By this time they had reached the topmost landing, where Mr. Ravenslee set down the suit case almost reluctantly.
“Thank you!” said Hermione, looking at him with her frank gaze.
“Heaven send I may earn your thanks again—and very soon,” he answered, lifting the battered hat.
“You didn’t tell me your name!” said she, fumbling in a well-worn little hand bag for her latchkey.
“I am called Geoffrey.”
Hermione opened the door and, taking up the suit case, held out her hand.
“Good-by, Mr. Geoffrey!”
“For the present!” said he, and though his tone was light there was a very real humility in his attitude as he stood bareheaded before her. “For the present!” he repeated.
“Well—we are very near neighbours,” said she, dark lashes a-droop.
“And neighbourliness is next to godliness—isn’t it?”
“Well, I think so, anyway? So, Miss Hermione—not ‘good-by.’”
She glanced swiftly up at him, flushed, and turning about, was gone. But even so, before her door closed quite, she spoke soft-voiced: “Good—evening, Mr. Geoffrey!”
Thereafter, for a space, Mr. Ravenslee stood precisely where he was, staring hard at the battered hat; yet it is not to be supposed that the sight of this could possibly have brought the smile to his lips, and into his eyes a look that surely none had ever seen there before—such a preposterously shabby, disreputable old hat! Of course not!
OF CANDIES AND CONFIDENCES
“Oh!” said Mrs. Trapes, “so you’ve come? Good land, Mr. Geoffrey, there’s parcels an’ packages been a-coming for you constant ever since you went out! Whatever have you been a-buying of?” And opening the door of his small bedroom, she indicated divers packages with a saucepan lid she happened to be holding.
“Well,” said her lodger, seating himself upon the bed, “if I remember rightly, there are shirts, and socks, and pajamas, and a few other oddments of the sort. And here, when I can get it out of my pocket, is a box of candies. I don’t know if you are fond of such things, but most of the sex feminine are, I believe. Pray take them as a mark of my—er—humble respect!”
“Candy!” exclaimed Mrs. Trapes, turning the gaily bedecked box over and over, and glaring at it fierce-eyed. “Fer me?”
“If you will deign acceptance.”
“Candy!” she repeated, elbows a-twitch. “Fer me? Land sakes, Mr. Geoffrey, I—I—” Here, very abruptly, she turned about and vanished into the kitchen.
Mr. Ravenslee, lounging upon his white bed, was taking languid stock of his purchases when Mrs. Trapes suddenly reappeared, clutching a toasting fork.
“Mr. Geoffrey,” she said, glaring still, “them candies must ha’ cost you a sight o’ money?”