“She’s been telling my fortune,” Colin informed them, while Delilah gave orders for more hot water and cups. “It’s a queer business.”
Porter scoffed. “A fake, if there ever was one.”
Colin mused. “Perhaps. But she has the air of a seeress when she says it all—and she has me slated for a—masterpiece—and marriage.”
Leila, standing by the table, touched the crystal globe with doubtful fingers. “Do you really see things, Delilah?”
“Sit down, and I’ll prove it.”
Leila shrank. “Oh, no.”
But Porter insisted. “Be a sport, Leila.”
So she settled herself in the chair which Colin had occupied, her curly locks half hiding her expectant eyes.
And now Delilah looked, bending over the ball.
There was a long silence. Then Delilah seemed to shake herself, as one shakes off a trance. She pushed the ball away from her with a sudden gesture. “There’s nothing,” she said, in a stifled voice; “there’s really nothing to tell, Leila.”
“I knew that you’d back out with all of us here to listen,” Porter triumphed.
But Colin saw more than that.
“I think we want our tea,” he said, “while it is hot,” and he handed Delilah the cups, and busied himself to help her with the sugar and lemon, and to pass the little cakes, and all the time he talked in his pleasant half-cynical, half-earnest fashion, until their minds were carried on to other things.
When at last they had gone, he came back to her quickly.
“What was it?” he asked. “What did you see in the ball?”
She shivered. “It was Barry. Oh, Colin, I don’t really believe in it—perhaps it was just my imagination because I am worried about Leila, but I saw Barry looking at me with such a white strange face out of the dark.”
In Which a Little Lady in Black Comes to Washington to Witness the Swearing-in of a Gentleman and a Scholar.
It was in February that Roger wrote somewhat formally to ask if his Cousin Patty might have a room in Mary’s big house during the coming inauguration.
“She is supremely happy over the Democratic victory, but in spite of her advanced ideas, she is a timid little thing, and she has no knowledge of big cities. I feel that many difficulties would be avoided if you could take her in. I want her, too, to know you. I had thought at first that I might come with her. But I think not. I am needed here.”
He did not say why he was needed. He said little of himself and of his work. And Mary wondered. Had his enthusiasm waned? Was he, after all, swayed by impulse, easily discouraged? Was Porter right, and was Roger’s failure in life due not to outside forces, but to weakness within himself?
She wrote him that she should be glad to have Cousin Patty, and it was on the first of March that Cousin Patty came.