Christopher and Columbus
The twins, who had gone to bed at half-past nine, shepherded by Edith, in the happy
conviction that they had settled down comfortably for some time, were surprised to find
at breakfast that they hadn't.
They had taken a great fancy to Edith, in spite of a want of restfulness on her part that
struck them while they were finishing their supper, and to which at last they drew her
attention. She was so kind, and so like Mr. Twist; but though she looked at them with
hospitable eyes and wore an expression of real benevolence, it didn't escape their
notice that she seemed to be listening to something that wasn't, anyhow, them, and to
be expecting something that didn't, anyhow, happen. She went several times to the door
through which her brother and mother had disappeared, and out into whatever part of
the house lay beyond it, and when she came back after a minute or two was as wanting
in composure as ever.
At last, finding these abrupt and repeated interruptions hindered any real talk, they
pointed out to her that reasoned conversation was impossible if one of the parties
persisted in not being in the room, and inquired of her whether it were peculiar to her, or
typical of the inhabitants of America, to keep on being somewhere else. Edith smiled
abstractedly at them, said nothing, and went out again.
She was longer away this time, and the twins having eaten, among other things, a great
many meringues, grew weary of sitting with those they hadn't eaten lying on the dish in
front of them reminding them of those they had. They wanted, having done with
meringues, to get away from them and forget them. They wanted to go into another
room now, where there weren't any. Anna-Felicitas felt, and told Anna-Rose who was
staring listlessly at the left-over meringues, that it was like having committed murder,
and being obliged to go on looking at the body long after you were thoroughly tired of it.
Anna-Rose agreed, and said that she wished now she hadn't committed meringues,—
anyhow so many of them.
Then at last Edith came back, and told them she was sure they were very tired after
their long day, and suggested their going upstairs to their rooms. The rooms were
ready, said Edith, the baggage had come, and she was sure they would like to have
nice hot baths and go to bed.
The twins obeyed her readily, and she checked a desire on their part to seek out her
mother and brother first and bid them good-night, on the ground that her mother and
brother were busy; and while the twins were expressing polite regret, and requesting
her to convey their regret for them to the proper quarter in a flow of well-chosen words
that astonished Edith, who didn't know how naturally Junkers make speeches, she
hurried them by the drawing-room door through which, shut though it was, came sounds
of people being, as Anna-Felicitas remarked, very busy indeed; and Anna-Rose,