Both ladies exclaimed in astonishment upon seeing the supposed invalid up and dressed, while Mrs. Seabrook viewed with grave disapproval the tray before her, with its remnants of a hearty dinner.
“My dear! are you crazy that you dare eat meat, potatoes and vegetables—yes, and pie!—with such a fever?” she cried, aghast.
“I have no fever,” said Miss Reynolds, giving her a cool, normal hand. “I am very much better, and I was hungry, so asked Miss Minturn to bring me something nice to eat.”
“All the same, you are very injudicious,” was the severe rejoinder. But the transgressor only smiled serenely and began to talk of other things, while Katherine removed the offensive tray, taking it below, after which she sought her own room.
Mrs. Seabrook’s problem.
Katherine spent a while chatting with her roommate, after which she made some change in her dress, then sought Mrs. Seabrook’s apartments to make her promised visit to Dorothy.
The child was reclining on a couch and propped up by numerous pillows. She looked pale and worn from recent suffering, although, just then, she was comparatively comfortable.
Prof. Seabrook was sitting beside her, reading from an entertaining book, to pass the time during his wife’s absence on her round of visits to the sick.
Katherine flushed slightly as she entered the room, for, try as she would, she had not yet quite overcome a sense of reserve whenever she met her principal. His manner to her was always marked by the most punctilious politeness; but it was such frigid courtesy and so entirely at variance with his affability during their first interview, that she also seemed to freeze when in his presence.
The moment the door opened Dorothy uttered a cry of joy, extending eager hands to her, and, after saluting Prof. Seabrook, Katherine went to her side, a cheery smile upon her lips as she greeted her.
“I’m so glad, Miss Minturn! Mamma said you were coming, and I’ve been watching the door ever since dinner. Can you stay a long time?” exclaimed the girl, in glad tones.
“Perhaps I am interrupting something interesting,” Katherine observed, as she glanced at the book in the professor’s hands.
“Well, papa has been reading to me, and it was interesting,” Dorothy truthfully admitted. “But he has an engagement pretty soon, and is only staying with me till mamma comes back, for Alice is out. Mamma has gone up to see Miss Reynolds. Do you know she is awful sick?”
“She is much better to-day. I came from her room only a little while ago,” said Katherine, “and I can stay an hour, or more, with you if you like. I will go on with the reading, Prof. Seabrook, if it will relieve you,” she added, courteously turning to him.
“Oh, I’d rather talk with you,” Dorothy interposed. “Mamma can finish the story by and by. Now, papa, you can go and leave me with Miss Minturn.”