26 MOLLY BAWN.
He starts as her voice so unexpectedly meets his ear, and
turns upon her a face from which all ennui has fled.
' Do I ?' he says. ' Then my looks lie. " Enjoying my¬
self " with a pack of small demons ! For what do you take
me? No, I have been wretched.—What on earth are you
doing down there ? You have been hours about it already
Surely, whatever it is, it must be done now. If you don't
come out shortly you will have murder on your soul, as I
'I can't come yet.'
' Then would you let me—might I------'
' Oh, come here if you like,' says Molly. ' / don't mind,
if you don't.'
Without waiting further invitation Luttrell goes rapidly
round, descends the kitchen steps, and presently finds himself
in Molly's presence.
It is a pretty, old-fashioned, low-ceilinged kitchen, full of
quaint corners and impossible cupboards, so high up in the
wall as at first sight to be pronounced useless.
A magnificent fire burns redly, yet Ijarely causes dis¬
comfort. (Why is it that a fire in the kitchen fails to
aftlict one as it would, if lit in summer, in the drawing-
room or parlour?) Long, low benches, white as snow,
run by the walls. The dresser—is there anything prettier
than a well-kept dresser?—shines out conceitedly from its
own place, full of its choicest bravery. In the middle of
the gleaming tiles stands the table, and beside it stands
Such a lovely Molly!—a very goddess of a Molly !
Her white arms, bare to the elbow, are covered with flour
—a little patch of it has found a resting-place on the right
side of her hair, where undoubtedly one hand must have gone
to punish some amorous lock that would wander near her
lips. Her eyes are full of light; her very lips are smiling.
Jane, the cook, at a respectful distance, is half-ashamed at
the situation of her young lady—the young lady is not at all
' Do you like me ?' cries she, holding her floury arms
aloft. ' Are you lost in admiration ? Ah ! you have yet to
learn how universal are my gifts. I can cook I'
' Can you ?' says Luttrell, with a grimace. ' What aro
you making now ? I am anxious to know.'