Antonia broke out at once with the passionate sense of defeat that betrays the young. She had invited her best, indeed her only, friend Olive, who was to be abandoned by her family, for the coming Sunday.
"You said I could ask her, mother. I did ask her--you let me ask her.
I asked her first--before Dolly asked Allen--you said I could"—over and over again; but Dolly's flashing silence was more impressive.
Pearl knew that it was not so much a question of justice as of trial by torture. Mrs. Conway would yield to whichever of her children could inflict the most pain upon her, and that, of course, was Dolly. Dolly did not reiterate her position like Antonia. Now and then she dropped a frigid sentence that revealed her argument. Her mother had always told her she might ask anyone she liked for week ends. She had asked Allen and he had accepted. As for Olive, she lived in Southampton—why shouldn't she stay in her own house? It was just as an excuse for little girls to sit up talking all night and steal food out of the pantry and get the whole household upset.
This was shrewd. The last time Olive had come to stay it had resulted in the loss of a cook. Mrs. Conway remembered this as Dolly spoke.
Her position was painful. She had promised Antonia she could have her friend this Sunday, when Olive's parents were away.