“I do hope he’ll stay all summer,” she said one morning, when speaking of him to her mother. “I think it’s a heap nicer without him, though dull enough at the best. I wish we could go somewhere, some watering place I mean. There’s the Tifftons, just returned from New York, and I don’t much believe they can afford it more than we, for I heard their place was mortgaged, or something. Oh, bother, to be so poor,” and the young lady gave a little angry jerk at the tags she was unbraiding.
“Whar’s ole miss’s?” asked Claib, who had just returned from Versailles. “Thar’s a letter for you,” and depositing it upon the bureau, he left the room.
“Whose writing is that?” ’Lina said, catching it up and examining the postmark. “Shall I open it?” she called, and ere her mother could reply, she had broken the seal, and held in her hand the draft which made her the heiress of one thousand dollars.
Had the fabled godmother of Cinderella appeared to her suddenly, she would scarcely have been more bewildered.
“Mother,” she screamed again, reading aloud the “’Pay to the order of Adaline Worthington,’ etc. Who is Alice Johnson? What does she say? ’My dear Eliza, feeling that I have not long to live—’ What—dead, hey? Well, I’m sorry for that, but, I must say, she did a very sensible thing at the last, sending me a thousand dollars. We’ll go somewhere now, won’t we?” and clutching fast the draft, the heartless girl yielded the letter to her mother, who, burying her face in her hands, sobbed bitterly as the past came back to her, when the Alice, now at rest and herself were girls together.
’Lina took up the letter her mother had dropped and read it through. “Wants you to take her daughter, Alice. Is the woman crazy? And her nurse, Densie, Densie Densmore. Where have I heard that name before? Say, mother, let’s talk the matter over. Shall you let Alice come? Ten dollars a week, they’ll pay. Let me see. Five hundred and twenty dollars a year. Whew! We are rich as Jews. Our ship is really coming in,” and ’Lina rang the bell and ordered Lulu to bring “a lemonade with ice cut fine and a heap of sugar in it.”
By this time Mrs. Worthington was able to talk of a matter which had apparently so delighted ’Lina. Her first remark, however, was not very pleasant to the young lady:
“I would willingly give Alice a home, but it’s not for me to say. Hugh alone can decide it.”
“You know he’ll refuse,” was ’Lina’a angry reply. “He hates young ladies. So you may as well save your postage to New Orleans, and write at once to Miss Johnson that she cannot come on account of a boorish clown.”
“’Lina,” feebly interposed Mrs. Worthington, “’Lina, we must write to Hugh.”
“Mother, you shall not,” and ’Lina spoke determinedly. “I’ll send an answer to this letter myself, this very day. I will not suffer the chance to be thrown away. Hugh may swear a little at first, but he’ll get over it.”