Read CHAPTER XXXIV of The Ghost Girl , free online book, by H. De Vere Stacpoole, on ReadCentral.com.

Miss Pinckney and Phyl left Grangersons next morning at seven o’clock to return to Charleston.

During the night the Colonel had sent after the horses and they had been captured and brought back.  The broken phaeton was left for the present.

“I’ll make Silas go and fetch it himself when he comes back,” said the Colonel.  “I reckon the exercise will do him good.”

“Do,” said Miss Pinckney, “and then send him on to me.  I reckon what I’ll give him will help him to forget the exercise.”

On the way back she said little.  She was reckoning with the fact that she had deceived Richard.  Now that everything had turned out so innocently and so well she decided to tell him the bare facts of the matter.  There was nothing to hide except the fact of Phyl’s stupidity in going with Silas.

Richard Pinckney was not in when they arrived but he returned shortly before luncheon time and Miss Pinckney, who was waiting for him, carried him off into the library.

She shut the door and faced him.

“Richard,” said Miss Pinckney, “Seth Grangerson is as well as you are.  I didn’t go to see him because he was ill, I went because of Phyl.  She did a stupid thing and I went to set matters right.”

She explained the whole affair.  How Phyl had met Silas, how he had persuaded her to get into the phaeton with him, the accident and all the rest.  The story as told by Miss Pinckney was quite simple and without any dark patches, and no man, one might fancy, could find cause for offence in it.

Miss Pinckney, however, was quite unconscious of the fact that Silas Grangerson had attempted to take Richard Pinckney’s life on the night of the Rhetts’ dance.

To Richard the thought that Phyl should have met Silas only a few hours after that event, talked to him, made friends with him, and got into his carriage was a monstrous thought.  He could not understand the business in the least, he could only recognise the fact.

Had he known that it was her love for him and her despair at losing him that led her to the act it would have been different.

He said nothing for a moment after Miss Pinckney had finished.  Having already confessed to her his love for Phyl he was too proud to show his anger against her now.

“It was unwise of her,” he said at last, turning away to the window and looking out.

“Most,” replied she, “but you cannot put old heads on young shoulders.  Well, there, it’s over and done with and there’s no more to be said.  Well, I must go up and change before luncheon.  You are having luncheon here?”

“No,” said he, “I have to meet a man at the club.  I only just ran in to see if you were back.”

He went off and that day Miss Pinckney and Phyl had luncheon alone.