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prostrated about the shrubs, a cheerful two-step

Mary, the chambermaid, had been a witness to this tender passage, and poor Simpkins’s dignity ever since had walked on shaky ground. But Annette’s charms had conquered more than Simpkins. Tom, the gardener, had spent the entire three weeks of her stay in puttering about the shrubs that grew in the vicinity of the house; while the stablemen had frankly prostrated themselves — with the exception of Joe, who was married and not open to Gallic allurements.

He spent an hour puttering about the carriage room, whistling a cheerful two-step and vainly pretending to himself that he felt in a cheerful frame of mind. Then suddenly his music and his thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of the house telephone bell, long and insistently. He sprang to the instrument and heard Annie’s voice, her words punctuated by frightened sobs.

Jean Webster, Much Ado About Peter, illustrated by Charlotte Harding and Harry Linnell (1909)
links to Harvard copy, via hathitrust

Jean Webster was the pen name of Alice Jane Chandler Webster (1876-1916), author of Daddy Long-Legs (1912), died post childbirth
wikipedia : link

4 July 2023