“Come, Felicia! What are you waiting for! I shall freeze to death!” called the voice from the carriage.
The girl outside of the carriage hastily unpinned a bunch of English violets from her dress and handed them to a small boy who was standing shivering on the edge of the sidewalk almost under the horses’ feet. He took them, with a look of astonishment and a “Thank ye, lady!” and instantly buried a very grimy face in the bunch of perfume. The girl stepped into the carriage, the door shut with the incisive bang peculiar to well-made carriages of this sort, and in a few moments the coachman was speeding the horses rapidly up one of the boulevards.
“You are always doing some queer thing or other, Felicia,” said the older girl as the carriage whirled on past the great residences already brilliantly lighted.
“Am I? What have I done that is queer now, Rose?” asked the other, looking up suddenly and turning her head towards her sister.
“Oh, giving those violets to that boy! He looked as if he needed a good hot supper more than a bunch of violets. It’s a wonder you didn’t invite him home with us. I shouldn’t have been surprised if you had. You are always doing such queer things.”
“Would it be queer to invite a boy like that to come to the house and get a hot supper?” Felicia asked the question softly and almost as if she were alone.
“‘Queer’ isn’t just the word, of course,” replied Rose indifferently. “It would be what Madam Blanc calls ‘outre.’ Decidedly. Therefore you will please not invite him or others like him to hot suppers because I suggested it. Oh, dear! I’m awfully tired.”
She yawned, and Felicia silently looked out of the window in the door.
“The concert was stupid and the violinist was simply a bore. I don’t see how you could sit so still through it all,” Rose exclaimed a little impatiently.
“I liked the music,” answered Felicia quietly.
“You like anything. I never saw a girl with so little critical taste.”
Felicia colored slightly, but would not answer. Rose yawned again, and then hummed a fragment of a popular song. Then she exclaimed abruptly: “I’m sick of ’most everything. I hope the ’Shadows of London’ will be exciting tonight.”
“The ‘Shadows of Chicago,’” murmured Felicia. “The ’Shadows of Chicago!’ The ‘Shadows of London,’ the play, the great drama with its wonderful scenery, the sensation of New York for two months. You know we have a box with the Delanos tonight.”
Felicia turned her face towards her sister. Her great brown eyes were very expressive and not altogether free from a sparkle of luminous heat.
“And yet we never weep over the real thing on the actual stage of life. What are the ‘Shadows of London’ on the stage to the shadows of London or Chicago as they really exist? Why don’t we get excited over the facts as they are?”
“Because the actual people are dirty and disagreeable and it’s too much bother, I suppose,” replied Rose carelessly. “Felicia, you can never reform the world. What’s the use? We’re not to blame for the poverty and misery. There have always been rich and poor; and there always will be. We ought to be thankful we’re rich.”