“Neither have I,” said Kate. “He’s very silent, thinking out more inventions, maybe. The worst thing about him is a kind of hard-headed self-assurance. He got it fighting for his mother from boyhood. He knew she would freeze and starve if he didn’t take care of her; he had to do it. He soon found he could. It took money to do what he had to do. He got the money. Then he began performing miracles with it. He lifted his mother out of poverty, he dressed her ‘in purple and fine linen,’ he housed her in the same kind of home other rich men of the Lake Shore Drive live in, and gave her the same kind of service. As most men do, when things begin to come their way, he lived for making money alone. He was so keen on the chase he wouldn’t stop to educate and culture himself; he drove headlong on, and on, piling up more, far more than any one man should be allowed to have; so you can see that it isn’t strange that he thinks there’s nothing on earth that money can’t do. You can see that sticking out all over him. At the hotel, on boats, on the trains, anywhere we went, he pushed straight for the most conspicuous place, the most desirable thing, the most expensive. I almost prayed sometimes that in some way he would strike one single thing that he couldn’t make come his way with money; but he never did. No. I haven’t an idea what he has in his mind yet, but he’s going to write me about it this week, and if I agree to whatever it is, he is coming Sunday; then he has threatened me with a ‘deluge,’ whatever he means by that.”
“He means providing another teacher for Walden, taking you to Chicago shopping for a wonderful trousseau, marrying you in his Lake Shore palace, no doubt.”
“Well, if that’s what he means by a ‘deluge,’” said Kate, “he’ll find the flood coming his way. He’ll strike the first thing he can’t do with money. I shall teach my school this winter as I agreed to. I shall marry him in the clothes I buy with what I earn. I shall marry him quietly, here, or at Adam’s, or before a Justice of the Peace, if neither of you wants me. He can’t pick me up, and carry me away, and dress me, and marry me, as if I were a pauper.”
“You’re right about it,” said Nancy Ellen. “I don’t know how we came to be so different. I should do at once any way he suggested to get such a fine-looking man and that much money. That it would be a humiliation to me all my after life, I wouldn’t think about until the humiliation began, and then I’d have no way to protect myself. You’re right! But I’d get out of teaching this winter if I could. I’d love to have you here.”
“But I must teach to the earn money for my outfit. I’ll have to go back to school in the same old sailor.”
“Don’t you care,” laughed Nancy Ellen. “We know a secret!”
“That we do!” agreed Kate.
Wednesday Kate noticed Nancy Ellen watching for the boy Robert had promised to send with the mail as soon as it was distributed, because she was, herself. Twice Thursday, Kate hoped in vain that the suspense would be over. It had to end Friday, if John were coming Saturday night. She began to resent the length of time he was waiting. It was like him to wait until the last minute, and then depend on money to carry him through.