“I don’t know, I’m sure,” she said, with a pretence of indifference. “I don’t see what he can have to say against it. Bring her as soon as you like.”
“She is not free till seven at night. Perhaps we had better leave it till next Sunday?”
“Why? Why couldn’t she come to-morrow night?”
“It is very good of you. I have no doubt she would be glad.”
With this understanding Waymark took his departure.
“Do you remember Ida Starr?” was Harriet’s first question to her husband when he returned that evening.
“Certainly I do,” replied Julian, with complete self-control. “Why?”
“When did you see her last?” followed quickly, whilst she examined him as keenly as she had done Waymark.
“See her?” repeated Julian, laughing. “Do you mean the girl you went to school with?”
“Of course I do.”
“I don’t know that I ever saw her in my life.”
“Well, she’s coming here to-morrow night.”
An explanation followed.
“Hasn’t he ever spoken to you about her?” Harriet asked.
“No,” said Julian, smiling. “I suppose he thought it was a private affair, in which no one else had any interest.”
“I hope you will like her,” he said presently. “It will be very nice to have a friend of that kind, won’t it?”
“Yes,—if she doesn’t throw one of my own plates at me.”
“Well, how do you like her?” Julian asked, when their visitors had left them.
“Oh, I dare say she’s all right,” was the reply. “She’s got a good deal to say for herself.”
Julian turned away, and walked about the room.
“What does she work at?” said Harriet, after glancing at him furtively once or twice.
“I have no idea.”
“It’s my belief she doesn’t work at all.”
“Why should Waymark have said so, then?” asked Julian, standing still and looking at her. He spoke very quietly, but his face betrayed some annoyance.
Harriet merely laughed, her most ill-natured and maliciously suggestive laugh, and rose from her seat. Julian came up and faced her.
“Harriet,” he said, with perfect gentleness, though his lips trembled, “why do you always prefer to think the worst of people? I always look for the good rather than the evil in people I meet.”
“We’re different in a good many things, you see,” said Harriet, with a sneer. Her countenance had darkened. Julian had learnt the significance of her looks and tones only too well. Under the circumstances it would have been better to keep silence, but something compelled him to speak.
“I am sure of this,” he said. “If you will only meet her in her own spirit, you will find her a valuable friend—just such a friend as you need. But of course if you begin with all manner of prejudices and suspicions, it will be very hard for her to make you believe in her sincerity. Certainly her kindness, her sympathy, her whole manner, was perfect to-night.”