“I’m so sorry to be late to breakfast,” remarked Isabel, following her. “But perhaps it’s just as well, as I wasn’t invited.”
“Nobody was invited,” returned Rose, coolly. “I went out for an early walk, chanced to meet Mr. Kent, and he invited himself here to breakfast.”
“I didn’t know you were in the habit of taking early walks.”
“I’m trying to acquire the habit,” answered Rose, with icy sweetness.
“It won’t be hard,” Isabel said, maliciously, “if they’re all equally pleasant.” She slammed the door as she went out, shutting Rose in the library.
For an instant Rose was angry, then her sense of humour triumphed and she laughed quietly until the tears came. There was no need now to meditate upon that mysterious look in the girl’s eyes, for she had translated it herself.
“The idea,” said Rose to herself. “That foolish little child!” She tried to recall the conversation at the breakfast table, and remembered, with regret, that they had discussed Isabel quite freely. The thought that Isabel might have been listening before she made her presence known came forward persistently, though Rose hated herself for it.
Then, with swift resolution, she put all annoying thoughts aside to dwell, happily, upon the perfect hour that nothing could ever change or spoil. She went into the hall by another door opening out of the library, thus avoiding Isabel, and sought her own room, singing to herself:
“The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn,
The morning’s at seven,
The hillside’s dew-pearled,
The lark’s on the wing,
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!”
Another mongrel had been added to the Crosby collection, so the canine herd now numbered twenty, all in the best of health and spirits. Some unpleasantness had been caused at the breakfast table by a gentle hint from Juliet to the effect that the dog supply seemed somewhat in excess of the demand. She had added insult to injury by threatening to chloroform the next dog her brother brought home.
“Huh!” Romeo sneered, “they’re as much yours as mine. You brought home the spotted one yourself.”
“That was only because the boys were teasing him. I didn’t want him.”
“I’ve never brought home any without good reasons, and you know it. Besides, we’ve got room here for forty dogs, and they’re all fenced in. They don’t bother anybody.”
“Except by barking,” complained Juliet.
“They don’t bark much unless somebody goes by, and there aren’t any neighbours near enough to hear ’em, even then.”
“They do bark,” Juliet put in fretfully. “They bark all the time at something. They bark when they’re hungry and when they’ve eaten too much, and they bark at the sun and moon and stars, and when they’re not barking, some or all of ’em are fighting. They drive me crazy.”