“Poor Bradley!” cried Thaddeus, throwing his head back in a paroxysm of mirth. “Hated pie—declared his feelings—and then to be confronted by it at dinner.”
“He behaved nobly,” said Bessie. “Ate his first piece like a man, and then called for a second, like a hero, when you remarked that it was of my make.”
“You ought to have told him it wasn’t necessary, Bess,” said Thaddeus.
“I felt that way myself at first,” Bessie explained; “but then I thought I wouldn’t let him know I remembered what he had said.”
“I fancy that was better,” said Thaddeus. “But about that dinner. What do you say to our inviting the Bradleys, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, the Robinsons, and the Twinings?”
“How many does that make? Eight besides ourselves?” asked Bessie, counting upon her fingers.
“Yes—ten altogether,” said Thaddeus.
“It can’t be done, dear,” said Bessie. “We have only eight fruit plates.”
“Can’t you and I go without fruit?” Thaddeus asked.
“Not very well,” laughed Bessie. “It would never do.”
“They might think the fruit was poisoned if we did, eh?” suggested Thaddeus.
“Besides, Mary never could serve dinner for ten; eight is her number. Last time we had ten people, don’t you remember, she dropped a tray full of dishes, and poured the claret into the champagne glasses?”
“Oh, yes, so she did,” said Thaddeus. “That’s how we came to have only eight fruit plates. I remember. I don’t think it was the number of people at the table, though. It was Twining caused the trouble, he had just made the pleasant remark that he wouldn’t have an Irish servant in his house, when Mary fired the salute.”
“Then that settles it,” said Bessie. “We’ll cut the Twinings out, and ask the others. I don’t care much for Mrs. Twining, anyhow; she’s nothing but clothes and fidgets.”
“And Twining doesn’t do much but ask you what you think of certain things, and then tell you you are all wrong when he finds out,” said Thaddeus. “Yes, it’s just as well to cut them off this time. We’ll make it for eight, and have it a week from Thursday night.”
“That’s Mary’s night off,” said Bessie.
“Then how about having it Friday?”
“That’s Maggie’s night off, and there won’t be anybody to mind the baby.”
“Humph!” said Thaddeus. “I wish there were a baby safe-deposit company somewhere. Can’t your mother come over and look after him?”
“No,” said Bessie, “she can’t. The child always develops something every time mother comes. Not, of course, that I believe she gives it to him, but she looks for things, don’t you know.”
“Yes,” said Thaddeus, “I know. Then make it Wednesday. That’s my busy day down-town, and I shan’t be able to get home much before half-past six, but if dinner is at seven, there will be time enough for me to dress.”