Bettina did not know what to do. She had never seen Barbara so overwrought with excitement. Presently, however, she began to speak of Howard, and before long they were talking tenderly of the young man who so short a time ago was a stranger to them, but whose life had been destined to touch so closely their own.
Barbara was profoundly moved as she realized this proof of his affection for her, and a depression was fast following her moment of exultation, when a tap at the door ushered in Mrs. Douglas, who took her into her arms as her mother would have done. Her sweet sympathy and bright practical talk did a world of good in restoring to both the girls their natural calmness.
Barbara, however, was in a feverish haste to do something that would repay her parents for the money she and Betty were using, and, to soothe her, Mrs. Douglas told her what to write to the lawyer, so that he would at once transfer a few thousands of dollars to Dr. Burnett. Then she said:—
“I would not write your father and mother about it until to-morrow. You can do it more easily then; and I will write, too, if you would like. Margery and Malcom are longing to see you. So is Robert, I am sure. And will it not be best for you to go right out somewhere with us?”
A Morning in the Vatican.
Oh! their Rafael of the dear Madonnas.
[Illustration: LOGGIA OF RAPHAEL, VATICAN, ROME.]
It was, of course, somewhat difficult for Barbara to adjust herself to the new conditions. After the first, however, she said nothing to any one save Bettina about the money Howard had left her, only, as in her ignorance of business methods, she had need to consult Mrs. Douglas.
But she and Bettina had many things to talk over and much consultation to hold regarding the future. One evening, after they had been thus busy, Bettina said, nestling closer to her sister, as they sat together on the couch, brave in its Roman draperies:—
“You must not always say ‘our money,’ Bab, dear.”
“Why not?” with a startled look.
“Because it is your money,—your very own;—the money Howard gave you to spend for him, and yourself enjoy.”