"Hush, you little puss," said Mr. Deane, availing himself of the restored snuff-box. "You must not say a word about this thing; do you hear? There's very little chance of their getting the mill or of anybody's getting it out of Wakem's hands. And if he knew that we wanted it with a view to the Tulliver's getting it again, he'd be the less likely to part with it. It's natural, after what happened. He behaved well enough to Tulliver before; but a horsewhipping is not likely to be paid for with sugar-plums."
"Now, papa," said Lucy, with a little air of solemnity, "will you trust me? You must not ask me all my reasons for what I'm going to say, but I have very strong reasons. And I'm very cautious; I am, indeed."
"Well, let us hear."
"Why, I believe, if you will let me take Philip Wakem into our confidence, — let me tell him all about your wish to buy, and what it's for; that my cousins wish to have it, and why they wish to have it, — I believe Philip would help to bring it about. I know he would desire to do it."
"I don't see how that can be, child," said Mr. Deane, looking puzzled. "Why should he care?" — then, with a sudden penetrating look at his daughter, "You don't think the poor lad's fond of you, and so you can make him do what you like?" (Mr. Deane felt quite safe about his daughter's affections.)
"No, papa; he cares very little about me, — not so much as I care about him. But I have a reason for being quite sure of what I say. Don't you ask me. And if you ever guess, don't tell me. Only give me leave to do as I think fit about it."
Lucy rose from her stool to seat herself on her father's knee, and kissed him with that last request.
"Are you sure you won't do mischief, now?" he said, looking at her with delight.
"Yes, papa, quite sure. I'm very wise; I've got all your business talents. Didn't you admire my accompt-book, now, when I showed it you?"
"Well, well, if this youngster will keep his counsel, there won't be much harm done. And to tell the truth, I think there's not much chance for us any other way. Now, let me go off to sleep."