Alban placed himself at the door, so as to hide Mrs. Ellmother. There indeed was Francine, accompanied by one of the teachers at the school. She took a seat on the bench outside the booking-office, in a state of sullen indifference--absorbed in herself--noticing nothing. Urged by ungovernable curiosity, Mrs. Ellmother stole on tiptoe to Alban's side to look at her. To a person acquainted with the circumstances there could be no possible doubt of what had happened. Francine had failed to excuse herself, and had been dismissed from Miss Ladd's house.
"I would have traveled to the world's end," Mrs. Ellmother said, "to see _that!_"
She returned to her place in the waiting-room, perfectly satisfied.
The teacher noticed Alban, on leaving the booking-office after taking the tickets. "I shall be glad," she said, looking toward Francine, "when I have resigned the charge of that young lady to the person who is to receive her in London."
"Is she to be sent back to her parents?" Alban asked.
"We don't know yet. Miss Ladd will write to St. Domingo by the next mail. In the meantime, her father's agent in London--the same person who pays her allowance--takes care of her until he hears from the West Indies."
"She doesn't seem to care what becomes of her. Miss Ladd has given her every opportunity of explaining and excusing herself, and has produced no impression. You can see the state she is in. Our good mistress--always hopeful even in the worst cases, as you know--thinks she is feeling ashamed of herself, and is too proud and self-willed to own it. My own idea is, that some secret disappointment is weighing on her mind. Perhaps I am wrong."
No. Miss Ladd was wrong; and the teacher was right.