After waiting for a moment in silence, Emily moved away toward the door of the drawing-room. Francine suddenly held up her hand.
"My mind is made up," Francine said.
"You asked what I meant, just now."
"Well, my mind is made up to answer you. Miss Emily Brown, you are leading a sadly frivolous life in this house. I am going to give you something more serious to think about than your flirtation with Mr. Mirabel. Oh, don't be impatient! I am coming to the point. Without knowing it yourself, you have been the victim of deception for years past--cruel deception--wicked deception that puts on the mask of mercy."
"Are you alluding to Miss Jethro?" Emily asked, in astonishment. "I thought you were strangers to each other. Just now, you wanted to know who she was."
"I know nothing about her. I care nothing about her. I am not thinking of Miss Jethro."
"I am thinking," Francine answered, "of your dead father."
Having revived his sinking energies in the fruit garden, Mirabel seated himself under the shade of a tree, and reflected on the critical position in which he was placed by Francine's jealousy.