“I think I have found something,” she said. “There are three pairs of party slippers and the toes of them are all stuffed with these.” She handed the doctor a package of innocent looking tablets done up in purplish blue paper.
Callandar glanced at them, shook them out and counted their number.
“You are sure you have them all?”
“I can find no trace of more.”
“Then I think we have a strong fight coming—but a good hope, too.”
Miss A. Milligan stood before the door of her select dressmaking parlours, meditatively picking her teeth with a needle. We hasten to observe that her teeth were quite clean and that this was merely a harmless habit denoting intense mental concentration. Miss Milligan was tall and full of figure with an elegant waist and a bust so like a pin-cushion that it fulfilled the duties of that article admirably. Her small bright eyes set in a wide expanse of face suggested nothing so much as currants in an underdone bun, and just now, as she watched the graceful figure of Mrs. Coombe, bride to be, disappear around the corner, they gave the impression of having been poked too far in while the bun was soft.
The door of Miss Milligan’s select parlours did not open upon the main street, it being far from her desire to attract promiscuous trade. The parlours, indeed, were situated upon one of the “nicest” streets in Coombe and occupied a corner lot, so that a splendid view down two of the most genteel residential streets was obtainable from their windows. The only sign of business anywhere was a board of chaste design over the doorway, bearing the simple legend, “A. MILLIGAN.” Even the word “Dressmaker” was considered superfluous. Also there was one window, near the door, which from time to time displayed wonderfully coloured plates of terribly twisting and elegantly elongated females purporting to be the very latest from Paris (France).
Mrs. Coombe was getting some “things” made at Miss Milligan’s. It had been rumoured at first that she had contemplated running down to Toronto and Detroit, buying most of her trousseau there, but for some unexplained reason the plan had been given up. Doctor Callandar, it appeared, believed in patronising local tradesmen and had been sufficiently ungallant to veto the Detroit visit altogether. Everybody wondered why Mary Coombe stood it. Surely it was bad enough when a man sets up to be a domestic tyrant after marriage. They were surprised at Dr. Callandar—they hadn’t thought it of him.
“It is women like Mary Coombe who submit tamely to such indignities,” declared the eldest Miss Sinclair, “who have held back the emancipation of women from the beginning of time.”
“She looks so poorly, too,” agreed Miss Jessie. “I am sure she needs a change. I should think that Esther would insist upon it.”