Mrs. Tennant began to find the remembrance of her delightful tea a little depressing, for, question Kathleen as she might, she did not remember anything about the ladies except a few fugitive descriptions. As far as Mrs. Tennant could make out, people who were of the greatest importance to her had left messages, and yet none of the messages could be attended to.
“I can’t even imagine who the other ladies can be,” she said. “But as to Mrs. Dalzell, she must not be neglected; I must go out and see her at once.”
“Then you will be more tired than ever, and I have not done a scrap of good.”
“You meant very kindly, my dear child, and have given me a delicious and strengthening tea. Only don’t do it again, darling, for it is my place to give you tea, not yours to give it to me.”
The queen and her secret society.
Mrs. Tennant had not been out more than a minute or two before David and Ben came in. Kathleen saw them from the window; she tapped on the window with her knuckles, nodded to them, kissed her hand, and looked radiant with delight. Some boys at the opposite side of the street saw her and burst out laughing. David’s face grew red.
“I wish the little Irish girl wouldn’t make us figures of fun,” said Ben, speaking in an annoyed tone.
The next instant David had opened the door with his latchkey, and Kathleen was waiting for them in the hall.
“Sausages,” she said, bringing out the word with great gusto, “and shrimps, and water-cress, and sardines, besides bread-and-butter galore, and nice hot tea. Maria is making fresh tea now in the kitchen. Come along in—do; you must be ravenous.”
The boys stared at her. Ben forgot his anger; he was schoolboy enough to thoroughly enjoy the delicious meal which Kathleen had prepared.
When it came to an end David jumped up impatiently.
“Where are you going, Dave?” asked Kathleen in an interested voice. She wanted him to help her. She had hoped that he and she would go away to the old loft together, and talk as they had done the night before. But David was firm.
“I am going to the church,” he said, “to practice on the organ. I only get the chance three times a week, and I must not neglect it.”
“David hopes to be no end of a swell some day,” remarked Ben. “He thinks he can make the instrument speak.”
“And so can I,” said Kathleen. “May I come with you, Dave?”
“Some day,” he replied, looking at her kindly, “but not to-day. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
David did not notice her disappointed face; he went out immediately, without even going upstairs first. Ben and Kathleen were now alone. Kathleen looked at him attentively.
“I wonder—” she said slowly.
“What are you staring at me for?” said Ben.