“Doesn’t one tea spoil the other?” Lorne inquired. “I find it does when I go to your minister’s and peck at a cress sandwich at five. You haven’t any appetite for a reasonable meal at six. But I guess it won’t matter to Hesketh; he’s got a lot of sense about things of that sort. Why he served out in South Africa—volunteered. Mrs Emmett needn’t worry. And if we find him pining for afternoon tea we can send him over here.”
“Well, if he’s nice. But I suppose he’s pretty sure to be nice. Any friend of the Emmetts—What is he like, Lorne?”
“Oh, he’s just a young man with a moustache! You seem to see a good many over there. They’re all alike while they’re at school in round coats, and after they leave school they get moustaches, and then they’re all alike again.”
“I wish you wouldn’t tease. How tall is he? Is he fair or dark? What colour are his eyes?”
Lorne buried his head in his hands in a pretended agony of recollection.
“So far as I remember, not exactly tall, but you wouldn’t call him short. Complexion—well, don’t you know?—that kind of middling complexion. Colour of his eyes—does anybody ever notice a thing like that? You needn’t take my word for it, but I should say they were a kind of average coloured eyes.”
“Lorne! You are—I suppose I’ll just have to wait till I see him. But the girls are wild to know, and I said I’d ask you. He’ll be here in about two weeks anyhow, and I dare say we won’t find him so much to make a fuss about. The best sort of Englishmen don’t come over such a very great deal, as you say. I expect they have a better time at home.”
“Hesketh’s a very good sort of Englishman,” said Lorne.
“He’s awfully well off, isn’t he?”
“According to our ideas I suppose he is,” said Lorne. “Not according to English ideas.”
“Still less according to New York ones, then,” asserted Dora. “They wouldn’t think much of it there even if he passed for rich in England.” It was a little as if she resented Lorne’s comparison of standards, and claimed the American one as at least cis-Atlantic.
“He has a settled income,” said Lorne, “and he’s never had to work for it, whatever luck there is in that. That’s all I know. Dora—”
“Now, Lorne, you’re not to be troublesome.”
“Your mother hasn’t come in at all this evening. Don’t you think it’s a good sign?”
“She isn’t quite so silly as she was,” remarked Dora. “Why I should not have the same freedom as other girls in entertaining my gentleman friends I never could quite see.”
“I believe if we told her we had made up our minds it would be all right,” he pleaded.
“I’m not so sure Lorne. Mother’s so deep. You can’t always tell just by what she does. She thinks Stephen Stuart likes me—it’s too perfectly idiotic; we are the merest friends—and when it’s any question of you and Stephen—well, she doesn’t say anything, but she lets me see! She thinks such a lot of the Stuarts because Stephen’s father was Ontario Premier once, and got knighted.”