"Shall I shut the door?" suggested Joan.
Mary blushed like a child that has been found out just as it was hoping that it had not been noticed.
"It doesn't matter, dearie," she explained. "They know, if they find it open, that I'm in."
The little room looked very cosy when Mary had made up the fire and lighted the lamp. She seated Joan in the worn horsehair easy- chair; out of which one had to be careful one did not slip on to the floor; and spread her handsome shawl over the back of the dilapidated sofa.
"You won't mind my running away for a minute," she said. "I shall only be in the next room."
Through the thin partition, Joan heard a constant shrill, complaining voice. At times, it rose into an angry growl. Mary looked in at the door.
"I'm just running round to the doctor's," she whispered. "His medicine hasn't come. I shan't be long."
Joan offered to go in and sit with the invalid. But Mary feared the exertion of talking might be too much for him. "He gets so excited," she explained. She slipped out noiselessly.