Pauline laughed, which was not at all to Patience’s liking. “All the same, mind what I say,” she warned.
“Can I help choose?” Patience asked, as they reached the store.
“If you like.” Pauline went through to the little annex devoted to wall papers and carpetings. It was rather musty and dull in there, Patience thought; she would have liked to make a slow round of the whole store, exchanging greetings and various confidences with the other occupants. The store was a busy place on Saturday morning, and Patience knew every man, woman and child in Winton.
They had got their samples and Pauline was lingering before a new line of summer dressgoods just received, when the young fellow in charge of the post-office and telegraph station called to her: “I say, Miss Shaw, here’s a message just come for you.”
“For me—” Pauline took it wonderingly. Her hands were trembling, she had never received a telegram before—Was Hilary? Then she laughed at herself. To have sent a message, Mr. Boyd would have first been obliged to come in to Winton.
Out on the sidewalk, she tore open the envelope, not heeding Patience’s curious demands. It was from her uncle, and read—
“Have some one meet the afternoon train Saturday, am sending you an aid towards your summer’s outings.”
“Oh,” Pauline said, “do hurry, Patience. I want to get home as fast as I can.”
Sunday afternoon, Pauline and Patience drove over to The Maples to see Hilary. They stopped, as they went by, at the postoffice for Pauline to mail a letter to her uncle, which was something in the nature of a very enthusiastic postscript to the one she had written him Friday night, acknowledging and thanking him for his cheque, and telling him of the plans already under discussion.
“And now,” Patience said, as they turned out of the wide main street, “we’re really off. I reckon Hilary’ll be looking for us, don’t you?”
“I presume she will,” Pauline answered.
“Maybe she’ll want to come back with us.”
“Oh, I don’t believe so. She knows mother wants her to stay the week out. Listen, Patty—”
Patience sat up and took notice. When people Pattied her, it generally meant they had a favor to ask, or something of the sort.
“Remember, you’re to be very careful not to let Hilary suspect—anything.”
“About the room and—?”
“Won’t she like it—all, when she does know?”
Patience wriggled excitedly. “It’s like having a fairy godmother, isn’t it? And three wishes? If you’d had three wishes, Paul, wouldn’t you’ve chosen—”
“You’d better begin quieting down, Patience, or Hilary can’t help suspecting something.”
Patience drew a long breath. “If she knew—she wouldn’t stay a single day longer, would she?”