LOVE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
“I’ve been prayin’ for you, dear Noel,” said Peggy importantly, with her arms round her hero’s neck.
“Have you, though?” said Noel. “I say, little pal, how decent of you! How often?”
“Ever so many times,” said Peggy. “Every mornin’, every evenin’, and after grace besides.”
“By Jove!” said Noel. “What did you say?”
“I said,” Peggy swelled with triumph, “’Lighten Noel’s darkness, we beseech Thee, O Lord!’”
“Why, that’s what I said!” ejaculated Noel.
“Did you?” cried Peggy excitedly. “Did you really? Oh, Noel, then that’s how it was, isn’t it?”
“Quite so,” said Noel.
He sat on the sofa in Daisy’s little drawing-room with his small playfellow on his knee. They had not seen each other for six weeks. And in those weeks Noel had been transformed from a blind man to a man who saw, albeit through thick blue spectacles that emphasized the pallor of illness to such an alarming degree that Daisy had almost wept over him at sight.
Peggy, more practical in her sympathy, had gathered him straightway to her small but ardent bosom, and refused to let him go.
So they sat in the drawing-room tightly locked and related to each other all the doings of their separation.
“I wonder you’re not afraid of me in these hideous goggles,” Noel said once.
To which Peggy replied with indignation. “I’m not a baby!”
“And Olga has gone to Brethaven, has she?” he asked presently.
“Yes,” said Peggy wisely. “Dr. Jim said she must have some sea air to make her fat again. So Captain Nick came yesterday and took her away. And d’you know,” said Peggy, “I’m goin’ there too very soon?”
“What ho!” said Noel. “Are they going to let you stay there all by yourself?”
Peggy nodded. “Daddy and Mummy are goin’ away all by theirselves, so I’m goin’ away all by myself.”
“And who’s going to slap you and put you to bed when you’re naughty?” Noel enquired rudely. “Nick?”
“No!” said Peggy, affronted, “Captain Nick’s a gentleman!”
“Is he though? Nasty snub for Noel Wyndham Esquire!” observed Noel. “Sorry, Peggy! Then unless Mrs. Nick rises nobly to the occasion, I’m afraid you’ll go unslapped. Dear, dear! What a misfortune! I shall have to come down now and then and see what I can do.”
Peggy embraced him again ecstatically at this suggestion. “Yes, dear Noel, yes! Come often, won’t you?”
“Rather!” said Noel cheerily. “I believe I’m going to be married some time soon by the way,” he added as an afterthought.
Peggy’s face fell. “Oh, Noel, not really!”
“Why not really?” said Noel.
Peggy explained with a little quiver in her voice. “You did always say that when I was growed up you’d marry me.”
“Oh, is that all?” said Noel. “That’s easily done. I’ll get permission to have two. Whom does one ask? The Pope, isn’t it? I’ll go and cultivate his acquaintance on my honeymoon.”