Carroll, looking at her, smiled a little sadly.
“It was then,” said she, “Hart Lee’s pearl that he left you when he died—your scarf-pin.”
Carroll smiled. Anna’s face changed a little.
“I noticed that you had not worn it lately,” said she.
“Sooner or later it would have been the child’s. It might as well be sooner,” said Carroll, with a slightly annoyed air.
“Eddy should have had it,” Anna said, with a jealous air.
“When he was older, of course.”
“That is a long way ahead,” said Carroll. He moved to go, but again Anna stood before him.
“Arthur,” said she, solemnly, “I am living with you and doing all I am able. I am giving my strength for you and yours. You know that as well as I do. You know upon whom the brunt here falls. I do not complain. The one who has the best strength should bear the burden, and I have the strength, such as it is. None of us Carrolls need brag of strength, God knows. But I want to know how you came by that money. Yes, I suspect, and I am not ashamed. I have a right to suspect. How did you get that money?”
“I sang and danced for it in a music-hall, blackened up as a negro,” said Arthur Carroll.
“Then that was you, Arthur!” gasped Anna.
“Yes. It was the one thing I could do to get that money honestly and pay the bills, and I did it. I would not let Arms pay.”
“I should think not,” cried Anna. “We have not fallen quite so low as that yet. But you—”
“Yes, I,” said Carroll. “Now let us go to bed, Anna.”
Anna stood aside, but as her brother turned to pass her she suddenly put up her arms, and as he stooped she kissed him. He felt her cheek wet against his. “Good-night, Arthur,” she said, and all the bitterness was gone from her voice.
It was a week to a day after the wedding, and Anderson had been to the office for the morning mail, and was just returning to the store when a watching face at a window of Madame Griggs’s dress-making establishment opposite suddenly disappeared, and when Anderson was mounting the steps of the store piazza he heard a panting breath and rattle of starched petticoats, and turned to see the dress-maker.
“Good-morning,” she gasped.
“Good-morning, Mrs. Griggs,” returned Anderson.
“Can I see you jest a minute on business? I have been watching for you to come back from the office. I want to buy a melon, if it ain’t too dear, before I go, but I want to see you jest a minute in the office first, if you ain’t too busy.”
“Certainly. Come right in,” responded Anderson; but his heart sank, for he divined her errand.
The dress-maker followed him into the office with a nervous teeter and a loud rattle of starched cottons. That morning she was clad in blue gingham trimmed profusely with white lace, and her face looked infinitesimal and meagre in the midst of her puffs of blond frizzes.