The girl remembered how Mrs. Milray had once before seemed very fond of her, and had afterwards forgotten the pretty promises and professions she had made her. But she went with Mrs. Lander to see her, and she saw Mr. Milray, too, for a little while. He seemed glad of their meeting, but still depressed by the bereavement which Mrs. Milray supported almost with gayety. When he left them she explained that he was a good deal away from her, with his family, as she approved of his being, though she had apparently no wish to join him in all the steps of the reconciliation which the mother’s death had brought about among them. Sometimes his sisters came to the hotel to see her, but she amused herself perfectly without them, and she gave much more of her leisure to Clementina and Mrs. Lander.
She soon knew the whole history of the relation between them, and the first time that Clementina found her alone with Mrs. Lander she could have divined that Mrs. Lander had been telling her of the Fane affair, even if Mrs. Milray had not at once called out to her, “I know all about it; and I’ll tell you what, Clementina, I’m going to take you over with me and marry you to an English Duke. Mrs. Lander and I have been planning it all out, and I’m going to send down to the steamer office, and engage your passage. It’s all settled!”
When she was gone, Mrs. Lander asked, “What do you s’pose your folks would say to your goin’ to Europe, anyway, Clementina?” as if the matter had been already debated between them.
Clementina hesitated. “I should want to be su’a, Mrs. Milray really wanted me to go ova with her.”
“Why, didn’t you hear her say so?” demanded Mrs. Lander.
“Yes,” sighed Clementina. “Mrs. Lander, I think Mrs. Milray means what she says, at the time, but she is one that seems to forget.”
“She thinks the wo’ld of you,” Mrs. Lander urged.
“She was very nice to me that summer at Middlemount. I guess maybe she would like to have us go with her,” the girl relented.
“I guess we’ll wait and see,” said Mrs. Lander. “I shouldn’t want she should change her mind when it was too late, as you say.” They were both silent for a time, and then Mrs. Lander resumed, “But I presume she ha’n’t got the only steams that’s crossin’. What should you say about goin’ over on some otha steams? I been South a good many wintas, and I should feel kind of lonesome goin’ round to the places where I been with Mr. Landa. I felt it since I been here in this hotel, some, and I can’t seem to want to go ova the same ground again, well, not right away.”
Clementina said, “Why, of cou’se, Mrs. Landa.”
“Should you be willin’,” asked Mrs. Lander, after another little pause, “if your folks was willin’, to go ova the’a, to some of them European countries, to spend the winta?”
“Oh yes, indeed!” said Clementina.
They discussed the matter in one of the full talks they both liked. At the end Mrs. Lander said, “Well, I guess you betta write home, and ask your motha whetha you can go, so’t if we take the notion we can go any time. Tell her to telegraph, if she’ll let you, and do write all the ifs and ands, so’t she’ll know just how to answa, without havin’ to have you write again.”