“Don’t let her do it, Miss Henderson.”

Fräulein Pfaff’s words broke the silence accompanying the servant’s progress from Gertrude whose soup plate she had first seized, to Miriam more than halfway down the table.

Startled into observation Miriam saw the soupspoon of her neighbour whisked, dripping, from its plate to the uppermost of Marie’s pile and Emma shrinking back with a horrified face against Jimmie who was leaning forward entranced with watching.⁠ ⁠… The whole table was watching. Marie, having secured Emma’s plate to the base of her pile clutched Miriam’s spoon. Miriam moved sideways as the spoon swept up, saw the desperate hard, lean face bend towards her for a moment as her plate was seized, heard an exclamation of annoyance from Fräulein and little sounds from all round the table. Marie had passed on to Clara. Clara received her with plate and spoon held firmly together and motioned her before she would relinquish them, to place her load upon the shelf of the lift.

Miriam felt she was in disgrace with the whole table.⁠ ⁠… She sat, flaring, rapidly framing phrase after phrase for the lips of her judges⁠ ⁠… “slow and awkward”⁠ ⁠… “never has her wits about her.⁠ ⁠…”

“Don’t let her do it, Miss Henderson.⁠ ⁠…” Why should Fräulein fix upon her to teach her common servants? Struggling through her resentment was pride in the fact that she did not know how to handle soup plates. Presently she sat refusing absolutely to accept the judgment silently assailing her on all hands.

“You are not very domesticated, Miss Henderson.”

“No,” responded Miriam quietly, in joy and fear.

Fräulein gave a short laugh.

Goaded, Miriam plunged forward.

“We were never even allowed in the kitchen at home.”

“I see. You and your sisters were brought up like Countesses, wie Gräfinnen,” observed Fräulein Pfaff drily.

Miriam’s whole body was on fire⁠ ⁠… “and your sisters and your sisters,” echoed through and through her. Holding back her tears she looked full at Fräulein and met the brown eyes. She met them until they turned away and Fräulein broke into smiling generalities. Conversation was released all round the table. Emphatic undertones reached her from the English side. “Fool”⁠ ⁠… “simply idiotic.”

“I’ve done it now,” mused Miriam calmly, on the declining tide of her wrath.

Pretending to be occupied with those about her she sat examining the look Fräulein had given her⁠ ⁠… she hates me.⁠ ⁠… Perhaps she did from the first.⁠ ⁠… She did from the first.⁠ ⁠… I shall have to go⁠ ⁠… and suddenly, lately, she has grown worse.⁠ ⁠…