“That will do, Patience,” her mother said, “if you are going to interrupt in this fashion, you must run away.”
Patience subsided reluctantly, her blue eyes most expressive.
“Isn’t it nice for Hilary, mother? Now she’ll be contented to stay a week or two, don’t you think?” Pauline said.
“I hope so, dear. Yes, it is very nice.”
“She was looking better already, mother; brighter, you know.”
“Mummy, is asking a perfectly necessary question ‘interrupting’?’”
“Perhaps not, dear, if there is only one,” smiled Mrs. Shaw.
“Mayn’t I, please, go with Paul and Hilary when they go to call on that girl?”
“On whom, Patience?”
Patience wriggled impatiently; grown people were certainly very trying at times. “On Paul’s and Hilary’s new friend, mummy.”
“Not the first time, Patience; possibly later—”
Patience shrugged. “By and by,” she observed, addressing the room at large, “when Paul and Hilary are married, I’ll be Miss Shaw! And then—” the thought appeared to give her considerable comfort.
“And maybe, Towser,” she confided later, as the two sat together on the side porch, “maybe—some day—you and I’ll go to call on them on our own account. I’m not sure it isn’t your duty to call on those dogs—you lived here first, and I can’t see why it isn’t mine—to call on that girl. Father says, we should always hasten to welcome the stranger; and they sound dreadfully interesting.”
Towser blinked a sleepy acquiescence. In spite of his years, he still followed blindly where Patience led, though the consequences were frequently disastrous.
It was the next afternoon that Pauline, reading in the garden, heard an eager little voice calling excitedly, “Paul, where are you! It’s come! It’s come! I brought it up from the office myself!”
Pauline sprang up. “Here I am, Patience! Hurry!”
“Well, I like that!” Patience said, coming across the lawn. “Hurry! Haven’t I run every inch of the way home!” She waved the letter above her head—“‘Miss Pauline A. Shaw!’ It’s type-written! O Paul, aren’t you going to read it out here!”
For Pauline, catching the letter from her, had run into the house, crying—“Mother! O Mother Shaw!”
UNCLE PAUL’S ANSWER
“Mother! O mother, where are you!” Pauline cried, and on Mrs. Shaw’s answering from her own room, she ran on up-stairs. “O Mother Shaw! It’s come at last!” she announced breathlessly.
“So I thought—when I heard Patience calling just now. Pauline, dear, try not to be too disappointed if—”
“You open it, mother—please! Now it’s really come, I’m—afraid to.” Pauline held out her letter.
“No, dear, it is addressed to you,” Mrs. Shaw answered quietly.
And Pauline, a good deal sobered by the gravity with which her mother had received the news, sat down on the wide window seat, near her mother’s chair, tearing open the envelope. As she spread out the heavy businesslike sheet of paper within, a small folded enclosure fell from it into her lap.