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HOME > Short Stories > The Queen of Farrandale > CHAPTER XXII ADJUSTMENTS
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 As soon as she had parted from John Ogden, Miss Frink went to her study. Her secretary was in his place. Could this possibly be the world of the barren yesterdays? The same world in which she and Leonard Grimshaw had sat at their adjoining desks in this room and opened mail, dictated letters, and considered investments, for so many years? Her welling sense of gratitude gave her a novel attitude of sympathetic comprehension. If her secretary, so long the sole partner and confidant of her days, were suffering now from being to a degree usurped, it would not be surprising. She felt a sort of yearning toward him. He rose at her entrance, grave and businesslike as usual. She took her customary place beside him, and he seated himself, drawing toward him the morning’s mail.
“Never mind that now, Grim. We will attend to it this afternoon, if I can keep awake.” She gave a little laugh.
He glanced around at her. Miss Frink, flushed and laughing, unmindful of the mail! From bad to worse!
“The gayety of last evening too much for you?” he responded, with a gravity so portentous as to be a rebuke.
“I suppose so. Say, Grim, how did Goldstein get in here?”
“I asked him. I knew your desire not to have anybody overlooked.”
“But we have never had any contact with him.”
Grimshaw cleared his throat, and drew forward a bunch of pencils and put them back again.
“He is one of our stirring citizens,” he said.
“I know he stirs me,” remarked Miss Frink.
“He enjoyed the evening greatly,” declared Grimshaw.
“All right; but, if he ever comes to make his party call, remember he is your guest.”
“Very well, Miss Frink.”
“Now, my dear boy,” she went on, and she laid a hand on her secretary’s arm. He regarded it under dropped lids. “I feel I want to say a few things to you in this great change that has come into my life.”
“I have anticipated it,” he returned. “You wish to dispense with my services?”
Miss Frink withdrew her hand. “What could put such a wild idea into your head,[260] Grim? So far from dispensing with you, I feel it an occasion to speak of my appreciation of your faithful service. In the great joy that has come to me I long to give happiness. If it pleases you to know that your efficient work is not taken for granted, but that it is given its full value, I want you to realize that I thank you.” She paused and the secretary bowed silently.
“In the changes that will result from the discovery of my nephew, I want you to know also that none will affect you. You are mentioned in my will, and nothing regarding you in that will be changed.”
Grimshaw did not alter his position, but some pulse leaped to his throat. It was not a leap of gladness. If that were the case, then his employer’s plans for him had fallen below expectations.
“In short,” said Miss Frink, “since this great blessing that has come to me should make me a better woman, I hope to be a better friend to you and to all.” As her companion did not break the pause that followed this, she added: “I hope you don’t begrudge it to me, Grim?”
“By no means, Miss Frink,” he responded, without looking up. “Pardon me for a moment, I am much moved.”
Miss Frink was touched. “The good boy!”[261] she thought. “Probably constant contact with me has made it impossible for him to express any feeling that does not regard dollars and cents.”
“My narrow life could not fail to narrow you,” she said humbly. “I hope we may both expand after this.”
Neither spoke for a minute. Grimshaw continued to look down, one hand toying with a paper-cutter.
At last she spoke: “I told Adèle you would take her over to Mrs. Cooper’s as soon as she was ready.”
“I shall be glad to,” he returned. “Adèle made a great impression last night.”
“Indeed, she did. There is no doubt that she can teach here if she wishes to. I have just been saying to her that I hope, when the subject comes up, she will aid in letting it be known what a passive part Hugh played in the camouflaged way he came to Farrandale. Mr. Ogden was the motive power of it all, and you must help, too, Grim, in giving the right impression.”
The secretary turned to her with a strange smile. “Do you think that your nephew and heir will need any apologies?” he asked slowly. Miss Frink felt uncomfortably the inimical attitude[262] back of the words. “If he does, he will never know it, and you will never know it. That is the advantage of being the Queen of Farrandale.”
“The boy is jealous!” she thought.
“I hope,” he continued, “that your absorption is not so great that you cannot use your influence to help Adèle, even though she is leaving your house.”
Miss Frink felt the criticism in this. She was silent for a space.
“Adèle came here camouflaged also, Grim,” she said quietly. “She will tell you about it.”
The secretary flashed a quick look around at her. “Perfectly innocent in one case, I suppose,” he said, “and unpardonable in the other.”
Miss Frink was too deeply troubled about Adèle’s future in Farrandale to be ruffled by this. “It was her own idea,” she said. “That makes some difference. I am glad she has a friend in a truly upright man like you, Grim. Help her to be a good woman.”
The secretary frowned in surprise at the earnestness of this appeal; but, before he could speak, Adèle entered the room dressed for driving, smiling, and with head held high.
Her departure with Grimshaw a few minutes later was decorous. Miss Frink was at the door.
“Hugh will want to say good-bye to you,” she said. “Won’t you call him, Grim?”
“Oh, no,” interrupted Adèle. “He is at his studies. Don’t disturb him. We shall always be meeting.”
Miss Frink stood on the veranda and watched the motor drive away. She drew a long breath of the sweet air. Whatever should come now, Adèle was gone from the house. The relief of it!
In the motor, the two, sitting side by side, exchanged a mutual regard.
“It was very, very sweet of you to write me that note,” said Grimshaw.
“I thought it would help.”
“There has been some trouble between you and Miss Frink,” he pursued.
Adèle lifted her eyebrows and gave a little laugh. “Yes. Mr. Ogden kindly tipped her off that I was merely the step-grandchild of her beloved chum.”
“Step-grandchild?” repeated Grimshaw.
“Yes. Complicated, isn’t it?—and not worth while trying to understand. It served her as well as anything else as an excuse to get rid of me.”
Grimshaw frowned. He was angry with his employer for sending this lovely creature away from the luxurious home, the Steinway grand,[264] and himself; but Miss Frink’s novel gentleness in their interview chained his always cautious tongue; then, if Adèle had really deliberately misrepresented facts, he knew how that must have offended Miss Frink’s rigorous principles.
“You will find the change to the simplicity of the Cooper home rather hard, Adèle.”
“No harder than your discovery that henceforward you are second-best in your home,” she returned; but her voice was sympathetic, even tender. “Perhaps you will have to go away.”
“No; she doesn’t want me to leave,” he answered dispiritedly. He turned again suddenly to his companion: “You must tell me, Adèle, how I can help you. How about this teaching business?”
She smiled at him, her sweetest. “Leonard, can you see me trudging around in all weathers and teaching youngsters how to play scales?”
He shook his head.
“Hu—somebody said it was like harnessing a blooded horse to a coal wagon to make me teach.”
Color rushed to Grimshaw’s face. “Adèle, it can’t be! You know I—”
She interrupted him with a laugh. “Look out![265] You nearly ran into that Mr. and Mrs. Rube in their light wagon. Now, I’ll talk to the motor man if he doesn’t look at me.” Grimshaw kept eyes ahead, and she continued. “I never had the dimmest idea of teaching. I knew something would turn up, and it has. Did you notice Mr. Goldstein draw me aside for a few minutes last night?”
“Yes; confound his impudence, keeping everybody else waiting.”
“Not at all. Mr. Goldstein is a highly important friend. He wants me to take charge of the music at the Koh-i-noor. He’s mad about the new organ, and he says I’m just the person they have been looking for.”
“Can you play the organ?”
“Oh, yes, I’............
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