During the fortnight of Belsky’s stay in Venice Mrs. Lander was much worse, and Clementina met him only once, very briefly—She felt that he had behaved like a very silly person, but that was all over now, and she had no wish to punish him for it. At the end of his fortnight he went northward into the Austrian Tyrol, and a few days later Gregory came down from the Dolomites to Venice.
It was in his favor with Clementina that he yielded to the impulse he had to come directly to her; and that he let her know with the first words that he had acted upon hopes given him through Belsky from Mrs. Milray. He owned that he doubted the authority of either to give him these hopes, but he said he could not abandon them without a last effort to see her, and learn from her whether they were true or false.
If she recognized the design of a magnificent reparation in what Mrs. Milray had done, she did not give it much thought. Her mind was upon distant things as she followed Gregory’s explanation of his presence, and in the muse in which she listened she seemed hardly to know when he ceased speaking.
“I know it must seem to take something for granted which I’ve no right to take for granted. I don’t believe you could think that I cared for anything but you, or at all for what Mrs. Lander has done for you.”
“Do you mean her leaving me her money?” asked Clementina, with that boldness her sex enjoys concerning matters of finance and affection.
“Yes,” said Gregory, blushing for her. “As far as I should ever have a right to care, I could wish there were no money. It could bring no blessing to our life. We could do no good with it; nothing but the sacrifice of ourselves in poverty could be blessed to us.”
“That is what I thought, too,” Clementina replied.
“Oh, then you did think—”
“But afterwards, I changed my Mind. If she wants to give me her money I shall take it.”
Gregory was blankly silent again.