He was instantly radiant again.
“Do you wish I was goin’ to be there?”
She looked shy, and turned away her head.
“Marjorie Jones!” (This was a voice from home.) “How many more times shall I have to call you?”
Marjorie moved away, her face still hidden from Penrod.
“Do you?” he urged.
At the gate, she turned quickly toward him, and said over her shoulder, all in a breath: “Yes! Come again to-morrow morning and I’ll be on the corner. Bring your ’cordion!”
And she ran into the house, Mitchy-Mitch waving a loving hand to the boy on the sidewalk until the front door closed.
Penrod went home in splendour, pretending that he and Duke were a long procession; and he made enough noise to render the auricular part of the illusion perfect. His own family were already at the lunch-table when he arrived, and the parade halted only at the door of the dining-room.
“Oh something!” shouted Mr. Schofield, clasping his bilious brow with both hands. “Stop that noise! Isn’t it awful enough for you to sing? Sit down! Not with that thing on! Take that green rope off your shoulder! Now take that thing out of the dining-room and throw it in the ash-can! Where did you get it?”
“Where did I get what, papa?” asked Penrod meekly, depositing the accordion in the hall just outside the dining-room door.
“That da—that third-hand concertina.”
“It’s a ’cordian,” said Penrod, taking his place at the table, and noticing that both Margaret and Mr. Robert Williams (who happened to be a guest) were growing red.
“I don’t care what you call it,” said Mr. Schofield irritably. “I want to know where you got it.”
Penrod’s eyes met Margaret’s: hers had a strained expression.
She very slightly shook her head. Penrod sent Mr. Williams a grateful look, and might have been startled if he could have seen himself in a mirror at that moment; for he regarded Mitchy-Mitch with concealed but vigorous aversion and the resemblance would have horrified him.
“A man gave it to me,” he answered gently, and was rewarded by the visibly regained ease of his patron’s manner, while Margaret leaned back in her chair and looked at her brother with real devotion.
“I should think he’d have been glad to,” said Mr. Schofield. “Who was he?”
“Sir?” In spite of the candy which he had consumed in company with Marjorie and Mitchy-Mitch, Penrod had begun to eat lobster croquettes earnestly.
“Who was he?”
“Who do you mean, papa?”
“The man that gave you that ghastly Thing!”
“Yessir. A man gave it to me.”
“I say, Who was he?” shouted Mr. Schofield.