“She’s always wanting the docta.” Clementina lifted her eyes and looked very coldly at him.
“If I were you I’d go up right away,” he said, boldly.
She felt that she ought to resent his interference, but the mild entreaty of his pale blue eyes, or the elder-brotherly injunction of his smile, forbade her. “Did she ask for me?”
“I’ll go to her,” she said, and she kept herself from smiling at the long sigh of relief he gave as she passed him on the stairs.
Mrs. Lander began as soon as she entered her room, “Well, I was just wonderin’ if you was goin’ to leave me here all day alone, while you staid down the’e, carryin’ on with that simpleton. I don’t know what’s got into the men.”
“Mr. Hinkle has gone for the docta,” said Clementina, trying to get into her voice the kindness she was trying to feel.
“Well, if I have one of my attacks, now, you’ll have yourself to thank for it.”
By the time Dr. Tradonico appeared Mrs. Lander was so much better that in her revulsion of feeling she was all day rather tryingly affectionate in her indirect appeals for Clementina’s sympathy.
“I don’t want you should mind what I say, when I a’n’t feelin’ just right,” she began that evening, after she had gone to bed, and Clementina sat looking out of the open window, on the moonlit lagoon.
“Oh, no,” the girl answered, wearily.
Mrs. Lander humbled herself farther. “I’m real sorry I plagued you so, to-day, and I know Mr. Hinkle thought I was dreadful, but I couldn’t help it. I should like to talk with you, Clementina, about something that’s worryin’ me, if you a’n’t busy.”
“I’m not busy, now, Mrs. Lander,” said Clementina, a little coldly, and relaxing the clasp of her hands; to knit her fingers together had been her sole business, and she put even this away.
She did not come nearer the bed, and Mrs. Lander was obliged to speak without the advantage of noting the effect of her words upon her in her face. “It’s like this: What am I agoin’ to do for them relations of Mr. Landa’s out in Michigan?”
“I don’t know. What relations?”
“I told you about ’em: the only ones he’s got: his half-sista’s children. He neva saw ’em, and he neva wanted to; but they’re his kin, and it was his money. It don’t seem right to pass ’em ova. Do you think it would yourself, Clementina?”
“Why, of cou’se not, Mrs. Lander. It wouldn’t be right at all.”
Mrs. Lander looked relieved, and she said, as if a little surprised, “I’m glad you feel that way; I should feel just so, myself. I mean to do by you just what I always said I should. I sha’n’t forget you, but whe’e the’e’s so much I got to thinkin’ the’e’d ought to some of it go to his folks, whetha he ca’ed for ’em or not. It’s worried me some, and I guess if anything it’s that that’s made me wo’se lately.”
“Why by Mrs. Landa,” said the girl, “Why don’t you give it all to them?”