It was not long before Janet appeared, and Jessie with her, the latter having been set down to give a message. The two girls were dressed in the same light black-and-white checked silk of early youth, one with pink ribbons and the other with blue; but the contrast was the more apparent, for one was fresh and crisp, while the other was flattened and tumbled; one said everything had been delightful, the other that it had all been very stupid, and the expression made even more difference than the complexion, in one so fair, fresh, and rosy, in the other so sallow and muddled. Jessie looked so sweet and bright, that when she had gone Miss Ogilvie could not help exclaiming, “How pretty she is!”
“Yes, and so good-tempered and pleasant. There is something always restful to me in having her in the room,” said Caroline.
“Restful?” said Janet, with one of her unamiable sneers. “Yes, she and H. S. H. sent me off to sleep with their gossip on the way home! O mother, there’s another item for the Belforest record. Mr. Barnes has sent off all his servants again, even the confidential man is shipped off to America.”
“You seem to have slept with one ear open,” said her mother. “And oh!” as Janet took off her gloves, “I hope you did not show those hands!”
“I could not eat cake without doing so, and Mr. Glover supposed I had been photographing.”
“And what had you been doing?” inquired Mary, at sight of the brown stains.
“Trying chemical experiments with Bobus,” said her mother.
“Yes!” cried Janet, “and I’ve found out why we did not succeed. I thought it out during the dancing.”
“Instead of cultivating the ‘light fantastic toe,’ as the Courier calls it.”
“I danced twice, and a great plague it was. Only with Mr. Glover and with a stupid little middy. I was thinking all the time how senseless it was.”
“How agreeable you must have been!”
“One can’t be agreeable to people like that. Oh, Bobus!” as he came into the room with Mr. Ogilvie, “I’ve found out-”
“I thought Jessie was here,” he interrupted.
“She’s gone home. I know what was wrong yesterday. We ought to have isolated the hypo-”
“Isolated the grandmother,” said Bobus. “That has nothing to do with it.”
“I’m sure of it. I’ll show you how it acts.”
“I’ll show you just the contrary.”
“Not to-night,” cried their mother, as Bobus began to relight the lamp. “You two explosives are quite perilous enough by day without lamps and candles.”
“You endure a great deal,” said Mr. Ogilvie.
“I’m not afraid of either of these two doing anything dangerous singly, for they are both careful, but when they are of different minds, I never know what the collision may produce.”
“Yes,” said Bobus, “I’d much sooner have Jessie to help me, for she does what she is bid, and never thinks.”