“Oh, that excuses it, then,” Miss Macroyd said. But she lost the laugh which was her due in the rush which some of the others made to open a window and see whether it could be made to snow in-doors there.
“Oh, it isn’t crowded enough here,” the young man explained who had alleged the scientific marvel.
“And it isn’t Boston,” Miss Macroyd tried again on the same string, and this time she got her laugh.
The girl who had first spoken remained, at the risk of pneumonia, with her arm prettily lifted against the open sash, for a moment peering out, and then reported, in dashing it down with a shiver, “It seems to be a very soft snow.”
“Then it will be rain by morning,” another predicted, and the girl tried hard to think of something to say in support of the hit she had made already. But she could not, and was silent almost through the whole first course at dinner.
In spite of its being a soft snow, it continued to fall as snow and not as rain. It lent the charm of stormy cold without to the brightness and warmth within. Much later, when between waltzes some of the dancers went out on the verandas for a breath of air, they came back reporting that the wind was rising and the snow was drifting.
Upon the whole, the snow was a great success, and her guests congratulated Mrs. Westangle on having thought to have it. The felicitations included recognition of the originality of her whole scheme. She had downed the hoary superstition that people had too much of a good time on Christmas to want any good time at all in the week following; and in acting upon the well-known fact that you never wanted a holiday so much as the day after you had one, she had made a movement of the highest social importance. These were the ideas which Verrian and the young man of the in-doors snow-storm urged upon her; his name was Bushwick, and he and Verrian found that they were very good-fellows after they had rather supposed the contrary.
Mrs. Westangle received their ideas with the twittering reticence that deceived so many people when they supposed she knew what they were talking about.
At breakfast, where the guests were reasonably punctual, they were all able to observe, in the rapid succession in which they descended from their rooms, that it had stopped snowing and the sun was shining brilliantly.
“There isn’t enough for sleighing,” Mrs. Westangle proclaimed from the head of the table in her high twitter, “and there isn’t any coasting here in this flat country for miles.”
“Then what are we going to do with it?” one of the young ladies humorously pouted.
“That’s what I was going to suggest,” Mrs. Westangle replied. She pronounced it ‘sujjest’, but no one felt that it mattered. “And, of course,” she continued, “you needn’t any of you do it if you don’t like.”
“We’ll all do it, Mrs. Westangle,” Bushwick said. “We are unanimous in that.”