“Perhaps you will be so good as to communicate with Miss Wylie’s guardian, Mr. Jansenius, with whom I shall be happy to make an equitable arrangement respecting the fees which have been paid in advance for the current term.
“I am, dear madam,
“A nice young lady, that!” said Mrs. Jansenius.
“I do not understand this,” said Mr. Jansenius, reddening as he took in the purport of his son-in-law’s letter. “I will not submit to it. What does it mean, Ruth?”
“I don’t know. Sidney is mad, I think; and his honeymoon has brought his madness out. But you must not let him throw Henrietta on my hands again.”
“Mad! Does he think he can shirk his responsibility to his wife because she is my daughter? Does he think, because his mother’s father was a baronet, that he can put Henrietta aside the moment her society palls on him?”
“Oh, it’s nothing of that sort. He never thought of us. But I will make him think of us,” said Mr. Jansenius, raising his voice in great agitation. “He shall answer for it.”
Just then Henrietta returned, and saw her father moving excitedly to and fro, repeating, “He shall answer to me for this. He shall answer for it.”
Mrs. Jansenius frowned at her daughter to remain silent, and said soothingly, “Don’t lose your temper, John.”
“But I will lose my temper. Insolent hound! Damned scoundrel!”
“He is not,” whimpered Henrietta, sitting down and taking out her handkerchief.
“Oh, come, come!” said Mrs. Jansenius peremptorily, “we have had enough crying. Let us have no more of it.”
Henrietta sprang up in a passion. “I will say and do as I please,” she exclaimed. “I am a married woman, and I will receive no orders. And I will have my husband back again, no matter what he does to hide himself. Papa, won’t you make him come back to me? I am dying. Promise that you will make him come back.”
And, throwing herself upon her father’s bosom, she postponed further discussion by going into hysterics, and startling the household by her screams.
One of the professors at Alton College was a Mrs. Miller, an old-fashioned schoolmistress who did not believe in Miss Wilson’s system of government by moral force, and carried it out under protest. Though not ill-natured, she was narrow-minded enough to be in some degree contemptible, and was consequently prone to suspect others of despising her. She suspected Agatha in particular, and treated her with disdainful curtness in such intercourse as they had—it was fortunately little. Agatha was not hurt by this, for Mrs. Miller was an unsympathetic woman, who made no friends among the girls, and satisfied her affectionate impulses by petting a large cat named Gracchus, but generally called Bacchus by an endearing modification of the harsh initial consonant.