“There’s nothing easier than not asking him, if you don’t want him.”
“Yes, there is, when you’ve got a girl like Lottie to deal with. Quite likely she would ask him herself. We must take him because we can’t leave her.”
“Yes, I reckon,” the judge acquiesced.
“I’m glad,” Mrs. Kenton said, after a moment, “that it isn’t Ellen he’s after; it almost reconciles me to his being with Lottie so much. I only wonder he doesn’t take to Ellen, he’s so much like that—”
She did not say out what was in her mind, but her husband knew. “Yes, I’ve noticed it. This young Breckon was quite enough so, for my taste. I don’t know what it is that just saves him from it.”
“He’s good. You could tell that from the beginning.”
They went off upon the situation that, superficially or subliminally, was always interesting them beyond anything in the world, and they did not openly recur to Mrs. Kenton’s plan for the day till they met their children at breakfast. It was a meal at which Breckon and Trammel were both apt to join them, where they took it at two of the tables on the broad, seaward piazza of the hotel when the weather was fine. Both the young men now applauded her plan, in their different sorts. It was easily arranged that they should go by train and not by tram from The Hague. The train was chosen, and Mrs. Kenton, when she went to her room to begin the preparations for a day’s pleasure which constitute so distinctly a part of its pain, imagined that everything was settled. She had scarcely closed the door behind her when Lottie opened it and shut it again behind her.
“Mother,” she said, in the new style of address to which she was habituating Mrs. Kenton, after having so long called her momma, “I am not going with you.”
“Indeed you are, then!” her mother retorted. “Do you think I would leave you here all day with that fellow? A nice talk we should make!”
“You are perfectly welcome to that fellow, mother, and as he’s accepted he will have to go with you, and there won’t be any talk. But, as I remarked before, I am not going.”
“Why aren’t you going, I should like to know?”
“Because I don’t like the company.”
“What do you mean? Have you got anything against Mr. Breckon?”
“He’s insipid, but as long as Ellen don’t mind it I don’t care. I object to Mr. Trannel!”
“I don’t see why I should have to tell you. If I said I liked him you might want to know, but it seems to me that my not liking him is—my not liking him is my own affair.” There was a kind of logic in this that silenced Mrs. Kenton for the moment. In view of her advantage Lottie relented so far as to add, “I’ve found out something about him.”
Mrs. Kenton was imperative in her alarm. “What is it?” she demanded.
Lottie answered, obliquely: “Well, I didn’t leave The Hague to get rid of them, and then take up with one of them at Scheveningen.”