“I cannot possibly explain to you,” was the abrupt reply. Helen’s voice was firm, and there was a determined look upon her face, a look which quite took her aunt by surprise.
“But, my dear girl!” she began once more.
“Aunt Polly!” said the other, interrupting her again, “I wish instead of talking about it you would listen to what I have to say for a few moments. For I have made up my mind just what I am going to do, and I am going to take the reins in my own hands and not do any arguing or explaining to anyone. And there is no use of asking me a word about what has happened, for I could not hope to make you understand me, and I do not mean to try.”
As Helen uttered those words she fixed her eyes upon her aunt with an unflinching gaze, with the result that Mrs. Roberts was quite too much taken aback to find a word to say.
Without waiting for anything more Helen turned to the table. “Here is a letter,” she said, “which I have written to Mr. Harrison; you know his address in New York, I suppose?”
“His address?” stammered the other; “why,—yes, of course. But what in the world—”
“I wish this letter delivered to him at once, Aunt Polly,” Helen continued. “It is of the utmost importance, and I want you to do me the favor to send someone into the city with it by the next train.”
“But, Helen, dear—”
“Now please do not ask me anything about it,” went on the girl, impatiently. “I have told you that you must let me manage this affair myself. If you will not send it I shall simply have to get someone to take it. He must have it, and have it at once.”
“Will it not do to mail it, Helen?”
“No, because I wish him to get it this morning.” And Helen put the letter into her aunt’s hands, while the latter gazed helplessly, first at it, and then at the girl. There is an essay of Bacon’s in which is set forth the truth that you can bewilder and master anyone if you are only sufficiently bold and rapid; Mrs. Roberts was so used to managing everything and being looked up to by everyone that Helen’s present mood left her quite dazed.
Nor did the girl give her any time to recover her presence of mind. “There is only one thing more,” she said, “I want you to have breakfast as soon as you can, and then to let me have a carriage at once.”
“A carriage?” echoed the other.
“Yes, Aunt Polly, I wish to drive over to Hilltown immediately.”
“To Hilltown!” gasped Aunt Polly with yet greater consternation, and showing signs of resistance at last; “pray what—”
But Helen only came again to the attack, with yet more audacity and confidence. “Yes,” she said, “to Hilltown; I mean to go to see Arthur.”
For answer to that last statement, poor Mrs, Roberts had simply no words whatever; she could only gaze, and in the meantime, Helen was going calmly on with her dressing, as if the matter were settled.