“In the name of the people, what are you sitting up for?” was ’Lina’s first remark when she went upstairs, followed by a glowing account of what Dr. Richards had said, and the delightful time she’d had. “Only play our cards well, and I’m sure to go home the doctor’s fiancee. Won’t Ellen Tiffton stare when I tell her, mother?” and ’Lina spoke in a low tone. “The doctor thinks I’m very rich. So do all the people here. Lulu has told that I’m an heiress; now don’t you upset it all with your squeamishness about the truth. Nobody will ask you how much I’m worth, so you won’t be compelled to a lie direct. Just keep your tongue between your teeth, and leave the rest to me. Will you?”
There was, as usual, a feeble remonstrance, and then the weak woman yielded so far as promising to keep silent was concerned.
Meantime the doctor sat in his own room nearby, thinking of ’Lina Worthington, and wishing she were a little more refined.
“Where does she get that coarseness?” he thought. “Not from her mother, certainly. She seems very gentle and ladylike. It must be from the Worthingtons,” and the doctor wondered where he had heard that name before, and why it affected him rather unpleasantly, bringing with it memories of Lily. “Poor Lily,” he sighed mentally. “Your love would have made me a better man if I had not cast it from me. Dear Lily, the mother of my child,” and a tear half trembled in his eyelashes, as he tried to fancy that child; tried to hear the patter of the little feet running to welcome him home, as they might have done had he been true to Lily; tried to hear the baby voice calling him “papa;” to feel the baby hands upon his face—his bearded face where the great tears were standing now. “I did love Lily,” he murmured; “and had I known of the child I never could have left her. Oh, Lily, my lost Lily, come back to me, come!” and his arms were stretched out into empty space, as if he fain would encircle again the girlish form he had so often held in his embrace.
It was very late ere Dr. Richards slept that night, and the morning found him pale, haggard and nearly desperate. Thoughts of Lily were gone, and in their place was a fixed determination to follow on in the course he had marked out, to find him a rich wife, to cast remorse to the winds, and be as happy as he could.
How anxious the doctor was to have Alice go; how fearful lest she should not; and how relieved when asked by ’Lina one night to go with her the next morning and see Miss Johnson off. There were Mrs. Worthington and ’Lina, Dr. Richards and Irving Stanley, and a dozen more admirers, who, dazzled with Alice’s beauty, were dancing attendance upon her to the latest moment, but none looked so sorry as Irving Stanley, or said good-by so unwillingly, and ’Lina, as she saw the wistful gaze he sent after the receding train, playfully asked him if he did not feel some like the half of a pair of scissors.