“He’s an awful fool,” said Ephraim. “I should make her pay for her tantrums.”
The card party broke up in confusion. David Brandon took his leave and strolled about aimlessly under the stars, his soul blissful with the sense of a good deed that had only superficially miscarried. His feet took him to Hannah’s house. All the windows were lit up. His heart began to ache at the thought that his bright, radiant girl was beyond that doorstep he had never crossed.
He pictured the love-light in her eyes; for surely she was dreaming of him, as he of her. He took out his watch—the time was twenty to nine. After all, would it be so outrageous to call? He went away twice. The third time, defying the convenances, he knocked at the door, his heart beating almost as loudly.
THE SHADOW OF RELIGION.
The little servant girl who opened the door for him looked relieved by the sight of him, for it might have been the Rebbitzin returning from the Lane with heaps of supplies and an accumulation of ill-humor. She showed him into the study, and in a few moments Hannah hurried in with a big apron and a general flavor of the kitchen.
“How dare you come to-night?” she began, but the sentence died on her lips.
“How hot your face is,” he said, dinting the flesh fondly with his finger, “I see my little girl is glad to have me back.”
“It’s not that. It’s the fire. I’m frying fish for Yomtov,” she said, with a happy laugh.
“And yet you say you’re not a good Jewess,” he laughed back.
“You had no right to come and catch me like this,” she pouted. “All greasy and dishevelled. I’m not made up to receive visitors.”
“Call me a visitor?” he grumbled. “Judging by your appearance, I should say you were always made up. Why, you’re perfectly radiant.”
Then the talk became less intelligible. The first symptom of returning rationality was her inquiry—
“What sort of a journey did you have back?”
“The sea was rough, but I’m a good sailor.”
“And the poor fellow’s father and mother?”
“I wrote you about them.”
“So you did; but only just a line.”
“Oh, don’t let us talk about the subject just now, dear, it’s too painful. Come, let me kiss that little woe-begone look out of your eyes. There! Now, another—that was only for the right eye, this is for the left. But where’s your mother?”
“Oh, you innocent!” she replied. “As if you hadn’t watched her go out of the house!”
“’Pon my honor, not,” he said smiling. “Why should I now? Am I not the accepted son-in-law of the house, you silly timid little thing? What a happy thought it was of yours to let the cat out of the bag. Come, let me give you another kiss for it—Oh, I really must. You deserve it, and whatever it costs me you shall be rewarded. There! Now, then! Where’s the old man? I have to receive his blessing, I know, and I want to get it over.”