From Mrs Broughton’s house Dalrymple went directly to Mrs Van Siever’s, and learned that Musselboro had been there about half an hour before, and had then gone off in a cab with Mrs Van Siever. It was now nearly four o’clock in the afternoon, and no one in the house knew when Mrs Van Siever would be back. Miss Van Siever was out, and had been out when Mr Musselboro had called, but was expected every minute. Conway therefore said that he would call again, and on returning found Clara alone. She had not then heard a word of the fate of Dobbs Broughton. Of course she would go at once to Mrs Broughton, and if necessary stay with her during the night. She wrote a line at once to her mother, saying where she was, and went across to Mrs Broughton leaning on Dalrymple’s arm. ’Be good to her,’ said Conway, as he left her at the door. ‘I will,’ said Clara. ’I will be as kind as nature will allow me.’ ‘And remember,’ said Conway, whispering into her ear as he pressed her hand at leaving her, ’that you are the all the world to me.’ It was perhaps not a proper time for an expression of love, but Clara Van Siever forgave the impropriety.
MISS VAN SIEVER MAKES HER CHOICE
Clara Van Siever did stay all night with Mrs Broughton. In the course of the evening she received a note from her mother, in which she was told to come home to breakfast. ‘You can go back to her afterwards,’ said Mrs Van Siever; ’and I will see her myself in the course of the day, if she will let me.’ The note was written on a scrap of paper, and had neither beginning nor end; but this was after the manner of Mrs Van Siever, and Clara was not in the least hurt or surprised. ’My mother will come to see you after breakfast,’ said Clara, as she was taking her leave.
‘Oh, goodness! And what shall I say to her?’
‘You will have to say very little. She will speak to you.’
‘I suppose everything belongs to her now,’ said Mrs Broughton.
’I know nothing about that. I never do know anything of mamma’s money matters.’
’Of course she’ll turn me out. I do not mind a bit about that—only I hope she’ll let me have some mourning.’ Then she made Clara promise that she would return as soon as possible, having in Clara’s presence overcome all that feeling of dislike which she had expressed to Conway Dalrymple. Mrs Broughton was generally affectionate to those who were near her. Had Musselboro forced himself into her presence, she would have become quite confidential with him before he left her.