“Partly; but there is another reason,” said Miss Sinclair. “I will not conceal from you that there is a person there whom I wish to meet.”
“Is it a young man?” asked Ben shrewdly.
“You have guessed it. Richard Dewey is the son of a former bookkeeper of my father. He is poor, but he is a gentleman, and there is a mutual attachment between us. Indeed, he asked my guardian’s consent to his suit, but he was repelled with insult, and charged with being a fortune-hunter. That name would better apply to my guardian and his precious son.”
“Is Mr. Dewey in California?”
“Yes; he went out there some months since. He promised to write me regularly, but I have not heard a word from him. I know very well that he has written, and that my guardian has suppressed his letters.”
“That is shameful!” said Ben warmly.
“It is indeed; but with your help I think I can circumvent Mr. Campbell yet.”
“Mr. Campbell is your guardian, I suppose, Ida?”
“You may reply upon me to help you in every way possible, Miss Sinclair.”
“Ida,” corrected the young lady.
“I mean Ida.”
“That’s right, Cousin Ben.”
Now that Miss Sinclair’s veil was removed, our hero could see that she was very pretty, and perhaps he felt all the more proud of being selected as her escort. But on one point he was in the dark.
“May I ask you a question, Ida?” he said. “How is it that you have chosen me-a stranger, and so young-as your escort? I am only a green country boy.”
“Partly because I like your looks; you look honest and trustworthy.”
“Thank you, but I am only a boy.”
“That’s all the better for me. It would not do for me to accept the escort of a man, and it would be awkward for me to propose it even if it would do.”
“At any rate, I am lucky to be selected. I hope you will be satisfied with me.”
“I feel sure of it.”
“You are spending a great deal of money for me.”
“You may feel surprised that I have so much money to spend independent of my guardian, but he has control only of the property left by my father. My mother left me thirty thousand dollars, of which I am sole mistress.”
“That is lucky for you.”
“Under present circumstances-yes.”
Here two ladies entered the parlor, and the conversation was suspended.
“I believe I will go in to dinner now,” said Miss Sinclair. “Will you come, Ben?”
“I ate dinner an hour ago.” “Then you can go where you please. Meet me here at six o’clock.” “All right, Ida.”
Ben receives A call.
Ben had scarcely left the room when it occurred to him that he ought to send home for the remainder of his clothes. He did not like to do so, however, without first consulting Miss Sinclair.