Katie’s voice was lower, different, as she went on: “Then after I’ve brushed your hair and done all those ‘comfy’ things I’m going to put you in a certain, a very special gown I have. It was made by the nuns in a convent in Southern France. As they worked upon it they sat in a garden on a hillside. They thought serene thoughts, those nuns. You see I know them, lived with them. I don’t know, one has odd fancies sometimes, and it always seemed to me that something of the peace of things there was absorbed in that wonderful bit of linen. It seems far away from things that hurt and harm. Almost as if it might draw back things that had gone. I was going to keep it—” Katie’s eyes deepened, there was a little catch in her voice. “Well, I was just keeping it. But because you are so tired—oh just because you need it so.—I want you to let me give it to you.”
And with a tender strength holding the sobbing girl Katie unfastened her collar and began taking off her dress.
“Kate,” demanded Captain Jones, “what’s that noise?”
“How should I know?” airily queried Kate.
“I heard a noise in the room above. This chimney carries every sound.”
“Nonsense,” jeered his sister. “Wayne, you’ve lived alone so long that you’re getting spooky.”
He turned to the other man. “Prescott, didn’t you hear something?”
“Believe I did. It sounded like a cough.”
“Well, what of it?” railed Kate. “Isn’t poor Nora permitted to cough, if she is disposed to cough? She’s in there doing the room for me. I’m going to try sleeping in there—isn’t insomnia a fearful thing? But the fussiness of men!”
They were in the library over their coffee. Kate was peculiarly charming that night in one of the thin white gowns she wore so much, and which it seemed so fitting she should wear. She had been her gayest. Prescott was thinking he had never known any one who seemed to sparkle and bubble that way; and so easily and naturally, as though it came from an inner fount of perpetual action, and could more easily rise than be held down. And he was wondering why a girl who had so many of the attributes of a boy should be so much more fascinating than any mere girl. “There are two kinds of girl,” he had heard an older officer once say. “There are girls, and then there is Katie Jones.” He had condemned that as distinctly maudlin at the time, but recalled it to-night with less condemnation.
“Katie,” exclaimed Wayne, after his sister had read aloud some one’s engagement from the Army and Navy Register, and wondered vehemently how those two people ever expected to live together, “Nora’s out on the side porch with Watts!”
“Do you disapprove of this affair between Nora and Watts?” Katie wanted to know, critically inspecting the design on her coffee spoon.
“I distinctly disapprove of having some one coughing in the room upstairs and not being satisfied who the some one is!”