So, after holding open the heavy doors for us, he strode off down town, the bright smile still lingering about his eyes, while we retraced our steps to the shop we had visited early that morning, and then down again to a jeweller’s. The result was a dress pattern of soft black silk, brocaded with a small leafy design, a graceful lace-edged, muslin fichu, and an onyx bar pin upon which three butterflies were outlined by tiny pearls.
“Isn’t he a dear fellow?” asked Miss Lavinia, apparently of a big gray truck horse that blocked the way as we waited at the last crossing before reaching home. And I replied, “He certainly is,” with rash but unshakable feminine conviction.
Sylvia came that afternoon well before dark, a trim footman following from the brougham with her suitcase and an enormous box of forced early spring flowers, hyacinths, narcissi, tulips, English primroses, lilies-of-the-valley, white lilacs, and some yellow wands of Forsythia, “with Mrs. Latham’s compliments to Miss Dorman.”
“What luxury!” exclaimed Miss Lavinia, turning out the flowers upon the table in the tea room where she kept her window garden, “and how pale and spindling my poor posies look in comparison. Are these from the Bluffs?”
“Oh no, from Newport,” replied Sylvia. “There is to be no glass at the Bluffs, only an outdoor garden, mamma says, that will not be too much trouble to keep up. Mrs. Jenks-Smith was dining at the house last night, and told me what a lovely garden you have, Mrs. Evan, and I thought perhaps, if we do not go to California to meet father, but go to Oaklands early in April, you might be good enough to come up and talk my garden over with me. The landscape architect has, I believe, made a plan for the beds and walks about the house, but I am to have an acre or two of ground on the opposite side of the highway quite to myself.
“Oh, please don’t squeeze those tulips into the tight high vases, Aunt Lavinia,” she said, going behind that lady and giving her a hug with one arm, while she rescued the tulips with the other hand; for Miss Lavinia, feeling hurried and embarrassed by the quantity of flowers, was jumbling them at random into very unsuitable receptacles.
“May I arrange the dinner table,” Sylvia begged, “like a Dutch garden, with a path all around, beds in the corners, and those dear little silver jugs and the candlesticks for a bower in the middle?
“A month ago,” she continued, as she surveyed the table at a glance and began to work with charming enthusiasm, “mamma was giving a very particular dinner. She had told the gardener to send on all the flowers that could possibly be cut, so that there were four great hampers full; but owing to some mistake Darley, the florist, who always comes to decorate the rooms, did not appear. We telephoned, and the men flew about, but he could not be found, and