I turned to her, trying to find words, which should fittingly express my sentiments, but she forestalled me with a kaleidoscopic change of manner that bewildered me.
“Enough of horrors,” she said, springing up and giving a little expressive shake of her shoulders as if she were throwing a weight from them. “I’m going to give you some luncheon.”
“Oh, please!” I put up a protesting hand, but she was across the room and pressing a bell before I could stop her.
I thought I understood. The grave of her past life was closed again. She had opened it because she wished me to know the truth concerning the old garbled stories about herself and Dicky. Having told me everything, she had pushed the grisly thing back into its sepulchre again and had sealed it. She would not refer to it again.
One thing puzzled me, something to which she had not referred—why had she married Harry Underwood? Why, after the terrible experience of her first marriage, had she risked linking her life with an unstable creature like the man who was now her husband?
I put all questionings aside, however, and tried to meet her brave, gay mood.
LITTLE MISS SONNOT’S OPPORTUNITY
My mother-in-law’s convalescence was as rapid as the progress of her sudden illness had been. By the day that I gave my first history lecture before the Lotus Study Club she was well enough to dismiss Dr. Pettit with, one of her sudden imperious speeches, and to make plans that evening for the welcoming and entertaining of her daughter Harriet and her famous son-in-law Dr. Edwin Braithwaite, who were expected next day on their way to Europe, where Doctor was to take charge of a French hospital at the front.
That night I could not sleep. The exciting combination of happenings effectually robbed me of rest. I tried every device I could think of to go to sleep, but could not lose myself in even a doze. Finally, in despair, I rose cautiously, not to awaken Dicky, and slipping on my bathrobe and fur-trimmed mules, made my way into the dining-room.
Turning on the light, I looked around for something to read until I should get sleepy.
“What is the matter, Mrs. Graham? Are you ill?”
Miss Sonnet’s soft, voice sounded just behind me. As I turned I thought again, as I had many times before, how very attractive the little nurse was. She had on a dark blue negligee of rough cloth, made very simply, but which covered her night attire completely, while her feet, almost as small as a child’s, were covered with fur-trimmed slippers of the same color as the negligee. Her abundant hair was braided in two plaits and hung down to her waist.
“You look like a sleepy little girl,” I said impulsively.
“And you like a particularly wakeful one,” she returned, mischievously. “I am glad you are not ill. I feared you were when I heard you snap on the light.”