He smiled indulgently as on a child. "Of course, dear. It IS your own. My father was wise in that. But, on this journey, I can act as your paymaster, can't I? I have studied foreign money----"
"We shall see. I can keep it as safe as any purser now," she said, obstinately shaking her head.
"You have not told him, then?" demanded Clara.
"No. And I never will. I will not hurt the boy by letting him know that his mother has supported him, and remember, Clara, that he can only hear it through you. Nobody knows that I am `Quigg' but you."
Miss Vance lifted her eyebrows. "Nothing can need a lie," she quoted calmly. Presently she said earnestly, "Frances, you are making a mistake. Somebody ought to tell you the truth. There is no reason why your whole being should be buried in that man. He should stand on his own feet, now. You can be all that he needs as a mother, and yet live out your own life. It is broader than his will ever be. At your age, and with your capabilities, you should marry again. Think of the many long years that are before you."
"I have thought of them," said Mrs. Waldeaux slowly. "I have had lovers who came close to me as friends, but I never for a moment was tempted to marry one of them. No, Clara. When the devil drove my father to hand me over--innocent child as I was--to a man like Robert Waldeaux, he killed in me the capacity for that kind of love. It is not in me." She turned her strenuous face to the sea and was silent. "It is not in me," she repeated after a while. "I have but one feeling, and that is for my boy. It is growing on me absurdly, too." She laughed nervously. "I used to be conscious of other people in the world, but now, if I see a boy or man, I see only what George was or will be at his age; if I read a book, it only suggests what George will say of it. I am like one of those plants that have lost their own sap and color, and suck in their life from another. It scares me sometimes."
Miss Vance smiled with polite contempt. No doubt Frances had a shrewd business faculty, but in other matters she was not ten years old.
"And George will marry some time," she said curtly.