Just then a hullabaloo erupted outside. Men shouted. Horses neighed. A dog barked.
In the kitchen, Gerta shouted, “Frau Vilcox, Herr . . .“ But a cat squalling, a dog baying, and a man swearing drowned out the rest of what she said.
As Mama smoothed her hair and smiled, Minty sprang up from her chair. “What’s going on, Mama?” Minty asked just before Sergeant the cat sprinted into the dining room and sailed onto the table. As he sprang for the plate rail, over went the bottle of rosewater. There was no help for the scent streaming across the oilcloth, but Minty caught an oyster plate the cat dislodged. Minty set the plate on the table as a beagle pranced and howled by her feet.
“For goodness’ sake, King, sit!” Mama commanded and the dog promptly did. Mama righted the perfume bottle and dropped a handful of cotton fluff in the puddle of scent.
“Good god, Laura.” A man of medium height with broad shoulders under a black leather coat appeared in the door. He had blazing blue eyes and a wind-burned face below a battered brown sombrero. You’ve got this place smelling like a French whorehouse.”
“Back in town so soon, Thomas?” Mama asked coolly.
“Papa!” Minty hurled herself out of her chair and at her father who hugged her and then pulled her around to his side.
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