“You ought to; the time is already here when the children should no longer suffer such utter isolation. They must make acquaintances, they must have friends, they should go to parties like other children—they ought to be given outside schooling sooner or later. All of which questions must be taken up by your directors as soon as possible, because my children are fast getting out of hand—fast getting away from me; and before I know it I shall have a young man and a young girl to account for—and to account to, colonel——”
“I’ll sift out the whole matter with Mr. Tappan; I’ll speak to Mr. Grandcourt and Mr. Beekman to-night. Until you hear from us, no more visitors for the children. By the way, is that matter—the one we talked over last month—definitely settled?”
“Yes. I can’t help being worried by the inclination she displays. It frightens me in such a child.”
“Scott doesn’t show it?”
“No. He hates anything like that.”
“Do the servants thoroughly understand your orders?”
“I’m a little troubled. I have given orders that no more brandied peaches are to be made or kept in the house. The child was perfectly truthful about it. She admitted filling her cologne bottle with the syrup and sipping it after she was supposed to be asleep.”
“Have you found out about the sherry she stole from the kitchen?”
“Yes. She told me that for weeks she had kept it hidden and soaked a lump of sugar in it every night.... She is absolutely truthful, colonel. I’ve tried to make her understand the danger.”
“All right. Good-bye.” Kathleen Severn hung up the receiver with a deep indrawn breath.
From the nursery above came a joyous clamour and trampling and shouting.
Suddenly she covered her face with her black-gloved hands.
The enfranchisement of the Seagrave twins proceeded too slowly to satisfy their increasing desire for personal liberty and their fast-growing impatience of restraint.
Occasionally, a few carefully selected and assorted children were permitted to visit them in relays, and play in the nursery for limited periods without the personal supervision of Kathleen or the nurses; but no serious innovation was attempted, no radical step taken without authority from old Remsen Tappan, the trust officer of the great Half Moon Trust Company.
There could be no arguing with Mr. Tappan.
Shortly before Anthony Seagrave died he had written to his old friend Tappan: