“Cry!” indignantly. “I n—never cry.”
“Well, try it for a change. I believe it is strongly recommended and—don’t go away. Please.”
“I had no idea I was going to be silly,” said Desire after a moment, in an annoyed voice.
“It usually comes unexpectedly. Probably you are tired.”
Desire wiped her eyes with businesslike thoroughness.
“No. I’m not. I’m suppressed. Do you remember what you said about suppressed emotion the other day? Well, I’m like that, and it’s your fault. You bring me to this beautiful home and you never, never once, allow me to thank you properly—oh, I’m not going to do it, so don’t look frightened. But one feels so safe here. Benis, it’s years and years since I felt just safe.”
“I know. I swear every time I think of it”
“Then you can guess a little of what it means?”
Their hands were very close upon the window-sill.
“As a psychologist—” began the professor.
“Oh—No!” murmured Desire.
Their hands almost touched.
And just at that moment Aunt Caroline came in.
“Are you there, Benis?” asked Aunt Caroline unnecessarily. “I wish you would come in and take—oh, I did not mean you to come in through the window. If Olive saw you! But a Spence has no idea of dignity. Now that you are in, I wish you would take Desire up to your room. I wired Olive to prepare the west room. It is grey and pink, so nice for Desire who is somewhat pale. The bed is very comfortable, too, and large. But, of course, if you prefer any other room you will change. Desire, my dear, it is your home, I do not forget that. I have had your bags carried up. Benis can manage his own.”
If Desire were pale naturally, she was more than pale now. Her frightened eyes fluttered to her husband’s face and fluttered away again. Why had she never thought of this! Sheer panic held her quiet in the straight-backed chair.
But Spence, without seeming to notice, had seen and understood her startled eyes.
“Thanks, Aunt,” he said cheerfully. “Of course desire must make her own choice. But if she takes my tip she will stay where you’ve put her. It’s a jolly room. As for me, I’m going up to my old diggings— thought I’d told you.”
Aunt Caroline’s remark was not a question. It was an explosion.
Spence dropped his bantering manner.
“My dear Aunt. I hate to disturb your arrangements with my eccentricities. But insomnia is a hard master. I must sleep in my old room. We’ll consider that settled.”
“Humph!” said Aunt Caroline.
Like the house, she was somewhat old fashioned.
Tea had been laid on the west lawn under the maples.