“I suppose if you were I,” she said at last, “you’d take your baby in your arms, and go down and say to that man on the steps, ’Come in and be lord of the manor and the ruler of your wife and child.’”
I held Junior close and my voice trembled. “I should never say a thing like that to—Billy—”
“What would you say?”
“I should say”—I choked over it, and broke down at the end—“oh, lover, lover, this is your son—and I am his happy mother—”
She stopped in front of me and stood looking down, with the anger all gone from her eyes. Then, before she could turn or cry out, the long windows were struck open by something that was stronger than the wind. There had been no flying squirrels on the balcony, and the shadow which had hidden the sun was the breadth and height of the big man who stood between the velvet curtains! He crossed the room at a stride.
“Did you think that bolts and bars could keep me from you?” he asked, and took Lady Crusoe’s hands in a tight grip and drew her toward him. She resisted for a moment. Then her white slenderness was crushed in his hungry arms.
Well, as soon as I could gather up Junior and his belongings, I went down to wait for Billy. But before I went I saw her drop on her knees beside the hooded cradle and lift out little Robin, and, still kneeling, hold him up toward his father, as the nun holds up Galahad in the Holy Grail.
And what do you think I heard her say?
"Oh, lover, lover, this is your son—and I am his happy mother!"
Billy came in glowing from his walk in the sharp air, and I can’t tell you how good it seemed to feel his cold cheek against my cheek, and his warm lips on mine. We were a rapturous trio in front of the library fire, and there we were joined presently by the rapturous trio from above stairs. They treated Billy and me as if we were a pair of guardian angels. Then we had dinner together, with Mandy and William in the background beaming.
And that night I told Billy all about it. “Isn’t it beautiful, Billy? They are going to live on the old Davenant place, and it is to be their home.”
Everybody calls on us now. You see, Lady Crusoe’s family is older than any of the others, and then there’s her husband’s money. And I shine in her reflected light, for our friendship, as she says, is founded on a rock. But Billy says it is founded on a wreck. Yet while he jokes about it, I know that he is proud of his friendship with Robin’s father. And when the spring comes, we are to take old Tid and our blessed Junior and our family effects to an adorable cottage with a garden on all four sides of it and set well back from the road. You see, we feel that we can afford it, for we have the exclusive business of supplying the needs of the Davenant estate, and we are thus financially on our feet.