“T’morrow mornin’, Ann. Hazel’ll sure grow a strong, well girl in th’ country—doctor said so last week—you heard him, Mr. Geoffrey, didn’t you?”
“I did, Mrs. Bowker.”
“And my Tom’s that excited he couldn’t eat no supper—oh, an’ have ye seen in t’night’s paper, Ann, about Mulligan’s?”
“No—what now?” enquired Mrs. Trapes, as though on the verge of collapsing.
“Well, read that—right there!” and unfolding an evening paper, Mrs. Bowker pointed to a paragraph tucked away into a corner, and, drawing a deep breath, Mrs. Trapes read aloud as follows:
It is understood that Geoffrey Ravenslee, the well-known sportsman and millionaire, winner of last year’s International Automobile race and holder of the world’s long-distance speed record, has lately paid a record price in a real estate deal. A certain tenement building off Tenth Avenue has been purchased by him, the cost of which, it is rumoured, was fabulous.
“Fab’lous!” repeated Mrs. Trapes, and sniffed. “Well, I never had no use fer millionaires, anyway—they’re generally fools or rogues—this one’s a fool sure—any one is as would give much fer a place like Mulligan’s—an’ yet, come t’ think of it again—’are warned as all rents will be re-dooced fifty per cent. by order’—yes, come t’ think of it again, what I say is—God bless this millionaire, an’ whatever he is, Ann Angelina Trapes is sure goin’ t’ mention him before th’ Throne this night.”
WHICH SHOULD HAVE RELATED DETAILS OF A WEDDING
“It’s all very, very wonderful, Ann, dear! But then—everything is so wonderful—just lately!”
“Meanin’ what, Hermy?”
Hermione was darning one of Spike’s much-mended socks, while Mrs. Trapes sat drinking tea. “Meanin’ jest what is wonderful, my dear, and—since when?” she persisted.
“Yes, you said everything before. S’pose you tell me jest the one thing as you find so wonderful? An’—why an’ wherefore that blush?”
“Oh, Ann—Ann, dear!” Down went sock and needle and, falling on her knees, Hermione clasped her arms about Mrs. Trapes and hid her glowing face in her lap. “Ann, dear, I’m so happy!” she sighed—her speech a little muffled by reason of the voluminous folds of Mrs. Trapes’s snowy apron.
“Happy?” said Mrs. Trapes, setting down her teacup to fondle and stroke that shapely head, “sich happiness ain’t all because of the rent bein’ re-dooced, by order, I reckon—is it?”
“Dear Ann,” said Hermione, her face still hidden, “can’t you guess?”
“No, my dear,” answered Mrs. Trapes, her harsh tones wonderfully soft, “I don’t have to—I guessed days ago. D’ ye love him, Hermy?”
“Love him!” repeated Hermione, and said no more, nor did she lift her bowed head, but feeling the quick, strong pressure of those soft, embracing arms, the quiver of that girlish body, Mrs. Trapes smiled, and stooping, kissed Hermione’s shining hair.