'See, there is a park in front of us; let us go in there; it will be quieter, replied Stella, as she pressed Vava's arm and hurried her over the crossing into Hyde Park, in which direction they had fortunately strayed. Vava drew a great breath of relief as they began to cross the park diagonally. 'Thank goodness!
In spite of Vava's disappointment at not having 'nursie' at No. 2 Heather Road, she found herself counting the days until they moved. Nor was Eva less enthusiastic. Indeed, her enthusiasm went rather too far; she was always buying something or other 'for her bedroom.
Miss Briggs went away far from satisfied. She thought Miss Upjohn very credulous and prejudiced in Vava's favour, and the unworthy thought came into her head that it was because she was a protégée of the chairman of their board of governors. 'And because of that she won't believe a word against her, said the young mistress to herself.
'Mind! Why, I'm only too glad of a bit of company, and Miss Vava's as welcome as the sunshine would be, for it's what she reminds me of! cried Mrs. Ryan heartily. Mr. James looked up in surprise at sight of Stella. 'Miss Wharton! I did not expect you to-day; it is one of the worst fogs we have had for years. I wonder you found your way, as you are not used to London! he exclaimed.
Put like this, it sounded almost a favour to the chauffeur to let him get his business over first; though, perhaps, if they had had time to think, Stella at least would have bethought her that Brighton was slightly out of the way from the City to Westminster! But Vava's cry of 'Oh do, Stella, do! I should so like to see the sea again, settled it.
In spite of her impulsiveness, she could on occasion hold her peace, and she did so now. 'Of course, if you've changed your mind, and don't care so much for me, now that you know me better, that ends the matter; we must go on living in our barracks, and you in your dirty lodgings! Eva cried, vexed at Vava's silence.
And if the girl had overheard it all, the worst she could think was that Vava's sister was proud, and that she thought herself superior to the pupils of the City School for Girls, which last, Stella privately thought, they could see for themselves. But Vava did not forget it, and looked very gloomy as she walked along, her eyes looking straight in front of her, not seeing any one.
Partly to please Vava, and partly because she dreaded facing a room full of young men who stared at her in too open admiration, she accepted Vava's offer, and went up the steps of Murchison Limited protected by her sister. Mr. Murchison had not arrived, and Stella was requested to take a seat on a bench in the passage by a young clerk to whom she told her business.
To Vava's astonishment, Doreen did not answer her, but appeared not to have heard, and called out in her loud way to two girls who were on the other side of the road. It took a good deal to offend Vava, but this morning she felt decidedly ruffled; and as she did not particularly care for the new-comers, she walked on alone in a slightly aggrieved mood.
The Dummy uttered one of his abortive sounds, much like that of an angry puma, contorted his face, and put his hand above his head, so that I had a very vivid suggestion of the lady, her sloping chin and her hat, at which all Papeete laughed. Vava's gesticulations and grimaces were unerring cartoons without paper or ink. If one could have seen him draw one-self, one's pride would have tumbled.