“I’m not myself,” said the little woman, “but I do seem to take to being waited upon with the most remarkable facility!”
With the first faint light of morning, Kate slipped to the door to find her charge still sleeping soundly. It was eight o’clock when she heard a movement in the adjoining room and went again to the door. This time the woman was awake and smilingly waved to Kate as she called: “Good morning! Come right in. I was wondering if you were regretting your hasty bargain.”
“Not a bit of it!” laughed Kate. “I am here waiting to be told what to do first. I forgot to tell you my name last night. It is Kate Bates. I’m from Bates Corners, Hartley, Indiana.”
The woman held out her hand. “I’m so very glad to meet you, Miss Bates,” she said. “My name is Mariette Jardine. My home is in Chicago.”
They shook hands, smiling at each other, and then Kate said: “Now, Mrs. Jardine, what shall I do for you first?”
“I will be dressed, I think, and then you may bring up the manager until I have an understanding with him, and give him a message I want sent, and an order for our breakfast. I wonder if it wouldn’t be nice to have it served on the corner of the veranda in front of our rooms, under the shade of that big tree.”
“I think that would be famous,” said Kate.
They ate together under the spreading branches of a giant maple tree, where they could see into the nest of an oriole that brooded in a long purse of gray lint and white cotton cord. They could almost reach out and touch it. The breakfast was good, nicely served by a neat maid, evidently doing something so out of the ordinary that she was rather stunned; but she was a young person of some self-possession, for when she removed the tray, Mrs. Jardine thanked her and gave her a coin that brought a smiling: “Thank you very much. If you want your dinner served here and will ask for Jennie Weeks, I’d like to wait on you again.”
“Thank you,” said Mrs. Jardine, “I shall remember that. I don’t like changing waiters each meal. It gives them no chance to learn what I want or how I want it.”
Then she and Kate slowly walked the length of the veranda several times, while she pointed out parts of the grounds they could see that remained as she had known them formerly, and what were improvements.
When Mrs. Jardine was tired, they returned to the room and she lay on the bed while they talked of many things; talked of things with which Kate was familiar, and some concerning which she unhesitatingly asked questions until she felt informed. Mrs. Jardine was so dainty, so delicate, yet so full of life, so well informed, so keen mentally, that as she talked she kept Kate chuckling most of the time. She talked of her home life, her travels, her friends, her son. She talked of politics, religion, and