After they had waited a few moments in the somewhat dingy surroundings of a house seldom used by its proper owners, Elvira entered in plumed hat and habit, a slender and exquisite little figure, but with a haughty twitch in her slim waist, superb indifference in the air of her little head, and a grasp of her coral-handled whip as if it were a defensive weapon, when Lisette flew up to offer an embrace with-
“Joy, joy, my dear child! Remember, I was the first to give you a hint.”
“Good morning,” said Elvira, with a little bend of her head, presenting to each the shapely tip of a gauntleted hand, but ignoring her uncle and aunt as far as was possible. “Is there anything that need detain me, Mr. Wakefield? I am just going out with Miss Evelyn and Lord Fordham, and I cannot keep them waiting.”
“Ah! it is you that will have to be waited for now, my sweet one,” began Mrs. Gould.
“Here is a note from Mrs. Brownlow,” said Mr. Wakefield, holding it to Elvira, who looked like anything but a sweet one. “I imagine it is to prepare you for the important disclosure I have to make.”
A hot colour mounted in the fair cheek. Elvira tore open the letter and read-
“MY DEAR CHILD,-I can only ask your pardon for the unconscious wrong which I have so long been doing to you, and which shall be repaired as soon as the processes of the law render it possible for us to change places.
“What does it all mean?” cried the bewildered girl.
“It means,” said the lawyer, “that Mrs. Brownlow has discovered a will of the late Mr. Barnes more recent than that under which she inherited, naming you, Miss Elvira Menella, as the sole inheritrix.”
“My dear child, let me be the first to congratulate you on your recovery of your rights,” said Mrs. Gould, again proffering an embrace, but again the whip was interposed, while Elvira, with her eyes fixed on Mr. Wakefield, asked “What?” so that he had to repeat the explanation.
“Then does it all belong to me?” she asked.
“Eventually it will, Miss Menella. You are sole heiress to your great uncle, though you cannot enter into possession till certain needful forms of law are gone through. Mrs. Brownlow offers no obstruction, but they cannot be rapid.”
“All mine!” repeated Elvira, with childish exultation. “What fun! I must go and tell Sydney Evelyn.”
“A few minutes more, Miss Menella,” said Mr. Wakefield. “You ought to hear the terms of the will.”
And he read it to her.
“I thought you told me it was to be mine. This is all you and uncle George.”
“As your trustees.”
“Oh, to manage as the Colonel does. You will give me all the money I ask you for. I want some pearls, and I must have that duck of a little Arab. Uncle George, how soon can I have it?”
“We must go through the Probate Court,” he began, but his wife interrupted-