She was glad to get back to her room. As she settled down among her pillows, she had a great sense of adventure, as if she had travelled far in a few moments.
As a matter of fact, she had made her first real excursion into the land of romance. She found her thoughts galloping.
At the foot of the bed her silver Persian, Polly Ann, lay curled on her own gray blanket.
“Polly Ann,” Jean said, “if he doesn’t come, I shall hate myself for writing that note.”
Polly Ann surveyed her sleepily.
“But it would serve me right if he didn’t, Polly Ann.”
She turned off the light and tried to sleep. Downstairs the telephone rang. It rang, too, in Hilda’s room. Hilda’s door opened and shut. She came across the hall and tapped on Jean’s door. “May I come in?”
“Your father has just telephoned,” Hilda said from the threshold, “that General Drake’s nurse is not well, and will have to be taken off the case. I shall have to go in her place. There is a great shortage at the hospital. Will you be afraid to stay alone, or shall I wake up Ellen and have her sleep on the couch in your dressing room?”
“Of course I am not afraid, Hilda. Nothing can happen until father comes back.”
As Hilda went away, Jean had a delicious feeling of detachment. She would be alone in the house with her thoughts of Derry.
She got out of bed to say her prayers. With something of a thrill she prayed for Derry’s father. She was not conscious as she made her petitions of any ulterior motive. Yet a placated Providence would, she felt sure, see that the General’s sickness should not frustrate the plans which she had quite daringly made for his son.
THE SHADOWED ROOM
Derry had dined that night with his cousin, Margaret Morgan. Margaret’s husband was somewhere in France with Pershing’s divisions. Margaret was to have news of him this evening, brought by a young English officer, Dawson Hewes, who had been wounded at Ypres, and who had come on a recruiting mission, among his countrymen in America.
The only other guest was to be Drusilla Gray.
Derry had gone over early to have the twilight hour with Margaret’s children. There was Theodore, the boy, and Margaret-Mary, on the edge of three. They had their supper at five in the nursery, and after that there was always the story hour, with nurse safely downstairs for her dinner, their mother, lovely in a low-necked gown, and father coming in at the end. For several months their father had not come, and the best they could do was to kiss his picture in the frame with the eagle on it, to put flowers in front of it, and to say their little prayers for the safety of men in battle.
It was Cousin Derry who dropped in now at the evening hour. He was a famous story-teller, and they always welcomed him uproariously.