Very lovingly Katy tried to comfort her, putting into her manner just enough of pretty patronage to amuse without annoying Marian, who soon grew calm, and then listened while Katy told why she returned. She feared she had talked too much of her own affairs—too much of his folks, who, after all, were nice, kind people, and she came to take it back, asking Marian never to speak of it, as it might get to them indirectly, and Wilford would be angry.
With a smile, as she thought how improbable it was that anything said to her up in that humble room should reach to No. —— Fifth Avenue, Marian promised silence; and with a good-by kiss, given to convince Marian that she was not proud, Katy again departed, and was soon driving toward Madison Square. She was very happy that morning, for seeing Marian had brought Silverton near to her, and airy as a bird she ran up the steps of her own dwelling, where the door opened as by magic, and Wilford himself confronted her, asking, with the tone which always made her heart beat, where she had been, and he waiting for her two whole hours. Surely it was not necessary to stop so long with a seamstress, he continued when she tried to explain. Ten minutes would suffice for directions, and he could not imagine what attractions there were in Miss Hazelton to keep her there three hours, and then the real cause of his vexation came out. He had come expressly for the carriage to take her and Sybil Grandon to a picnic up the river, whither his mother, Juno and Bell had already gone. Mrs. Grandon must wonder why he stayed so long, and perhaps give up going. Could Katy be ready soon; and Wilford walked rapidly up and down the parlor as he talked, with a restless motion of his hands which always betokened impatience. Poor Katy, how the brightness of the morning faded, and how averse she felt to joining that picnic, which she knew had been in prospect for some time, and had fancied she should enjoy. But not to-day, not with that cold, proud look on Wilford’s face, and the feeling that he was vexed. Still she could think of no reasonable excuse, and so an hour later found her driving into the country with Sybil Grandon, who received her apologies with as much good-natured grace as if she had not worked herself into a passion at the delay, for Sybil had been very cross and impatient; but all this vanished when she met Wilford and saw that he, too, was disturbed and irritated. Soft and sweet and smooth was she both in word and manner, so that by the time the pleasant grove was reached Wilford’s ruffled spirits had been soothed, and he was himself again, ready to enjoy the pleasures of the day as keenly as if no harsh word had been said to Katy, who, silent and unhappy, listened to the graceful badinage between Sybil and her husband, thinking how differently his voice had sounded when addressing her only a little while before.
“Pray put some animation into your face, or Mrs. Grandon will certainly think we have been quarreling,” Wilford whispered, as he lifted his wife from the carriage, and with a great effort Katy tried to be gay and natural.