“You—mustn’t mind, Mr. Haas. That’s—the way she’s done since—since she’s—sick. Keeps repeating—”
“My grandchild! From a good mother and a bad father comes a good grandchild. My grandchild! She’m a good one. My—”
“Mama dearie, Mr. Haas is in a hurry. He’s come to help me walk you into a little room to rest before we go home in Mr. Haas’s big, fine auto. Where you can go and rest, mama, and read the newspapers. Come.”
“My back—ach—my back!”
“Yes, yes, mama; we’ll fix it. Up! So—la!”
They raised her by the crook of each arm, gently.
“So! Please, Mr. Haas, the pillows. Shawl. There!”
Around a rear hallway, they were almost immediately into a blank, staring hotel bedroom, fresh towels on the furniture-tops only enhancing its staleness.
“Here we are. Sit her here, Mr. Haas, in this rocker.”
They lowered her, almost inch by inch, sliding down pillows, against the chair-back.
“Now, Shila’s little mama want to sleep?”
“I got—no rest—no rest.”
“You’re too excited, honey; that’s all.”
“Here—here’s a brand-new hotel Bible on the table, dearie. Shall Shila read it to you?”
“Now, now, mama. Now, now; you mustn’t! Didn’t you promise Shila? Look! See, here’s a wreath wrapped in your shawl for Shila’s little mama to work on. Plenty of wreaths for us to take back. Work awhile, dearie, and then we’ll get Selene and Lester, and, after all the nice company goes away, we’ll go home in the auto.”
“I begged he should keep in his hate—his feet in the—”
“I know! The papers! That’s what little mama wants. Mr. Haas, that’s what she likes better than anything—the evening papers.”
“I’ll go down and send ’em right up with a boy, and telephone for the car. The crowd’s beginning to pour out now. Just hold your horses there, Mrs. C., and I’ll have those papers up here in a jiffy.”
He was already closing the door after him, letting in and shutting out a flare of music.
“See, mama, nice Mr. Haas is getting us the papers. Nice evening papers for Shila’s mama.” She leaned down into the recesses of the black grenadine, withdrawing from one of the pockets a pair of silver-rimmed spectacles, adjusting them with some difficulty to the nodding head. “Shila’s—little mama! Shila’s mama!”
“Aylorff, the littlest wreath for—Aylorff—Meine Kraentze—”
“Mem Mann. Mein Suehn.”
“Aylorff—der klenste Kranz far ihm!”
“’Shh-h-h, dearie! Talk English, like Selene wants. Wait till we get on the ship—the beautiful ship to take us back. Mama, see out the window! Look! That’s the beautiful Forest Park, and this is the fine Hotel Walsingham just across. See out! Selene is going to have a flat on—”