“No, I have not yet,” replied Mrs. Morris, preceding them to the door and opening it for them, “but I intend to do so very soon. I have been pretty busy house-cleaning since they came, and that is only two weeks ago, but I am going to call.”
“I think it is one’s duty to call on new-comers, with a view to their church-going, if nothing else,” said Mrs. Van Dorn, with a virtuous air.
“So do I,” said Mrs. Lee.
“Good-afternoon,” said Mrs. Van Dorn. “What a beautiful day it is!”
Both ladies bade Mrs. Morris good-afternoon and she returned the salutation with unction. Both ladies looked fascinatedly to the last at the black smooch on her cheek as they backed out.
“I thought I should burst right out laughing every time I looked at her, in spite of myself,” whispered Mrs. Lee, as they passed down the walk.
“So did I.”
“And no collar on!”
“Yes. She must have been house-cleaning.”
“Yes. Well, I don’t want to say disagreeable things, but really it doesn’t seem to me that I would have been house-cleaning such an afternoon as this, when people were likely to be out calling.”
“Well, I know I would not,” said Mrs. Van Dorn, decidedly. “I should have done what I could in the morning, and left what I couldn’t do till next day.”
“So should I.”
Samson Rawdy stood at the coach-door, and both ladies stepped in. Then he stood waiting expectantly for orders. The ladies looked at each other.
“Where shall we go next?” asked Mrs. Lee.
“Well, I don’t know,” said Mrs. Van Dorn, hesitatingly. “We were going to Mrs. Fairfield’s next, but I am afraid there won’t be time if—”
“It really seems to me that we ought to go to call on those new people,” said Mrs. Lee.
“Well, I think so too. I suppose there would be time if Mrs. Fairfield wasn’t at home, and it is such a lovely day I doubt if she is, and it is on the way to the Carrolls’.” She spoke with sudden decision to Samson Rawdy. “Drive to Mr. Andrew Fairfield’s, and as fast as you can, please.” Then she and Mrs. Lee leaned back as the coach whirled out of the Morris grounds.
It was only a short time before they wound swiftly around the small curve of drive before the Fairfield house. “There is no need of both of us getting out,” said Mrs. Van Dorn.
Mrs. Van Dorn alighted and went swiftly with a tiptoeing effect upon the piazza-steps. She was seen to touch the bell. She waited a short space, and then she did not touch it again. She tucked the cards under the door-step, and hurried back to the carriage.
“I knew she wasn’t at home,” said she, in a whisper, “it is such a lovely day.” She turned to Samson Rawdy, who stood holding open the coach-door. “Now you may drive to those new people who have moved into the Ranger place,” said she, “Mrs. Carroll’s.”