yes; it is a likeness of Dr. Washington, Iris’s adopted brother and guardian. She must have dropped it. I should think it was taken a few years back, but it is still a very good likeness. A handsome man, is he not? He grows upon one rather. His parting words with Iris yesterday were very dignified and touching.”
“I will give it to her presently,” he replied, without further comment.
There was, then, no doubt. The woman was an impostor, and the man was the thief, and the papers were the papers which had been stolen from the safe, and Iris Deseret was no other than his own Iris. But he must not show the least sign of suspicion.
“What are you thinking about, Arnold?” asked Clara. “Your face is as black as thunder. You are not sorry that Iris has returned, are you?”
“I was thinking of my engagement, Clara.”
“Why, you are not tired of it already? An engaged man, Arnold, ought not to look so gloomy as that.”
“I am not tired of it yet. But I am unhappy as regards some circumstances connected with it. Your disapproval, Clara, for one. My dear cousin, I owe so much to you, that I want to owe you more. Now, I have a proposition—a promise—to make to you. I am now so sure, so very sure and certain, that you will want me to marry Miss Aglen—and no one else—when you once know her, that I will engage solemnly not to marry her unless you entirely approve. Let me owe my wife to you, as well as everything else.”
“Arnold, you are not in earnest.”
“Quite in earnest.”
“But I shall never approve. Never—never—never! I could not bring myself, under any circumstances that I can conceive, to approve of such a connection.”
“My dear cousin, I am, on the other hand, perfectly certain that you will approve. Why, if I were not quite certain, do you think I should have made this promise? But to return to your newly-found cousin. Tell me more about her.”
“Well, I have discovered that she is a really very clever and gifted girl. She can imitate people in the most wonderful way, especially actresses, though she has only been to a theater once or twice in her life. At Liverpool she heard some one sing what she calls a Tropical Song, and this she actually remembers—she carried it away in her head, every word—and she can sing it just as they sing it on the stage, with all the vulgarity and gestures imitated to the very life. Of course I should not like her to do this before anybody else, but it is really wonderful.”
“Indeed!” said Arnold. “It must be very clever and amusing.”
“Of course,” said Clara, with colossal ignorance, “an American lady can hardly be expected to understand English vulgarities. No doubt there is an American variety.”
Arnold thought that a vulgar song could be judged at its true value by any lady, either American or English, but he said nothing.