22. Chapter XXII.
"It's a wonder," Mrs. Welland remarked, "that they
didn't choose the Cup Race day! Do you remember,
two years ago, their giving a party for a black man on
the day of Julia Mingott's the dansant? Luckily this
time there's nothing else going on that I know of--for
of course some of us will have to go."
Mr. Welland sighed nervously. "`Some of us,' my
dear--more than one? Three o'clock is such a very
awkward hour. I have to be here at half-past three to
take my drops: it's really no use trying to follow
Bencomb's new treatment if I don't do it systematically;
and if I join you later, of course I shall miss my
drive." At the thought he laid down his knife and fork
again, and a flush of anxiety rose to his finely-wrinkled
"There's no reason why you should go at all, my
dear," his wife answered with a cheerfulness that had
become automatic. "I have some cards to leave at the
other end of Bellevue Avenue, and I'll drop in at about
half-past three and stay long enough to make poor
Amy feel that she hasn't been slighted." She glanced
hesitatingly at her daughter. "And if Newland's afternoon
is provided for perhaps May can drive you out
with the ponies, and try their new russet harness."
It was a principle in the Welland family that people's
days and hours should be what Mrs. Welland called
"provided for." The melancholy possibility of having
to "kill time" (especially for those who did not care for
whist or solitaire) was a vision that haunted her as the
spectre of the unemployed haunts the philanthropist.
Another of her principles was that parents should never
(at least visibly) interfere with the plans of their
married children; and the difficulty of adjusting this respect
for May's independence with the exigency of Mr. Welland's
claims could be overcome only by the exercise of
an ingenuity which left not a second of Mrs. Welland's
own time unprovided for.