She did not look up on the instant the door opened, because she thought it would be Adam. When she glanced toward the door, she saw Robert standing looking at her. He had stepped inside, closed the door, and with his hand on the knob was waiting for her to see him.
“Oh! Hello!” said Kate. “I thought it was Adam. Have you been to Agatha’s yet?”
“Yes. She is very much better,” he said. “I only stopped to tell you that her mother happened to come out for the night, and they’ll not need you.”
“I’m surely glad she is better,” said Kate, “but I’m rather disappointed. I’ve been swimming, and I’m all ready to go.”
She set the pot lid in place accurately and gave her left hand a deft turn to save the dough from dripping. She glanced from it to Robert, expecting to see him open the door and disappear. Instead he stood looking at her intently. Suddenly he said: “Kate, will you marry me?”
Kate mechanically saved the dough again, as she looked at the pot an instant, then she said casually: “Sure! It would be splendid to have a doctor right in the house when Little Poll cuts her double teeth.”
“Thank you!” said Robert, tersely. “No doubt that would be a privilege, but I decline to marry you in order to see Little Poll safely through teething. Good-night!”
He stepped outside and closed the door very completely, and somewhat pronouncedly.
Kate stood straight an instant, then realized biscuit dough was slowly creeping down her wrist. With a quick fling, she shot the mass into the scrap bucket and sinking on the chair she sat on to peel vegetables, she lifted her apron, laid her head on her knees, and gave a big gulping sob or two. Then she began to cry silently. A minute later the door opened again. That time it had to be Adam, but Kate did not care what he saw or what he thought. She cried on in perfect abandon.
Then steps crossed the room, someone knelt beside her, put an arm around her and said: “Kate, why are you crying?”
Kate lifted her head suddenly, and applied her apron skirt. “None of your business,” she said to Robert’s face, six inches from hers.
“Are you so anxious as all this about Little Poll’s teeth?” he asked.