“One of what?”
“Cook’s tourists, if you must know, mother. Mr. Trannel, as you call him, is a Cook’s tourist, and that’s the end of it. I have got no use for him from this out.”
Mrs. Kenton was daunted, and not for the first time, by her daughter’s superior knowledge of life. She could put Boyne down sometimes, though not always, when he attempted to impose a novel code of manners or morals upon her, but she could not cope with Lottie. In the present case she could only ask, “Well?”
“Well, they’re the cheapest of the cheap. He actually showed me his coupons, and tried to put me down with the idea that everybody used them. But I guess he found it wouldn’t work. He said if you were not personally conducted it was all right.”
“Now, Lottie, you have got to tell me just what you mean,” said Mrs. Kenton, and from having stood during this parley, she sat down to hear Lottie out at her leisure. But if there was anything more difficult than for Lottie to be explicit it was to make her be so, and in the end Mrs. Kenton was scarcely wiser than she was at the beginning to her daughter’s reasons. It appeared that if you wanted to be cheap you could travel with those coupons, and Lottie did not wish to be cheap, or have anything to do with those who were. The Kentons had always held up their heads, and if Ellen had chosen to disgrace them with Bittridge, Dick had made it all right, and she at least was not going to do anything that she would be ashamed of. She was going to stay at home, and have her meals in her room till they got back.
Her mother paid no heed to her repeated declaration. “Lottie,” she asked, with the heart-quake that the thought of Richard’s act always gave her with reference to Ellen, “have you ever let out the least hint of that?”
“Of course I haven’t,” Lottie scornfully retorted. “I hope I know what a crank Ellen is.”
They were not just the terms in which Mrs. Kenton would have chosen to be reassured, but she was glad to be assured in any terms. She said, vaguely: “I believe in my heart that I will stay at home, too. All this has given me a bad headache.”
“I was going to have a headache myself,” said Lottie, with injury. “But I suppose I can get on along without. I can just simply say I’m not going. If he proposes to stay, too, I can soon settle that.”
“The great difficulty will be to get your father to go.”
“You can make Ellen make him,” Lottie suggested.
“That is true,” said Mrs. Kenton, with such increasing absence that her daughter required of her:
“Are you staying on my account?”
“I think you had better not be left alone the whole day. But I am not staying on your account. I don’t believe we had so many of us better go. It might look a little pointed.”
Lottie laughed harshly. “I guess Mr. Breckon wouldn’t see the point, he’s so perfectly gone.”