Butler walked heavily in and took his seat. 
" It's gettin' colder, I'm thinkin'," said Butler, by way 
of conversation, and eying Aileen's empty chair. She 
would come soon now—his heavy problem. He had been 
very tactful these last two months—avoiding any refer- 
ence in so far as he could help to Cowperwood in Aileen's 
presence, but he had not always been successful. Aileen 
was called, and the maid said she answered. 
" It's colder," remarked Owen, "much colder. We'll 
soon see real winter now." 
Old John began to offer the various dishes in order; 
but when all had been served Aileen had not yet 
" See where Aileen is, John," observed Mrs. Butler, 
interestedly. " The meal will be gettin' cold." 
Old John sent the maid again. This time Aileen was 
not in her room. 
" She's not in her room," he said, returning after a time. 
"Annie says she can't find her." 
" Sure she must be somewhere," commented Mrs. But- 
ler, only slightly perplexed. " She'll be comin', though, 
never mind, if she wants to. She knows it's meal-time." 
Old Butler decided that Aileen's mind was telling 
against her appetite. It was not strange. The conversa- 
tion drifted from a new water-works that was being 
planned to the new city hall, then nearing completion; 
Cowperwood's financial and social troubles, and the state 
of the stock market generally; a new gold-mine in Arizona; 
the departure of Mrs. Mollenhauer the following Tuesday 
for Europe, with appropriate comments by Norah and 
Callum; and a Christmas ball that was going to be 
given for charity. 
"Aileen 'll be wantin' to go to that," commented Mrs. 
" I'm going, you bet," put in Norah. 
"Who's going to take you?" asked Callum. 
" That's my affair, mister," she replied, smartly. 
6 o