JUDITH PELLA / TRACIE PETERSON
you’ve proposed to build. Railroads that only exist in the dreams
and minds of hopeful men because you never planned to see them become reality. There are hundreds of investors, many of whom I’ll probably never be able to locate, much less reimburse.”“I still see no reason to go to that much trouble. It’s enough thatI’ve ceased to participate in such affairs, is it not? Even though I’vehad nothing but disdain from your uncle Samuel. He thinks me an
absolute addlepated ninny for worrying about such things. Then,
too, I’ve nearly depleted all of my own resources.”
“But, Father, you can’t allow this to continue, and well you know
it,” James replied, then nervously rose from his seat and paced to the window that looked down on the front lawn.
“Looking for Carolina, are you?” Leland questioned. “I suppose
she’d have a spell to know I’m here in her house.”
James cringed inwardly at the words “her house.” It had seemed
a logical choice to stay on in the house of Carolina’s deceased hus-
band, Blake St. John. After all, Blake’s daughter, Victoria, had
grown up in this house, and her comfort was of great concern to
James now that he was her stepfather. Carolina had suggested the temporary arrangement, reminding James that there was much toface and deal with as a new family, and that by staying on in the St.
John house, they would at least avoid the complications of finding a
new house, packing up the old, and making the actual move. Jameshad agreed, seeing the sensibility in it from a standpoint of finances
and time. But now, as had happened on many occasions, to hear
his home referred to as “her house” left him with a strong desire tomove and let the consequences be hanged.
“Carolina has a difficult time accepting what has happened,”
James admitted. He pulled back the edge of the damask drapery andstudied the roadway some twenty yards away. “She feels perhaps an
even deeper sense of betrayal than do I,” he added and dropped his
hold on the curtain. “You have to understand, Carolina is very close
to her father. For you to have swindled her is one thing. But that you would endanger her father’s good name—well, that is entirelydifferent.”