“Come, come, Kate; it’s the greatest gift of all and you know it. Think! The power to make people laugh and cry, to make either happiness or misery perfectly real!”
“Oh, there was pleasure in it at times,” she admitted reluctantly. “Do you remember my gloves, Dick? John had them.”
“He knew you were in my rooms that night?”
“Yes. I told him the simple truth, and he believed me. How could I help loving a man as loyal as that?”
“It is fine. But Jack was always a thorough man. I don’t blame you for loving him. I call him all sorts of names to Patty, and it is fun to watch her eyes flash.”
Kate gave him a curious smile.
“What’s the matter?”
“I had a happy thought.”
“Probably about that house-broken John of yours.”
“Who’s calling John house-broken?” Patty stood in the doorway, the Angora struggling under her arm.
“Well, isn’t he house-broken?” asked Warrington with gentle malice. “Gentle and warranted to stand?”
Patty, for reasons of her own, permitted him to believe that he succeeded in teasing her.
“Kate, let us be going. I can not listen to Mr. Warrington’s remarks regarding my brother. He treats John as if he were a horse.”
“Just as you say, dear. We shall punish Mr. Warrington by not making informal calls in the future.”
“Wait till I get my hat,” cried Warrington, “and I’ll walk over to the house with you.”
“If you do that,” said Patty, “we shall be compelled to ask you to remain to dinner.”
“Oh, I should refuse. I’ve a telephone engagement between five and six.”
“But we never serve dinner till seven,” replied Patty, buttoning her coat austerely.
Kate laughed merrily.
“If you will ask me over to dinner,” said Warrington, “I’ll tell you a secret, a real dark political secret, one that I’ve promised not to tell to a soul.”
The two women stopped abruptly. The cast was irresistible, and they had to rise to it.
Yet Patty murmured: “How like a woman he is!”
“It simply shows what high regard I have for your discretion. It is a secret some men would pay a comfortable fortune to learn.”
“Will you please come and dine with us this evening?” asked Patty.
“I shall be very happy.”
“And now, the secret,” said Mrs. Jack.
“Between five and six I expect a call on the phone from Senator Henderson.”
“Senator Henderson!” exclaimed the women in unison.
“I shall say but a single word. It will be yes.”
“But the secret! Mercy alive, you are keeping us waiting!”
Warrington glanced around with mock caution. He went mysteriously to the portieres and peered into the hall; he repeated this performance at the dining-room door, then turned, a finger upon his lips.