It was probable Major Darrett would relieve one of the officers at the Arsenal. He touched it lightly. “Should fate—that part of it dwelling in Washington—waft me to your Island, Katie Jones, I foresee a summer to compensate me for all the hard, cruel, lonely years.”
Kate smiled knowingly; not that she actually knew much to be knowing about.
She wondered why she did not disapprove of Major Darrett. Certain she was that some of the things which had kept his years from being hard, cruel, and lonely were in the category for disapproval. But he managed them so well; one could not but admire his deftness, and admiration was weakening to disapproval. One disapproved of things which offended one, and in this instance the results of the things one knew one should disapprove were so far from offensive that one let it go at smiling knowingly, mildly disapproving of one’s self for not disapproving.
Ann had not responded enthusiastically to Katie’s drawing of Major Darrett. She had not seemed to grasp the idea that much was forgiven the very charming; that ordinary standards were not rigidly applied to the extraordinarily fascinating. When Katie was laughingly telling of one of the Major’s most interesting flirtations Ann’s eyes had seemed to crouch back in that queer way they had. Katie had had an odd sense of Ann’s disapproving of her—disapproving of her for her not disapproving of him. More than once Ann had given her that sense of being disapproved of.
As with all things in the universe just then, he was a new angle back to Ann. If he were to come there—? For Major Darrett would not at all disapprove of those eyes of Ann’s. And yet his own eyes would see more than Wayne and Harry Prescott had seen. Major Darrett had been little on the frontier, but much in the drawing-room; he had never led up San Juan hill, but he had led many a cotillion. He had had that form of military training which makes society favorites. As to Ann, he would have the feminine “specs” and the masculine delight at one and the same time. What of that union?
Katie’s eyes began to dance. She hoped he would come. He would be a foe worthy her steel. She would have to fix up all her fortifications—look well to her ammunition. Whatever might be held against Major Darrett it could not be said he was not worthy one’s cleverest fabrications. But the triumph of holding one’s own with a veteran!
Then of a sudden she wondered what the man who mended the boats would think of the Major.
Before she had finished her writing Wayne and Worth came up on the porch. The little boy had been over at the shops with his father.
“Father,” he was saying, imagination under the stimulus of things he had been seeing, “I suppose our gun will kill ’bout forty thousand million folks—won’t it, father?”
“Why no, son, I hope it’s not going to be such a beastly gun as that,” laughed Captain Jones.