Author's Note: the time has come for me to put my AN at the top again. I know, I said I'd finish by October. and I solemnly swear I will never make a promise again, if I can't keep it.
first, the formalities: the underlined part comes from LMM's 'Anne of the Island'. I think you remember who it referred to there, right? :) the book mentioned in this chapter is Angell's 'The Great Illusion'. the song, which also happens to be the title of the chapter, is 1914 song of Irving Berlin called 'When It's Night Time in Dixie Land'.
now, the pleasant part: I want to thank you for all the wonderful reviews. I lack words at this point, to express how grateful I am for all of them; but you should know that am very, very thankful for all of them!
LOTRlover, thank you so much for 'your continued support' as the ff messages put it. ;-) I wanted to be as nice for you as you've been for me, and work in some Jem and Faith. but it's no good, I'm no good. I'm so sorry for that. I'm always at a loss with Faith; from the first chapter of 'RoI', I always get the impression that she changed much from her Rainbow Valley days- and I feel I haven't deciphered the nature of that change.
Ann, thank you also! it's great to hear that you've been reading my story and that you like Nan and Jerry!
oh, and I know we've already exchanged about ten PMs, but I still want to thank lena- jade here. you were so unbelievably wonderful and kind to me! thanks to you I now know I can follow my own imagination as regarding the third generation in my other stories and it's been wonderful to talk to you about the books in general, expecially since I agree with you in so many points! also, I want to stress here, that the idea of a debate between Nan, Jerry and the Douglases came from you. as well as many others, just as wonderful.
Caz, Evening- I couldn't possibly leave you out! it feels so good to still be getting reviews from you, after such a long time and such an amount of my bad writing! thank you both from the bottom of my heart!
I'm not pleased with myself at all; but at least this chapter is of a more common length! also, if you could tell me- can you see where Walter's behavior in this chapter comes from? or, should I say, do you remember? 'cause if not, I'd have to rewrite it, in case it was confusing.
Had any of the Glen St. Mary's inhabitants happened to be awake and outside at the break of dawn on that late June day, they would quite possibly have been rather outraged at the sight of two grown girls in scandalously short skirts- knees showing!- running barefoot towards the maple grove near Dr. Blythe's house. Even more revolting was the fact that they looked in no way ashamed of their pitiful appearance; quite the contrary, they seemed perfectly pleased, prattling and giggling crazily. Worse still, at careful examination, they would have proven to be the two elder daughters of the aforementioned doctor!
But, fortunately for the incorrigible two, the Glen St. Mary's inhabitants would rather spend their wee small hours in their beds, gaining strenght for another busy day of field work, church meetings and gossiping.
The twins had slipped out of the house to play badminton in Rainbow Valley. It was the surprise which Ken had set up for Nan and Jem's homecoming. Great cities' favors are uncertain and tennis had already been labeled passé in Toronto; badminton was now the recent rage. Ken had brought all the equipment needed and Walter helped him to collocate it in the Valley, making sure he wouldn't hang the net on the slender arms of White Lady. Walter would never have allowed such sacrilege.
They had no proper clothes for the game, so Diana dug out their old sailor dresses. They were, quite frankly, much too short, but it didn't bother either of them. In fact, it gave them a pleasant sense of doing something Mrs. Elliot would disapprove of whole- heartedly; she was a dear, of course, but the number in which her advice and commandements came, made them wish to do just the opposite thing at times. And nobody would see them in the Valley, anyhow.
The grass was still bathed in dew drops at this time of day, and their feet were already completely wet. But Nan didn't mind. If there was any time in the year to have your feet wet with dew, it was in June. And she was exhilarated to finally spend some time alone with Di; strangely, they had not had much time for each other over the past week. It was partly because of Ken who had lately taken to monopolize Nan's time with trips and invitations, and partly because of- Walter. He seemed very somber those days; he tried to evade company and only allowed Di's consoling presence and, sometimes, Baby Rilla's. Nan didn't press, but her heart sometimes fluttered to see his eyes flash with a peculiar shade of pain. She had spoken to Dad, and he had made his best to assure her that Walter was physically healthy. His woes, then, must have been of mental kind, and Nan had initially decided to let Di do what she was best at; comfort their brother. She never asked her sister about causes, just as Di never asked her about Jem. But this time, she felt, any help could be needed.
"This hat Dad bought you is so pretty!" Diana was saying, handing her sister a raquet and digging in her bag for a shuttlecock. "I am jealous, I'll admit that. I think I will go to Mowbray Narrows and buy myself something similar, Nan, whether you like it or not! You can't forbid me one identical thing in my closet!"
Nan laughed and struck the shuttlecock so energetically that Di did not manage to run up to it in time. The hat was beautiful; a modest straw Florentine with an elegant, brim sash of black velvet to make up for the modesty.
"Indeed, I can't and that's for a very specific reason. Dad has bought two of those hats. He hid the other one in his study, so that Mother wouldn't accuse him of favoritism in 'his own flesh and blood', as he put it," this time Nan didn't make it to the birdie. "You daddy's girl!"
Diana chuckled smugly.
"Never tease the status quo, Nan. It is owing to my hair mainly," she sighed with resignation, casting a doleful glance at the unruly curls, which somehow escaped her blue ribbon and bounced on her shoulders with every move, "that I convinced him to let us go to Redmond sooner."
Nan purposefully missed.
"I honestly don't see, Di, how you can run down your hair. It's lovely- it makes you so much like Mother. I wish, sometimes, that-"
"Don't, Nan!" Di cried with a touch of exasperation. "I've had it up to here with everyone trying to convince me it is beautiful. It just isn't, no matter how many people assure me otherwise. And it is an especial rub if you or Walter do it, with that dark hair of yours!"
Nan promptly decided to depart from the troubled waters. Di would never get over her hair, world without end, however lovely it might have actually looked. She resumed the game.
"And, while we're at it, how did you even manage to bring Dad round?"
"Oh, that wasn't too difficult. Dad is such a dear! All I had to do was make him think that he was the one who wanted us to go in the first place."
"Di- ana!" Nan cried with pretended indignation. "How wicked of you!"
Di laughed and sent the shuttlecock into the shrubberies.
"I'm not quite sure how I should take it, Nan. You make a rebuke sound as if it was praise," she waited, as Nan plunged into the bushes. "But, in earnest, it was easier than I had expected because of Walter. He was so detrmined to go- Dad couldn't refuse him that. And who could take care of him better than our two?"
Nan disrupted her search and came close to her twin.
"Di, maybe I shouldn't ask... But I feel I must know, or I'll be sick with worry. Is- everything- good with Walter?"
Diana bit her lip at the probing question, but remained silent.
"Please, Di! I've already spoken to Father, but I still-"
"Oh, you mean that!" Di clasped her hand impulsively. "No, it's not like that. He is getting stronger every day. I don't take him for such long walks for naught, after all! And he's made more progress at Latin than I have, if that counts for anything. Really, Nan- girl, there's no reason for you to worry."
This term of endearment was very rare in Di's mouth, reserved for special occasions. Di was not one to fall for sentiments, so Nan felt she could safely believe her.
"Look, Nan, I can't tell you- I won't- but I want to ask you something. What would you advise someone, who-"
But Diana never finished her question. A tall figure emerged from the trees and waved at them briskly.
"Jerry! Hello!" Diana answered with her usual joyfulness; she had already learned from Nan about the truce, and so she called back her own troops instantly. Nan, on the other hand, blushed a deep shade of pink and knelt on the ground, running her fingers through the grass blades. Di looked down at her, clueless.
But Nan had a very specific reason to kneel, for when she did, her skirt hid her ankles. Somehow, she just wasn't comfortable with them unsheathed around Jerry Meredith. Thanks be that shuttlecocks got lost in the grass at certain times in life!
"A new dress, Diana? Very becoming," Jerry laughed, eyeing Di casually and she answered, just as jauntily,
"Cut it, Jerry! You can see we're playing, can't you? Besides, you and Jem took off your shoes yesterday. Talk about being discriminatory!"
"I can't deny that- but our knees didn't show."
"Neither do mine!" Di flashed exasperatedly. She liked Jerry a lot, but she could never hold her temper around him, with this teasing manner of his. She could never understand how Nan found their talks entertaining. She would have snapped his head off after a few moments. "Tell me rather, what you're doing here so early?"
"Aunt Ellen likes me to check up on their old place," Jerry indicated the house on the hill with a move of his head. Then he turned to Nan, concernedly. "Does your ankle hurt?"
"No, I'm just- looking for our birdie. Di had her head in the game today," she cast her twin a sly glance.
But Diana waved her hand dismissively.
"We can spare one, Ken's brought heaps. We should head for home now, so that we can slip in before Susan sees us like that. Why don't you come with us, Jerry? It's on your way, isn't it? And you know Susan will be more than glad to feed you."
Jerry smiled, pleased at Diana's renewed friendliness. He stood between the two of them and took over the bag with raquets.
"I can't resist Susan's breakfast, not after Jem's serving oatmeal every time his shift was on," he shivered playfully.
Nan would rather have remained as she was- in spite of how cold her feet were getting- but she had to obey. She stood up rather lingeringly. Jerry didn't look; he did not even glance. It should have been relieving- and relieving it was!- but it was also a bit puzzling. He seemed to avoid looking down. Was something wrong with her feet that made them so unpleasant to look at?
It was a strange experience; Nan felt relief and something akin to disappointment. It didn't seem possible to feel two contradictory emotions at the same time, but- it was! She shook her head, as if she wanted to shake out one or the other; she just wasn't sure which one.
In order to hide her confusion, she talked for two. All three of them walked in a comfortable air of companionship, but Diana was mostly silent. When Nan and Jerry got to discuss things, the whole world disappeared for them.
"So, did you read Angell, as I've suggested?"
"I did, just a while ago, actually. Aunt Ellen had told me she had had it in their old library. But it was my second read already, and it left me just as unconvinced as the first one."
"Well, first of all- it's dated at this point. It might have well been relevant fours years ago, but it doesn't seem to apply any longer."
"Fours years is not that long for economy, Jerry! It doesn't change that fast."
"You'd be surprised. It may not seem to change too fast in places like this, but when you see a bigger town, you'll-"
But Nan broke in, sick and tired of all her close ones being so taken with the cities.
"Even if it does, then Angell's points have even more worth."
Jerry sighed and shook his head.
"I'm not quite sure they had any worth in the first place, Nan."
"Whatever do you mean?"
At this point, Nan was walking so briskly, that Diana and Jerry had to trot lightly to keep up with her. She was always envigorated beyond recognition when she had a chance to argue.
"I don't really see how conquest can sap- is that the word?- the economic productivity of the conquested area. None of the colonies seems to confirm Angell here. Also, I don't buy into the idea of interdependence of national economies. Think of the Baghdad Railway. There were many cross purposes there."
"But that's past. The construction is underway!" Nan cried passionately.
"And is that something to be glad about? The Kaiser getting even more powerful thereby?"
Di waved her hand carelessly, feeling that she ought to add something to the animated discussion every once in a while.
"Has Mrs. Douglas drafted you for her army, Jerry? And when is your raid on Germany due?"
Jerry ignored her; it was rather impolite on his part, but she didn't take offence. She knew he was just engrossed. She had her own worries, too, and it seemed to her that her dearest brother's torment was far more important than some distant, vague idea of war! She agreed with Nan whole- heartedly. Wars were a thing of the past.
"Furthermore, Nan, this war could not even be that much about economy- just about sick ambition and greed for power."
"What power can you talk about without economic prosperity?"
Jerry was silent for a while, and Nan felt an evansecent pleasure of having brought him round. But he had an answer- of course he had it.
"Just one detail, Nan- did you notice that Angell doesn't call war 'impossible'? He calls it 'futile', and only that."
Nan opened her mouth- but she didn't say anything. He had outtalked her this time. They walked on in silence, Di still silent and Nan visibly anxious after his last words. Jerry was a bit grim; then he took a step forward, turned on his heel and stood right in front of her.
"Oh, unfurrow your brow, Nan-girl!" he admonished, playfully pretending to straighten the two demure bows with his finger. She laughed and brushed his hand aside. "Let's leave that aside for now. We can get back to it later- with Uncle Douglas and Aunt Ellen maybe? They asked why you hadn't paid them a visit yet."
They had reached Ingleside. Di slipped into the house, leaving them alone. Nan thought with gratitude that her twin had the most tactful way of making herself scarce.
"I will, I promise. I've missed them a lot. I feel an ingrate to say so, but I've missed Mrs. Ellen a bit more than I've missed Mrs. Elliot... But don't tell on me! She would never invite me for doughnuts anymore if she found out."
"But then, Aunt Ellen makes great pies. Ain't no macanaccady!" Jerry winked, taking off Mr. Douglas as only a nephew could.
"And that you may tie to!" Nan, an Ingleside girl through and through, replied facetiously.
For a moment they stood in silence, not having much to say, but also not quite willing to part ways and mingle in the Ingleside crowd, which, by the sound of it, was beggining to gather at the table. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence, anyhow, at least not initially. Because then, Jerry took a step closer and paid Nan a quaint, penetrative look. His black eyes darkened and took on this piercing quality which she had only seen in Avonlea thus far. She had grown used to seeing them laughing- now they had a world of meaning in them, but it was utterly inscrutable to her. Nan felt her heart beating strangely; she felt it to the tips of her fingers. A little shiver took over her shoulders when she wondered what in the world could make her blush under Jerry's gaze. He had not done anything to frighten her and yet, she was very frightened.
It was only Jerry's friendly tone that calmed her.
"You know, Nan, I've missed our squabbles. No one in Kingsport had quite your flair for arguing."
"Why, Jerry, you don't mean to tell me that college girls make such poor opponents!"
"Lamentable," he was succint.
Nan laughed light- heartedly, and climbed the two verandah stairs as she had heard Doc's - or, rather, Mr. Hyde's - threatening growl. Crumble must have eaten his share of Susan's leftovers yet again.
"Well, then, you should come round today and we can quarrel all we want. I'll have read the paper by the time, so I'll be better prepared to beat you! And there's enough noise at Ingleside now, with all of us back, to disguise us," Nan smiled slyly. "You will come, won't you? Susan is making monkey faces," she added by way of inducement.
"Well, I wouldn't want to miss the monkeys," Jerry laughed and thrust his hands into his pockets. "Or our quarrel."
Nan blushed before smiling and hurrying inside. She heard Crumble's pitiful cries; Mr. Hyde must have been giving him a right good licking.
"I must change... Could you distract Susan before I put on something proper? Or maybe, help my kitten first? I think Mr. Hyde is tormenting him."
She ran up the stairs as Jerry sent her a fondly amused glance. Then he went into the kitchen and asked Susan to intervene between Mr. Hyde and Crumble; and so when Nan came back, she found the poor housemaid rather disgruntled, with grateful Crumble coquetting her to let him sit on his lap.
"I say, Mrs. Dr. Dear, it isn't proper for a cat to be around the table at mealtimes."
Nan did her best not to laugh and took the kitten away; and Jerry winked at her surreptitiously from behind Susan's back.
Faith Meredith was sitting on one of the mossy stones around their old banquet board. She was doing something she wouldn't have been caught doing outside their old, dear Rainbow Valley. She was snatching off mayflower's petals- how outraged Nan Blythe would be!- playing the oldest, silliest game of all. At times, a quiet murmur could be heard.
"Loves... Loves not..."
Suddenly, someone covered her eyes from the back. She knew perfectly well who it was; no other hands could be so big and warm.
"He does," Jem said, sitting on the stone next to hers. She dimpled as his hand found its way into hers.
It made her so glad to be with him, alone and so close. It was Jem, her old chum who, as she was wont to say, was always there to boss her around when Jerry could not. Faith wasn't wont to reveal, though, that Jem's bossing wasn't quite as unnerving as Jerry's. She knew him so well- and still she found yet another admirable- lovable- qualities about him almost every day, like gold mines. Faith had heard Dr. Blythe say something like that a few days ago, concerning his wife of course, and had found it very fitting.
Take his red curls; even though he never seemed to have the mind to trim them properly and they often hid his frank, hazel eyes. His ears, the only ones in the Four Winds probably, nice enough to please Susan. Or this look of sheer adoration, which crept up on his face every time he saw her. Faith always made sure she looked her best before meeting him; but he had looked just as delighted when he had found her donned in an old, dowdy dress, decidedly on the skimpy side, Uncle Norman's old handkerchief over her head, shifting tick feather in the manse garret.
She loved Jem so- had always loved him! And it made her almost painfully, deliriously happy to know that he loved her. Painfully, for she was very ashamed for her past evil- doing. What a goose she had been, flirting and dancing her feet off with the Sophomores in Kingsport, right before Jem's eyes! And how blind she must have been not to see his feelings for her or her own ones? Now, she couldn't doubt that he loved her even if she wanted to- and she didn't!
At first, she had been afraid. She had been scared by the thought of losing something of their old comradeship. IAfter all, it was so much easier to fall apart when you were sweethearts than when you were just good friends! Faith had also been unable to confide in anyone and being unable to do anything did not sit well with her impulsive nature. She couldn't talk about it to Una, as her sister was even more quiet than usual these days, and Faith was quite sure that dear little Una cared for someone- and that her feelings were unrequited. Faith couldn't bring herself to tell the Blythe twins about it, either. They had been friends for so long- but she did not know what they would say for all this? And if anything went wrong by some horrid chance... Faith had more than just one friendship to consider.
But then Nan started smiling sagely whenever she saw her with Jem, and Di seemed to be always maneuvering their big crowd to leave them two alone. It felt more and more difficult not to yield, when the whole world seemed in favor- Mrs. Elliot in particular. The rose of love made the blossom of friendship pale and scentless by contrast and Faith gave in shamelessly.
She tilted her head so that his kiss would land on her cheek.
"I've picked some mayflowers so you need not go and look for them," she told him, handing over the bouquet.
He smiled puzzlingly- then produced another posy from behind him. Faith thanked him, her face creased by dimples.
"Faith," Jem spoke, twiddling the mayflowers nervously, "You wouldn't mind doing me a favor, would you?"
She smiled, disarmed.
"Of course not. What is it?"
"Will you go with me to the Parker's dance next week? I'm not too happy to go; I always get bored with Andy and Bill. And since we're allowed to bring partners, I thought you'd keep me company."
Faith blinked a few times- then frowned- then stood up and folded her arms across her chest. It was one thing to have his sisters exchange their all-knowing looks, but it was another to show up at a dance together. And he acted so casual about it!
"You'll have to make a bit more of an effort, if you want me to accompany you anywhere, Jem Blythe," she told him angrily.
Jem stood up beside her.
"So- you won't go with me?"
"Not if you only want me to go, because you expect to get bored," she was determined not to be coaxed over by the pitiful pout of his boyish lips; but it was a hard trial. "Besides, Cora Parker will be there and she will be more than glad to dispel your boredom. And, by a stroke of luck, maybe even Sissy Flagg," she added- quite viciously, it must be admitted.
Jem winced, but then smiled, rather unexpectedly, and she felt her hands being enveloped by his.
"Don't be cruel, Faith."
"Don't be careless," she retorted, trying to snatch her hand away. It was fool's errand, though, as Jem would not let her go.
"I'm not," he protested, curbing her tussling with veritably no effort. "I'm sorry, I've expressed myself clumsily. I didn't want you to go just because I would get bored- but because I knew only you could turn it around for me," he put it very simply and Faith froze.
"Oh," she said and a sheepish expression passed over her lovely face, which was a rather rare occurence.
Jem covered a grin.
"Would you agree to go with me, then?"
She nodded, but was feeling too embarrased to say anything.
"Are you sure?" he pressed, releasing her hands.
"Cross my heart and hope to die," her dimples made an appearance again.
"Thank you, Red Rose."
Faith didn't like anyone else using this pet name except for Uncle Norman, but it sounded very fittingly coming from Jem. He held her hand up and bent, as if he wanted to kiss her hand- then he perked up, pulled her closer and kissed her blushing cheek instead.
"To think you acted jealous of Sissy Flagg," he said smugly, putting his arm around her.
She smacked his shoulder playfully.
"Aren't you a bit too sure of yourself? Should I remind you of Bob Pringle? You know, the one we met on the train? Poor boy, he wrote me two letters, asking about your scowls and glares!"
They walked amidst the dark pines for some time, laughing a good deal, and holding hands. Then, they headed for Ingleside, all lit with lamps and effervescent young people. They were home alone; Miss Oliver was in Charlottetown, visiting Mr. Grant, as usual on weekends, the doctor had taken his wife and Rilla for a visit, and Susan had vanished somewhere. Not without a trace, though; a plateful of monkey-faces lay on the table. Faith took one and looked around for her siblings, but only Carl and Una were around. Jerry, she remembered, had had to drive Mother Rosemary and Baby Bruce to Lowbridge, rather reluctant to take part in their errands. Una was knitting in the corner. Di was doing a good job of heartening up both her and Walter, who seemed to have lost the melancholy air which had been accompanying him lately. Carl was horseroughing with Shirley; and, although they both were involved in their scuffle, only Carl's voice was to be heard. Shirley remained as quiet as ever.
Jem found his way in between the two of them, and Faith sat down in the armchair next to Magog with a girlish snuggle and her lovely, golden laugh. She observed them fondly and only then looked around for the source of noise which filled the Ingleside's parlor.
Nan and Ken were on the piano together, playing four hands. Nan had browbeated Ken into singing and singing he was, though he cringed, knowing better than anyone else how bad he was at it.
'Come down to Dixie Land,
That's the dearest place of all!
Listening to the crickets' call,
When the evening shadows fall,
Down in Dixie Land.'
It was a lovely song; something new, which Faith had not heard before. Ken must have brought the notes. She critically examined the two, sitting closely on one stool. Their shoulders were touching and they both turned their heads to whisper into each other's ears and then laugh at things only they understood. Faith could not help but be a little disgruntled. She knew she had no reason to be mad at Nan- but knowing was very different from feeling! And wasn't Nan sensible enough to know how Ken Ford was with all girls? He was a perfectly nice as a friend; on condition that he remained a friend only. Nan had always claimed so herself; but it seemed that she had quite forgotten.
Jem's laughter rose over the singing voices.
"Nan, for pity's sake, let him stop!"
Nan glared, but Ken paid him a thankful look.
"I never should have agreed in the first place. But I couldn't have another Blythe sister angry with me on just one day!"
"Who was angry with you?"
"Why- Baby! I had teased her a few days ago- just a little!- and she was mad at me. So, on my way here, I bought her a chocolate duck at Carter Flagg's, because I remebered she'd always liked them. And, what do you know, she got even more mad!"
"And you were surprised, Ken?" Faith asked him, with slight disregard. "She is bending over backwards to make us all see she's not a baby anymore and you seem to be the most difficult one to convince of us all. I really feel for her."
Ken looked at her peculiarly, wondering where Faith Meredith had gotten this hostile attitude from. Then he glanced at his watch and stood up.
"It's high time I left- or I will be falling out with the Meredith sisters, too."
"I'll see you out," Nan offered.
The evening was as dusky, velvety and rose- scented as only evenings on the Island can be. Nan walked with Kenneth to the gate, drinking in all the loveliness around them and humming under her breath. He heard the soft, quiet sounds and smiled at her.
"Don't you think it's just like in our song? 'When the evening shadows fall', that sounds like a perfect beginning to a poem. I should drop a hint to Walter."
"I hear no crickets," Ken said solemnly, "But there are dixies here, and they are even so well- mannered as to see out their visitors."
She laughed contentedly, closed the wicket behind him and leaned on it. She usually waited for Ken to round the curve of the road, at which he always stopped and waved. This time, though, he turned around on his heel as soon as he had stepped past the gate.
"I met Alice Parker at the store today," he said abruptly.
Alice had invited Ken to the dance.
"I barely even know them."
"Oh, they seem to be inviting everyone they can from all over Four Winds and Lowbridge. I think Andy is going to announce his engagement- imagine that!" Nan laughed, but Ken broke in.
"What dress will you be wearing?"
"My pink silk, the one I got from Aunt Diana for my birthday. But- just why would you ask me that, Kenneth? Are you worried not to show up dressed alike?" she asked rather impishly, but Ken only smirked.
"No, I wanted to know what flowers to send you. That is, of course, if you agree to go there with me? I wouldn't feel comfortable alone."
"Why don't you ask Ethel Reese to come with you? Or Adela Crawford? Or Rosie Macallister?"
"From the conceit of the Elliotts, the pride of the MacAllisters, and the vainglory of the Crawfords, and Ethel Reese, good Lord deliver us," Ken only rolled his eyes.
He finally managed to win her over and said his goodbies. Then-
"Thank you, Nan-girl," he said quietly, bent over the gate and kissed her cheek. It wasn't anything unusual- it wasn't the first time he had done it- but Nan felt that the kiss was slightly too long to be just a friendly peck. She propped on the Ingleside gate heavily, her hand pressed to her cheek. She was so surprised that she didn't even wave back to him, when he had made it to the bend.
Neither did she notice Di, who had followed them from the house and observed everything from the porch, frowning.