She was very glad when the service came to an end and the stir and rustle announced the departure of the congregation.
At the door she found Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene. She rather expected to find her. They were enemies of old.
“Shall I congratulate you?” asked the formidable person.
Many of the congregation stopped. They hadn’t the courage of Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene, but they lacked none of her curiosity.
“You may, indeed,” returned Mrs. Bennington serenely. She understood perfectly well; but she was an old hand at woman’s war. “My son is very fortunate. I shall love my new daughter dearly, for she loves my son.”
“She is just splendid!” said Patty, with sparkling eyes. How she longed to scratch the powder from Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene’s beak-like nose! Busybody, meddler! “I never suspected John had such good sense.”
“You are very fortunate,” said Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene. She smiled, nodded, and passed on into the street. A truce!
Mr. Franklyn-Haldene, as he entered the carriage after his wife, savagely bit off the end of a cigar.
“What the devil’s the matter with you women, anyhow?” he demanded.
“Why couldn’t you leave her alone? You’re all a pack of buzzards, waiting for some heart to peck at. Church!—bah!”
It was only on rare occasions that Mr. Franklyn-Haldene voiced his sentiments. On these occasions Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene rarely spoke. There was a man in her husband she had no desire to rouse. Mr. Haldene was the exception referred to; he was not afraid of his wife.
They rode homeward in silence. As they passed the Warrington place, Mr. Haldene again spoke.