OVER THE ’PHONE
Mrs. Forbes, Mr. Evringham’s housekeeper, answered the telephone one afternoon. She was just starting to climb to the second story and did not wish to be hindered, so her “hello” had a somewhat impatient brevity.
“Oh,” with a total change of voice and face, “is that you, Mr. Evringham?”
“Please send Jewel to the ’phone.”
She laid down the receiver, and moving to the foot of the stairs called loudly, “Jewel!”
“Drat the little lamb!” groaned the housekeeper, “If I was only sure she was up there; I’ve got to go up anyway. Jewel!” louder.
“Ye—es!” came faintly from above, then a door opened. “Is somebody calling me?”
Mrs. Forbes began to climb the stairs deliberately while she spoke with energy. “Hurry down, Jewel. Mr. Evringham wants you on the ’phone.”
“Goody, goody!” cried the child, her feet pattering on the thick carpet as she flew down one flight and then passed the housekeeper on the next. “Perhaps he is coming out early to ride.”
“Nothing would surprise me less,” remarked Mrs. Forbes dryly as she mounted.
Jewel flitted to the telephone and picked up the receiver.
“Hello, grandpa, are you coming out?” she asked.
“No, I thought perhaps you would like to come in.”
“In where? Into New York?”
“What are we going to do?” eagerly.
Mr. Evringham, sitting at the desk in his private office, his head resting on his hand, moved and smiled. His mind pictured the expression on the face addressing him quite as distinctly as if no miles divided them.
“Well, we’ll have dinner, for one thing. Where shall it be? At the Waldorf?”
Jewel had never heard the word.
“Do they have Nesselrode pudding?” she asked, with keen interest. Mrs. Forbes had taken her in town one day and given her some at a restaurant.
“Perhaps so. You see I’ve heard from the Steamship Company, and they think that the boat will get in this evening.”
“Oh, grandpa! grandpa! grandpa!”
“Softly, softly. Don’t break the ’phone. I hear you through the window.”
“When shall I come? Oh, oh, oh!”
“Wait, Jewel. Don’t be excited. Listen. Tell Zeke to bring you in to my office on the three o’clock train.”
“Yes, grandpa. Oh, please wait a minute. Do you think it would be too extravagant for me to wear my silk dress?”
“No, let’s be reckless and go the whole figure.”
“All right,” tremulously.
“Oh, grandpa, wait. Can I bring Anna Belle?” but only silence remained.
Jewel hung up the receiver with a hand that was unsteady, and then ran through the house and out of doors, leaving every door open behind her in a manner which would have brought reproof from Mrs. Forbes, who had begun to be Argus-eyed for flies.