He turned to Katie, smiling.
“You see you don’t have to be afraid any more. I’m a respectable married man now, and it’s perfectly safe for you to work here. Mrs. Graham will take care of you. Run along about your work now, that’s a good girl.”
Katie giggled appreciatively. Her mercurial temperament had already sent her from the depths to the heights.
“The dinner all spoiled while I cry like a fool,” she said. “You ready pretty soon. I serve.”
She hastened to the kitchen, and I turned to Dicky inquiringly.
“I suppose you think you have gotten into a lunatic asylum, Madge. Of all the queer things that Katie should apply for a job here and that you should take her.”
“I didn’t know you ever kept house in a flat before, Dicky.”
“It was a very short experience,” he returned, “only three months. Four of us, Lester, Atwood, Bates and myself pooled our rather scanty funds and rented a small apartment. We advertised for a general housekeeper, and Katie answered the advertisement. She had been over from Poland only a year at a cousin’s somewhere on the East side, and she used to annoy us awfully getting to the flat so early in the morning and cleaning our living room while we were trying to sleep. But she was a crack-a-jack worker, so we put up with her superfluous energy in cleaning. Then one day I discovered her standing with a letter in her hand looking off into space with her eyes full of misery. She had heard of some relative.”
“Of course you wanted to paint her,” I suggested.
“You bet,” Dicky returned. “The idea came to me in a flash. You can see what a heroic figure she was. I had her get into her Polish dress—she had brought one with her from the old country—and I painted her as Poland—miserable, unhappy Poland. Gee! but I’m glad you happened to run across her. We’ll put up with anything from her until I get that picture done.”
Try as I might I could not share Dicky’s enthusiasm. I knew it was petty, but the idea of my maid acting as Dicky’s model jarred my ideas of the fitness of things.
But I had sense enough to hold my peace.
A FRIENDLY WARNING
I know of nothing more exasperating to a hostess than to have her guests come to her home too early. It is bad enough to wait a meal for a belated guest, but to have some critical woman casually stroll in before one is dressed, or has put the final touches—so dear to every housewifely heart—on all the preparations, is simply maddening.
I am no exception to the rule. As I heard the voices of Lillian Gale and her husband and I realized that they had arrived at 3:30 in the afternoon, when they had been invited for an evening chafing dish supper, I was both disheartened and angry.
But, of course, there was but one thing to do, much as I hated to do it. I must go into the living room and cordially welcome these people. As I slipped off my kitchen apron I thought of the hypocrisy which marks most social intercourse. What I really wanted to say to my guests was this: