Harriet and the Piper eBook

Kathleen Norris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about Harriet and the Piper.
I possess.  I have a certain standing in the community which even Mrs. Carter’s madness has not seemed to impair seriously.  The boy and the girl both love you, and you have my warmest friendship.  As for the financial end there will be the usual provision made for you in case of my death and I will make the same monthly arrangement with you that I had with Isabelle.  I mention these matters so that you may understand that your position in my household will be as free and independent as was Isabella’s.  I do not know whether you will consider this a fair return for what I ask, for after all you are giving your services for life to the Carter household—­

“Now, this is of course entirely subject to what pleases you in the matter,” he broke off to say emphatically.  “I merely throw it out as a suggestion.  It would please me very much.  I would draw a long breath of relief to have it settled.  Mrs. Tabor is there—­ stays there; takes the head of my table.  I spent last night at the club; I had cabled Pope—­and expected an answer, but my mother telephoned me at three o’clock this morning to say that Ward and some of his friends had gone out ice-skating.  Ward’s been dropped from his university.  I can’t have that sort of thing, you know!”

“When—­did you want me?” Harriet brought her beautiful eyes back from some far vista.

“To-morrow?” he said, with sudden hope in his voice.

“To-morrow!” the girl echoed, in a dream.

“I thought that if you could meet me at my office to-morrow, I would have all the arrangements made.  Nina is to be at the Hawkes’; I send the car for her at three.  I thought that you and she could go home together to Crownlands.  I’ll have to be in town that night.”

“Home—­to Crownlands!” Suddenly Harriet’s lip quivered, and her eyes brimmed with tears.  “I’ll be very glad to go back,” she said, in a low voice.

“Good!” he said.  “I needn’t tell you how I feel about it, it helps me out tremendously.  Now, about to-morrow, how would you like that to be?”

“Well,” she laughed desperately through her tears.  “We’re Church of England!” She laughed again when he took out his notebook and wrote the words down.

“Once it’s done,” he said, reassuringly, “you’ll see my mother and all the rest of them come into line!  It puts you in a definite position, and although I may seem to be rushing and confusing you now, there is a more peaceful time to come—­we’ll hope!” he added, grimly.  “Here’s Hansen now.  Lovely children,” he added, of the young Davenports and some intimates who were tumbling out of the car, “lovely mother.”

“You’ll not speak of this yet?” Harriet said, suddenly thinking of David and Linda.  “My sister might think it lacked deliberation—­so close upon Mrs. Carter’s death.  I’d rather have a little time, get things straightened out—–­”

“Oh, certainly—­certainly!” She could see he was relieved, was indeed in cheerful spirits, as he gave his furred hand to the children’s mittened ones.  They thanked him shrilly and Hansen smiled warmly upon Harriet as he touched his cap.  Then they were gone.  Linda, watching from the window, thought that the chauffeur’s obvious respect for Harriet was rather impressive.  She came to the porch, and Richard waved his farewell to them en masse.

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Harriet and the Piper from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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