"My widow, should I die first, will be paid an annuity from my estate. But while Mees Lucy is my wife, _I_ will buy all that she needs. I will delight to dress her, to feed her well. With discretion, of course. For there are many channels into which my income must flow. But I will not be a niggardly husband to her! No, no!" cried the little man in a glow.
"That is very kind of you. But she will not have any of her own money to spend? In her own purse? To fling into the gutter if she chooses?"
The prince laughed gayly. "How American you are, gracious lady! A German wife does not ask for her `own purse.' My wife will cease to be American; she will be German," patting his soft hands ecstatically. "But you have not told me the name of her guardian?"
"Lucy," said Miss Vance reluctantly, "is of age. She has full control of her property. A Trust Company manages it for her, but they have no authority to stop her if she chooses to--throw it into the gutter."
The prince looked up sharply. Could this be a trick? But if it were, the agent would find out for him. He rose.
"To have the sole disposal of her own hand and of her fortune? That seems strange to us," he said, smiling. "But I have your consent, most dear lady, to win both, if I can?"
"Oh, yes, prince. If you can."
He took her hand and bowed profoundly over it, but no courtly grace nor words could bring back Clara's awe of him. She had a vague impression that the Weir baker had been wrangling with her about his bill.