"Yes," exclaimed Jennie, "we own it and it's empty; and it's all been cleaned only last week a'ready. So then you see if we couldn't move out of here perfectly convenient!"
Margaret's hopes rose higher, while at the same time she suffered fearful misgivings lest by any inadvertency on her part they be dashed.
"Ha!" she laughed derisively and most artificially. "You'd never move in there and lose the rent of that house! You can't fool me! I'm not scared. Come, baby dear, other little arm now!" she said, tugging at Daniel Junior's coat. "Fancy your moving out! Ha!"
Her utterly unnatural tone of taunting sarcasm ought not to have deceived even so slow a mind as Jennie Leitzel's, but the woman's rage dulled what penetration she ordinarily had and she was completely misled.
"I'm not trying to fool you!" she almost screamed. "I tell you that sure as you go out the door with those two twins, my brother, when he comes home this evening, will find us and our furniture gone, never to come back! I'll prove it to you, I'll prove it! And we'll take Emmy along, and there'll be no dinner for my poor brother when he comes home!"
"Oh, yes, there will," Margaret laughed quite sardonically. "There will be dinner and there will be two dear, devoted sisters. If you do take your departure, you'll be back soon enough!" Her unnatural tones kept it up, every phrase carefully calculated to force the consummation she so devoutly wished, though inwardly her very soul was sick at the part she played; for deep down in her heart there was an undercurrent of pity for these poor creatures so limited in their capacity for happiness and yet capable of fiercely loving the babies so dear to them all and the brother they had cherished from babyhood.
"You'll see, then, if we'll come back again!" Jennie hoarsely harked back at her. "Yes, you'll see! And you'll see what Danny'll——"
Margaret having tucked the babies warmly into their coach, laughed again devilishly as she wheeled them out to the porch.
"You'll be back! Bye-bye until I see you again!" And with a peal of mocking laughter, so cleverly melodramatic that she marvelled at her own hitherto unsuspected histrionic talent, she disappeared.
And so it transpired that the marriage of Daniel Leitzel afforded one more sensation to New Munich's not yet surfeited taste for gossip concerning their notable townsman; for when o'clock he found a dismantled and disordered house, no dinner, no cook, no sisters; only two sweetly sleeping babies in the nursery and a wife with a face uplifted with a new-born happiness and peace. So deep was the serenity that had settled upon her and upon the servantless, dismantled, and disordered household, that Daniel's rage and grief, his bitter reproaches, his lamentations over the extra expense his home would now be to him passed over her head as though it were nothing more than the somewhat irritating cackle of an old hen.