Miss Vance put her lamp on the table and sat down. "Frances," she said deliberately, "I know what this is to you. It would have been better for you that George had died."
"But he didn't die. He married Lisa Arpent. Now it is your duty to accept it. Make the best of it."
"If a lizard crawls into my house will you tell me to accept it? Make the best of it? Oh, my God! The slimy vile creature!"
"She is not vile! I tell you there are lovable qualities in Lisa. And even if she were as wicked as her mother, what right have you---- You, too, are a sinner before God."
"No," said Mrs. Waldeaux gravely, "I am not. I have lived a good Christian life. I may have been tempted to commit sin, but I cannot remember that I ever did it."
Miss Vance looked at her aghast. "But surely your religion teaches you---- Why, you are sinning now, when you hate this girl!"
"I do not hate her. God made her as he made the lizard. I simply will not allow her to cross my path. What has religion to do with it? I am clean and she is vile. That is all there is to say."
Both women were silent. Mrs. Waldeaux got up at last and caught Clara by the arm. She was trembling violently. "No, I'm not ill. I'm well enough. But you don't under- stand! That woman has killed George. I spent twenty years in making him what he is. I worked--there was nothing but him for me in the world. I didn't spare myself. To make him a gentleman--a Christian. And in a month she turns him into a thing like herself. He is following her vulgar courses. I saw the difference after he had lived with her for one day. He is tainted." She stood staring into the dull lamp. "She may not live long, though," she said. "She doesn't look strong----"