“No; she resembled her father, and was light, with blue eyes, though you have a way of speaking that reminds me of her. But you are almost the image of my sister—her mother—who was dark, with black eyes, and hair that curled, just as yours does, about her forehead,” Mr. Arnold replied, and added: “Your father I never saw, but I have some pictures of a very nice-looking gentleman whose autograph, ‘Charles E. Jennison,’ is written on the back.”
“And my name is ‘Mildred Arnold Jennison,’” said Jennie, and drawing a long breath at the unfamiliar sounds.
“Yes, I am sure of it. With your resemblance to Annie, my sister, the dates you have given me and this string of beads I could ask for no stronger proofs,” returned the gentleman as he gave back the amber necklace.
“It is a very pretty name, I think,” said the girl, a happy little laugh breaking from her, “and I’m glad there is a ‘Jennie’ in it, for I’ve been called that so long I would hardly know how to answer to any other. But—oh! what time is it?” she cried, starting to her feet. “I had forgotten all about my train!”
Mr. Arnold showed her his watch, whereupon she breathed more freely.
“There is plenty of time,” she added, more composedly, “but I think I must go now, for I have a package to get from another store. I hope, though, this hasn’t been a ‘transformation scene’ that will turn back to marble or—blankness,” she concluded, with a nervous laugh as she glanced towards the curtained alcove where they had met.
“Do not fear—it is all living truth, and we are going to make it seem more real every day,” cheerily responded Mr. Arnold. “I will see you to your train and we will thus have a little more time together; then, very soon, I would like to come to you and meet the friends who have been so kind to you.”
Jennie asked if he could make it convenient to come to Manchester on Friday, explaining why she could not make the appointment for the next day; and it was so arranged.
He accompanied her to the station and put her aboard her train, making himself very entertaining on the way by recounting interesting incidents connected with his life and travels in the East.
“You’re sure you’re a bona-fide uncle and no vanishing ’genie’?” she half jestingly, half wistfully remarked as the warning “All aboard!” sounded and she gave him her hand at parting.
“I’m sure of the relationship, and I think I am of too substantial proportions to become invisible to mortal eyes at a moment’s warning. Whether I shall be obliged to vanish in any other way will depend upon yourself later on,” Mr. Arnold smilingly replied, as he courteously lifted his hat and bowed himself away.
But during the ride home it seemed too wonderful to be true. She had dreamed of a similar revelation so many times, only to awake in the morning and find herself plain Jennie Wild, the same stray waif still hopelessly bemoaning the mystery that enshrouded her origin, that she could hardly believe she was not dreaming now.