MOLLY BAWM. 6
A straggling house is Brooklyn, larger, at the first glance,
than it in reality is, and distinctly comfortable; yet, with
its comfort, a thing very far apart from luxury, and with
none of the sleepiness of an over-rich prosperity about it.
In spite of the late June sun there is a general air of life, a
tremulous merriment everywhere : the voices of the children,
a certain laugh that rings like far-off music, the cooing of
the pigeons beneath the eaves, the cluck-cluck of the silly
fowls in the farmyard—all mingle to defy the creeping sense of
laziness that the day generates.
' It is late,' says Mr. Massereene to himself, examining
his watch for the fifteenth time as he saunters in a purpose¬
less fashion up and down before the hall-door. There is a
suppressed sense of expectancy both in his manner and the
surroundings. The gravel has been newly raked, and gleams
white and untrodden. The borders of the lawn that join on
to it have been freshly clipped. A post in the railings, that
for three weeks previously has been tottering to its fall, has
been securely propped, and now stands firm and uncompro¬
mising as its fellows.
' It is almost seven,' says Letitia, showing her fresh,
handsome face at the drawing-room window. ' Do you think
he will be here for dinner, John 1'
' I am incapable of thought,' says John. ' I find that
when a man who is in the habit of dining at six is left with¬
out his dinner until seven he grows morose. It is a humi¬
liating discovery. Surely the stomach should be subservient
to the mind: but it isn't. Letitia, like a good girl, do say
you have ordereu up the soup.'
' But, my dear John, had we not better wait a little
' My dear Letitia, most certainly not, unless you wish to
raise a storm impossible to quell. At present I feel myself
in a mood that a very little more waiting will render fero¬
cious. Besides'—seeing his wife slightly uneasy—' as he
did not turn up about six he cannot by any possibility be
here until half past eight.'
' And I took such trouble with that dinner!' says
Letitia, with a sigh.
' I am more glad to hear it than I can tell you,' says
her husband briskly, ' Take my word for it, Ijetty, yoi;r
trouble won't go for nothing.'