Yes, it was “better so!” They had no grief, but thankfulness, that she was dead.
On the morning after the funeral there came a letter from Havana addressed to Mr. Dinneford. It was from the man Freeling. In it he related circumstantially all the reader knows about the conspiracy to destroy Granger. The letter enclosed an affidavit made by Freeling, and duly attested by the American consul, in which he stated explicitly that all the forgeries were made by himself, and that George Granger was entirely ignorant of the character of the paper he had endorsed with the name of the firm.
Since the revelation made to Edith by Freeling’s letter to her mother, all the repressed love of years, never dead nor diminished, but only chained, held down, covered over, shook itself free from bonds and the wrecks and debris of crushed hopes. It filled her heart with an agony of fullness. Her first passionate impulse was to go to him and throw herself into his arms. But a chilling thought came with the impulse, and sent all the outgoing heart-beats back. She was no longer the wife of George Granger. In a weak hour she had yielded to the importunities of her father, and consented to an application for divorce. No, she was no longer the wife of George Granger. She had no right to go to him. If it were true that reason had been in part or wholly restored, would he not reject her with scorn? The very thought made her heart stand still. It would be more than she could bear.
NO other result than the one that followed could have been hoped for. The strain upon Edith was too great. After the funeral of her mother mind and body gave way, and she passed several weeks in a half-unconscious state.
Two women, leading actors in this tragedy of life, met for the first time in over two years—Mrs. Hoyt, alias Bray, and Pinky Swett. It had not gone very well with either of them during that period. Pinky, as the reader knows, had spent the time in prison, and Mrs. Bray, who had also gone a step too far in her evil ways, was now hiding from the police under a different name from any heretofore assumed. They met, by what seemed an accident, on the street.
Dropped from their lips in mutual surprise and pleasure. A little while they held each other’s hands, and looked into each other’s faces with keenly-searching, sinister eyes, one thought coming uppermost in the minds of both—the thought of that long-time-lost capital in trade, the cast-adrift baby.
From the street they went to Mrs. Bray’s hiding-place a small ill-furnished room in one of the suburbs of the city—and there took counsel together.
“What became of that baby?” was one of Mrs. Bray’s first questions.
“It’s all right,” answered Pinky.
“Do you know where it is?”