Christine has just delivered a baby and Amanda
was up all night in attendance as a nurse. She
is staying at her sister's home and has invited
John over for dinner...
John arrived at Christine's place with
military precision at six o'clock sharp. "You
look refreshed," he remarked, as Amanda took
his coat. "Sleep well?"
"I did all right.... How have you spent
"Watching the clock, mostly."
"John..." She led the way to the kitchen.
"I did go over to the falls."
"The one with the Indian name."
"That's a pretty spot. I'm sorry I missed
out on that."
John sat down at the table while Amanda
finished grating a cabbage. "And I walked
around downtown a little."
"The other one."
"So you've just come from the falls. It's
just over here."
"Yes. Actually, I got there two hours ago.
I've been killing time in the park since."
"If I'd known, you could have come sooner.
I've been up for an hour anyway."
"Oh, well. Is Richard still at the hospital?"
"He was home for a while. He left a note
saying he was going back."
"Did the others get away yesterday?"
"Olivia lives in town. Virginia was planning
to leave today. She may have lingered to see
the baby. I'm afraid to phone Mother's to find
out. I don't know who might answer."
"A new addition to the family might provide
a welcome diversion."
"Let's hope so."
"How does your lip feel?"
"It's not sore anymore. It just looks hideous.
When people ask, I tell them I bit it. In a way, I
did - with a little help."
"You're getting along fine with Richard now."
"Richard has never been the problem the other
two have. Virginia and Livy had to marry such
"Can I help you some way?" asked John, feeling
a little too idle. "I could set the table."
"We're not eating here," replied Amanda,
mildly impatient with his relentless humility.
"I've already set the dining room table.... You
could take these things in." She placed a salad
and a basket of rolls in front of him.
John found the other table set meticulously.
And he could see that Amanda was preparing no
ordinary meal in the kitchen. She must have
started more than an hour before. He wondered
how much trouble she would have gone to had she
The dining room opened onto the parlor. John
spied a grand piano therein. He propped the top
open and tested the keys, finding their weight to
his liking and the instrument to be in proper tune.
At the piano
The previous day