“Fifi, did you take your syrup before supper? Well, go and take it this minute.”
“Mother, it doesn’t do any good.”
“The doctor gave it to you, my child, and it’s going to make you better soon.”
Sharlee followed Fifi out with troubled eyes. However, Mrs. Paynter at once drew her back to the matter in hand.
“Sharlee, do you know what would be the very way to settle this little difficulty? To write him a formal, businesslike letter. We’ll—”
“No, I’ve thought of that, Aunt Jennie, and I don’t believe it’s the way. A letter couldn’t get to the bottom of the matter. You see, we want to find out something about this man, and why he isn’t paying, and whether there is reason to think he can and will pay. Besides, I think he needs a talking to on general principles.”
“Well—but how are you going to do it, my dear?”
“Play a Fabian game. Wait!—be stealthy and wait! If he doesn’t come out of hiding to-night, I’ll return for him to-morrow. I’ll keep on coming, night after night, night after night, n—Some one’s knocking—“.
“Come in,” said Mrs. Paynter, looking up.
The door leading into the hail opened, and the man himself stood upon the threshold, looking at them absently.
“May I have some supper, Mrs. Paynter? I was closely engaged and failed to notice the time.”
Sharlee arose. “Certainly. I’ll get you some at once,” she answered innocently enough. But to herself she was saying: “The Lord has delivered him into my hand.”
Encounter between Charlotte Lee Weyland, a Landlady’s Agent, and Doctor Queed, a Young Man who wouldn’t pay his Board.
Sharlee glanced at Mrs. Paynter, who caught herself and said: “Mr. Queed, my niece—Miss Weyland.”
But over the odious phrase, “my business woman,” her lips boggled and balked; not to save her life could she bring herself to damn her own niece with such an introduction.
Noticing the omission and looking through the reasons for it as through window-glass, Sharlee smothered a laugh, and bowed. Mr. Queed bowed, but did not laugh or even smile. He drew up a chair at his usual place and sat down. As by an involuntary reflex, his left hand dropped toward his coat-pocket, whence the top edges of a book could be described protruding. Mrs. Paynter moved vaguely toward the door. As for her business woman, she made at once for the kitchen, where Emma and her faithful co-worker and mother, Laura, rose from their supper to assist her. With her own hands the girl cut a piece of the Porterhouse for Mr. Queed. Creamed potatoes, two large spoonfuls, were added; two rolls; some batterbread; coffee, which had to be diluted with a little hot water to make out the full cup; butter; damson preserves in a saucer: all of which duly set forth and arranged on a shiny black “waiter.”