The sweet foolishness of it enchanted him (baby love feeds on pap!) “Pitch dark,” he teased, “and lions and tigers roaring around, and snakes—”
“Of course I’ll go, if you want me to,” she said, simply, but with a real sinking of the heart.
“Edith adores it,” he said. “Speaking of Edith, I must tell you something so funny. Last summer I was at Green Hill, and one night Mr. and Mrs. Houghton were away, and there was a storm. Gee, I never saw such a storm in my life! Edith has no more nerves than a tree, but even she was scared. Well, I was scared myself.”
He had stretched himself out on the sofa, and she was kneeling beside him, her eyes worshiping him. “I would have been scared to death,” she confessed.
“Well, I was!” he said. “The tornado—it was just about that!—burst on to us, and nearly blew the house off the hill—and such an infernal bellowing, and hellish green lightning, you never saw! Well, I was just thinking about Buster—her father calls her Buster; and wondering whether she was scared, when in she rushed, in her night-gown. She made a running jump for my bed, dived into it, grabbed me, and hugged me so I was ’most suffocated, and screamed into my ear, ’There’s a storm!’—as if I hadn’t noticed it. I said—I could hardly make myself heard in the racket—I yelled, ’Don’t you think you’d better go back to your own room? I’ll come and sit there with you.’ And she yelled, ’I’m going to stay here.’ So she stayed.”
“I think she was a little old for that sort of thing,” Eleanor said, coldly.
He gave a shout of laughter. “Eleanor! Do you mean to tell me you don’t see how awfully funny it was? The little thing hugged me with all her might until the storm blew over. Then she said, calmly: ’It’s cold. I’ll stay here. You can go and get in my bed if you want to.’”
Eleanor gave a little shrug, then rose and went over to the window. “Oh yes, it was funny; but I think she must be a rather pert little thing. I don’t want to go to Green Hill.”
Maurice looked worried. “I hate to urge anything you don’t like, Nelly; but I really do feel we ought to accept their invitation? And you’ll like them! Of course they’re not in your class. Nobody is! I mean they’re old, and sort of commonplace. But we can go and live in the woods most of the time, and get away from them,—except little Skeezics. We’ll take her along. You’ll love having her; she’s lots of fun. You see, I’ve got to go to Green Hill, because I must get in touch with Uncle Henry; I’ve got to find out about our income!” he explained, with a broad grin.
“I should think Edith would bore you,” she said. Her voice was so sharply irritated that Maurice looked at her, open-mouthed; he was too bewildered to speak.
“Why, Eleanor,” he faltered; “why are you—on your ear? Was it what I told you about Edith? You didn’t think that she wasn’t proper?”