“’T is not a subject I choose to discuss with you, nor is it one for any gentlewoman,” said Janice, dropping her hold on the candle and starting upstairs. At the top she paused long enough to say, “Nor do I trust your version,” and then hurried to her room and bolted the door.
Here, dark as it was, she went straight to the bureau, and pulling open the bottom drawer fumbled about in it. Her hands presently encountered the unfinished purse, and for a moment they closed on it, while something resembling a sob escaped her. But with one hand she continued searching; and so soon as her groping put her fingers on the miniature of Mrs. Loring she rose, and feeling the way to a window, she opened it and threw out the slip of ivory. The girl made a motion as if to send the purse after it, but checked the impulse, and forgetting to close the window, and without a thought of her once treasured gown, she threw herself on the bed, and began to sob miserably. Before many minutes, worn out with excitement, fatigue, and the lateness, she fell asleep, but it was only to dream uneasily over the night’s doings, in which all was a confused jumble, save for the eager tones of her lover’s voice as he pleaded his suit, the sight of him as he lay on the floor after the candles had been lighted, and, finally, the look in his eyes as he made his farewell. Yet no sooner did these recur than they were succeeded by that of Mrs. Loring’s eager and passionate kissing of Brereton, and each time this served to bring Janice back into a half-awake condition.
After breakfast the next morning, as she was pretendedly reading Racine’s “Iphigenie,” lest her mother should find her doing nothing and order her to some task, a letter was handed her by one of the servants, with word that it had been brought by a soldier; and breaking the seal, Janice read:
My deer child pleas do forgiv al i spoke to yu a
bout the furst time i see yu for i did not understan
it at al i was dredful up set bi last nite and feel
mitey pukish this mawning, but i hope yu will cum to
see me soon for i want much to tawk with yu a bout
how i can help yu and to kiss and hugg yu for yu ar
so prity that i shud lov just to tuck yu lik sum one
else did yu see how his eys lovd yu when he was going
a way he yused to look that way at me and i cried
mitey hard al nite at his krulty pleas cum soon to
ps. i shal cum to yu if yu dont cum quick
“There is no answer,” the maiden told the servant; then, as he went to the door she added, “And should a Mrs. Loring wish to see me, you will refuse me to her.”
Left alone, Janice went to the fireplace, in which the advance of spring no longer made a fire necessary, and, taking from its niche the tinder box, she struck flint on steel, and in a moment had a blaze started. Not waiting to let it gain headway, she laid the letter upon the flame, and held it there with the tongs till it ignited. “I knew without your telling me,” she said, “that he no longer loved you, and great wonder it is, considering your age, that he ever could.”