rips of carpet on the boards, a bed, a washing-stand, a painted chest of drawers, a table, with an old looking-glass, and two chairs. "Well, that's all I have!" thought Nora defiantly. But a certain hospitable or democratic instinct made her go downstairs again and bring up a small vase of flowers like those in Connie's room, and put it on the maid's table. The maid was English, but she had lived a long time abroad with the Risboroughs.
Sounds! Yes, that was the fly stopping at the front door! Nora flew downstairs, in a flush of excitement. Alice too had come out into the hall, looking shy and uncomfortable. Dr. Hooper emerged from his study. He was a big, loosely built man, with a shock of grizzled hair, spectacles, and a cheerful expression.
A tall, slim girl, in a grey dust-cloak and a large hat, entered the dark panelled hall, looking round her. "Welcome, my dear Connie!" said Dr. Hooper, cordially, taking her hand and kissing her. "Your train must have been a little late."
"Twenty minutes!" said Mrs. Hooper, who had followed her niece into the hall. "And the draughts in the station, Ewen, were something appalling."
The tone was fretful. It had even a touch of indignation as though the speaker charged her husband with the draughts. Mrs. Hooper was a woman between forty and fifty, small and plain, except for a pair of rather fine eyes, which, in her youth, while her cheeks were still pink, and the obstinate lines of her thin slit mouth and prominent chin were less marked, had beguiled several lovers, Ewen Hooper at their head.
Dr. Hooper took no notice of her complaints. He was saying to his niece--"This is Alice, Constance--and Nora! You'll hardly remember each other again, after all these years."
"Oh, yes, I remember quite well," said a clear, high-pitched voice. "How do you do!--how do you do?"
And the girl held a hand out to each cousin in turn. She did not offer to kiss either Alice or Nora. But she looked at them steadily, and suddenly Nora was aware of that expression of which she h