Her eyes fell before the things which had leaped to his.
Two hours later she found herself alone on the porch with Captain Prescott.
A good deal had happened in the meantime.
Mrs. Prescott had arrived during Katie’s absence, a stop-over of two weeks having been shortened to two hours because of the illness of her friend. Her room at her son’s quarters being uninhabitable because of fresh paint, Wayne had insisted she come to them, and she was even then resting up in Ann’s room, or rather the room which had been put at her disposal, a bed having been arranged for Ann in Katie’s room. Had Katie been at home she would have planned it some other way, for above all things she did not want it to occur to Ann that she was in the way. But Katie had been very busy talking to the man who mended the boats, and naturally it would not occur to Wayne that Ann would be at all sensitive about giving up her room for a few days to accommodate a dear old friend of theirs. And perhaps she was not sensitive about it, only this was no time, Katie felt, to make Ann feel she was crowding any one.
And in Katie’s absence “Pet” had been shot. Pet had not seemed to realize that alley methods of defense were not in good repute in the army. He could not believe that Pourquoi and N’est-ce-pas had no guile in their hearts when they pawed at him. Furthermore, he seemed to have a prejudice against enlisted men and showed his teeth at several of them. Katie began to explain that that was because—but Wayne had curtly cut her short with saying that he didn’t care why it was, the fact that it was had made it impossible to have the dog around. If one of the men had been bitten by the contemptible cur Katie couldn’t cauterize the wound with the story of the dog’s hard life.
The only bright spot she could find in it was that probably Watts had taken a great deal of pleasure in executing Wayne’s orders—and Caroline Osborne said that all needed pleasure.
She saw that Ann’s hands were clenched, and so had not pursued the discussion.
Katie was not in high favor with her brother that night. He said it was outrageous she should not have been there to receive Mrs. Prescott. When Katie demurred that she would have been less outrageous had she had the slightest notion Mrs. Prescott would be there to be received, it developed that Wayne was further irritated because he had come to take Ann out for a boat ride—and Katie had gone in the boat—heaven only knew where! Then when Katie sought to demolish that irritation with the suggestion that just then was the most beautiful time of day for the river—and she knew it would do Ann good to go—Wayne clung manfully to his grievance, this time labeling it worry. He forbade Katie’s going any more by herself. It was preposterous she should have stayed so long. He would have been out looking for her had it not been that Watts had been able to get a glimpse of the boat pulled in on the upper island.