"I did not ask whose money it was, for my brother handled many bequests, and I was a poor business man then. I came and invested it at last in Sunrise-by-the-Walnut. That was your mother's money, given by your father to Joshua, who gave it to me. Joshua did not tell me, and I supposed some good, old Boston philanthropist had bought an indulgence for his ignorant soul by endowing this thing so freely. I found it out on Joshua's deathbed, and only to pacify him would I consent to keep it until now. Henceforth, it must be yours. That is why I asked you a year ago to just be a college girl and drop all thought about marrying. I wanted you to come into possession of your own property before you bound yourself by any bonds you could not break."
Elinor sat silent for a while, her dark eyes seeing only the low golden sunset. She understood now what had grooved that line of care in Lloyd Fenneben's face when he came home from the East. But he had conquered, aye, he had won the mastery.
"And you and Sunrise?" she asked at length. ,
"I can sell the college site and buildings to this new manufactory coming here in August. Added to this, I have acquired sufficient funds of my own to pay you the entire amount and a good rate of interest with it. My grief is that for all these years, I have kept you out of your own."
Elinor rose up, white and cold, and put her hand on her uncle's hand.
"Let me think a little, Uncle Lloyd. It is not easy to realize one's fortune in a minute." Then she left him.
"It makes little difference what passion possesses a man's soul, if it possesses him he will wrong his fellowmen," Fenneben said to himself. "In Joshua Wream's craving to endow college claims he robbed this girl of her inheritance and sent her to me, telling me she was shallow-minded and wholly given to a love of luxuries, that I might not see his plans; while Norrie, never knowing, has proved over and over how false these charges were. And at last, to still his noisy conscience, he would marry her, willing or unwilling, to Vincent Burgess. But with all this, his last hours were full of sorrowful confession. What do these Masters' Degrees my brother bore avail a man if he have not the mastery within? Meanwhile, my labors here must end."
Lonely and crushed, with his life work taken from him, he sat and faced the sunset. Presently, he saw Elinor and Victor Burleigh strolling away in the soft evening light. At the corner, Elinor turned and waved a good-by to him. Then the memory of his own commencement day came back to him, and of the happy night before. Oh, that night before! Can a man ever forget! And now, tonight!