“I dined at the Crosbys’ or I might have spent a sleepless night concerning it. There were a great many people there. Your friend, Dermott McDermott, for one. He is coming here to-day.” Her face was illumined by the spirit of teasing as she spoke. “Only,” she went on, with a sweet and instant sympathy, “I am hoping you are not badly hurt or suffering.”
“There is nothing, absolutely nothing, the matter, except the doctor. He is all broken up over the accident, and says I must lie here or somewhere for two or three days to cure a wrench in my back which I didn’t have.”
Katrine laughed as she turned to go.
“I was intending to study some,” she said, looking down at her music. “Will it annoy you?”
A quick, amused smile came to his face at the question, and he looked up with eyes full of laughter as he answered:
“Certainly, I am naturally unappreciative of music.”
“I didn’t mean that,” Katrine explained, smiling back at him as she went along the corridor.
“Miss Dulany!” he called.
She turned toward him, her face waiting and expectant.
“As the German girl said in Rudder Grange, ‘It is very loneful here.’”
“You mean,” she asked, “that you would like to have me stay with you?”
“Nobody on earth could have stated my wish more accurately,” he answered, in a merry, impersonal tone, as though addressing some imaginary third person.
She came back to him, drawing a low wicker chair near the couch and putting her music on the floor beside her. “I shall be glad to stay if you want me to. Shall we talk?” And here she took up the books he had put beside him for amusement. “Balzac, Daudet.” She made a little disapproving gesture.
“You do not care for them?” he asked.
“They are not for me, those horrible realist folk. I like books where things fall as they should rather than as they do; and the poetry where beautiful things happen. Things as they aren’t are what I care for in literature.”
He laughed. “We won’t read,” he said, “and I sha’n’t talk. You must. All about yourself, the wonderful things that you have been living and achieving. You will tell it all in just your own way, full of quick pauses and sentences finished by funny little gestures.”
This was dangerous walking, and he felt it on the instant.
But the Irish of the girl, the instinct to make a story, to entertain, came at his demanding, bringing the old gleam back to her eyes.
“Ah!” she said, deprecatingly. “The tale of me! It would bore you, would it not? It is just full of Josef and work and the Countess and Father Menalis and a few great names, and then more work, with a little more Josef,” she added, with a smile. And then dropping into the warm, sweet, intimate tones he remembered so well, she said, simply, “It was hard, but glorious in a way, too,” she added, after a moment’s thinking,