Page images
PDF
EPUB

"I didn't exactly mean that--the pacify father, but father had 'washed penniless in a great city sort of thing, his hands of the business, supposed you know. I'm earning a living, but I would follow my own inclinations, the living doesn't include the Holland and,-slammed the door. I watched House. You see, at first, I didn't him going down to play bridge with know much about economizing, I sup- his pals at the Commuters,' six feet pose-anyway, I ran up some bills for and a couple, of finality.” He stopped. rent and things, you know, before I "Well, what next?" said Dorothy. had figured up just how I was going “Then I came to New York and to come out. Then I got rather short. got a job. Now tell me about yourI didn't like to ask for my salary ahead self." of pay-day, so the last few days I have

She rose. been leading a truly lenten life. Now, “First, Jack, you'll stay to lunch I'm keeping bachelor apartments in with me.” what is known as the hall bedroom. "I can't, really, I must be at the

"That means you've half starved office in a few minutes." yourself."

"To dinner then, this evening?" "No, it doesn't mean anything so "About that time I shall probably foolish. You've no notion, Dorothy, be reporting the martial troubles of how much food you can get for a Mrs. Casey or some one else whose quarter in New York. Honest,” for affairs have required the attention of she was regarding him pityingly. the police.”

"Why didn't you write home for "Jack, they don't send you to write money?" An attempt to put a "you about such things?” deserve anything you've got" tone into “They did, but my city, editor said the question was not successful. Vis- he could not continue to do so unless ions of Jack, a hungry Jack, walking I could be more accurate." the streets of an unsympathetic metro "More accurate?" polis filled her thoughts.

“Yes, I reported that Mrs. Holloran, "Well, to tell the truth, Dorothy, important through having pushed an father and I had some words when I Italian woman off the fire-escape, was announced my intention of being a a laundress, whereas she is really the newspaper man. He wants me to go janitoress of a lodge-room.” into the factory and learn his business. "And she was offended?" Besides, he says there is nothing in “Naturally.” They both laughed. the newspaper business for a gentle. Then she repeated. man, anyway. You know father?" “You'll come to dinner, Jack?"

"Your father, Jack, is a very fine "No. Now, please now don't spoil gentleman. He's always been sort the only glimpse of—I'd say fairyland of an ideal to me-every thing that's if you weren't so confoundedly quick strong and honorable, and old-fash- to score anything soft-or foolish. Oh, ioned, you know."

I like it; it adds to your-well never “He's all that,” agreed Jack, heart- mind.” ily. "But-I don't think it has ever She giggled because she saw he was occurred to him that he might be in really afraid of her. the wrong."

“I wish you would come to dinner, "Well, go on. What did your Jack." mother say?"

"No-you've probably got an en"Mother was fine, as usual. She did gagement anyway with someone else." say she didn't think a reporter could "I haven't. I'll sit and hate myself be very respectable, always poking in that sumptuous sitting-room they into other people's business. But after gave us. You ought to see it; it makes I had told her Dickens and Kipling ours at home look plain.”. had both been reporters she felt better "Does anyone know you're in town, bout it. I think she was inclined to Dorothy?"

"There's the hotel clerk."

ing in several things her mother “Any of your friends, I mean.” taboed as foolishly expensive. Then "A few," she admitted.

she went to the telephone in response “And yet you were going to spend the to a call, and turned down a wellevening alone. How about mother?” dressed, well-groomed, young man at

"Mother, I expect will stay up town the other end of the line. The young Cousin Clara has hosts of friends in man's offense consisted in being well New York.”

dressed-she knew it without seeing"And you don't expect anyone to at this particular moment, when her call?"

thoughts were full of Jack's fancied She changed color a iittle but lookeci discomforts. He was not an offenhim straight in the eye, as she said: sively rich young man. He had not "I have no engagement."

even profited through questionable “Then if you would really like to practices. He had simply been cast see me I think I can get off this for the villian of the piece. evening—about nine o'clock, say. I The injustice of the proceeding evican't tell you how much I'd like to dently did not trouble Dorothy much, come. It's the first real pleasant pros for she came out of the booth humpect I have had for a month.” He held ming happily to herself. Later she out his hand.

had to go to the telephone again. It "Don't bother to dress up. Jack. was her mother this time. I'm going to get mother off early, if "Dorothy, dear," came the voice. she comes back at all. We'll have the "Clara thinks perhaps we had better evening to ourselves.”

stay up town for dinner. The Clares “That means you think I may have have asked us." pawned my evening clothes, but I Yes.haven't. They're all that stands be "Mr. Carter is calling this evening, tween me and disrespectability' as isn't he, dear?" Mulvaney says. I put them on one “He is not." night when I wasn't working, just to "Why, he told me-" feel dressed up again."

"He was mistaken," said Dorothy "You poor boy;" and her eyes were shortly. “But don't worry about me, very bright.

mother. I shall be well taken care “You know, Jack, father has always of.” said he would give you a job if you "Why, who's coming?" the maternal wanted it.

inquiry showed curiosity anyway. "Does your father happen to own a "Jack Braydon is coming newspaper?"

"What, Jack in New York! How "Not that I know of. Why?" nice, Dorothy. Now I shall feel entirely

“I don't wonder you're not sure, comfortable about you.” She breathed when I consider what the local paper a sigh of relief into the telephone. called, 'the multifarious interests of She liked things comfortable, but bethis modern Midas,'” laughed Jack. tween Dorothy and Clara, two very Then slowly, as though giving voice to decided natures, that result was not a revelation:

always easy of accomplishment. “Dorothy, there is one job within Dorothy hung up and started for your father's gift that I'd like, and if the elevator; it was time to dress. She my affairs ever get into shape again, stopped suddenly because a tall man I'm going to ask for it, too."

had placed both hands on her shoulDorothy said good-bye and escaped ders, a very tall man with keen, gray inside, very short of breath.

eyes, bristling gray eyebrows and a “Gracious!" she said to herself, gray moustache that turned up fiercely. "That couldn't have been Jack."

"Dorothy, child, what are you do

ing here? Don't try to deceive me She ate her lunch leisurely, indulg- now, you can't do it. No one can,”

and he bent a fierce frown on her, or down stairs to meet the Colonel. Her one that would have been fierce had gown met the requirements. It was it not been for the kindly gleam in the white, and it was simple, with the gray eyes.

studied simplicity obtained on fifth Dorothy said, “Oh.” The man was avenue at large prices. Cousin Clara Jack's father and Jack would be back called it an extravagance; Colonel at nine o'clock. The prospect of a Braydon thought it a very proper meeting made her nervous, for a meet- frock. He offered his arm with an ing between Colonel Braydon and any emphatic nod of approval. one by whom the Colonel considered Not a few found it worth while to himself wronged was always fraught look after them as the waiter bowed with dynamic possibilities, especially them to a table. Indeed, they make a when that one was his son Jack. pleasant picture: the tall straight

“Startled, hey? you don't look it. backed old gentleman in correct evenBut whom are you with, child. You're ing attire, and the self-possessed Amer. not here alone, I presume. Though, ican girl at his side. 'pon my word, the way women go now At table, Dorothy was in her gayest a-days I shouldn't be a bit surprised, mood, engaging her vis-a-vis in the not a bit," and the Colonel slapped the kind of railery in which he delighted, office desk sharply.

while pretending to think it the sign “No,” said Dorothy, “I'm with of a very forward generation. He mother,-ostensibly. Really, mother fenced gallantly for a time, but Dorand cousin Clara go gadding all over othy knew his cheerfulness was astown by themselves, and I've been left sumed. She knew, too, with how imto the care of anyone who happens penetrable a reserve his pride had alalong.. I suppose you will have to ways shielded his feelings from alien look after me now. I've no one to dine eyes. She knew and waited, allowwith to-night.”

ing him to lead the conversation anyThe gray head inclined in a courtly where except to the subject nearest bow.

his heart, his son, Jack. "Madame," said the Colonel. Finally, without previous connection, "You're treating the privilege as an he blurted out a gruff inquiry as to obligation, enhances its value. But I'm whether she had heard the latest foolsurprised some young Jackanapes isn't notion that boy had got into his head, here, to dispute it with me. How'd it adding that he supposed the boy was happen, hey? My boy, Jack says—" in New York. He turned and spoke sharply to a "Oh,” said Dorothy innocently, “that

is what brings you to New York, is it "Here boy—that bag there and my -to see Jack?" key," then to Dorothy: ""I've got to go The Colonel replied coldly that down town now, but I shall expect pressing business required his presyou to be ready to dine at 6.30 sharp.ence in the city, that Jack knew where Remember that, young woman, and, he, the Colonel, could always be found mind you, no gewgaws-just a plain and that he presumed that when he frock-white if you like. I like to see felt a desire to see his parents he would girls in white, always did. So does my come home. This, in a manner, indicatboy, Jack-" he stopped short again, ing that the subject was of only casua! and handed her grimly into the ele- interest to him. Dorothy gave him vator. Then lifted his hat and walked all the rope he wanted. The scene briskly to the door. But Dorothy knew had features of familiarity to her. he was sorely tried as she had seen When the Colonel's cigar came in him oftentimes before by his quarrels the natural order of things she invited with Jack.

him to smoke it in the sitting-room

upstairs. Once there, she placed him in Precisely at six-thirty Dorothy came a big chair before the fire-place, turned

bell boy.

out all but one electric and ensconced must live his own life, not the one herself on the arm of the chair. His someone else wants him to lead, even hand closed over hers and they sat in if the life he chooses does not seem to soothing quietness for a time. Gradu- promise so much as the other. Jack ally the Colonel lost the half defiant told me all about it and I think he attitude he had maintained in the din

was right, in the main." ing-room. Presently he said:

“Child, you are right. I've known "I don't know why it is that boy and it all along, but it is hard for me to I cannot get along better--I've never take back water, always was. Now crossed him in my life, except for his tell me why you take so much trouble own good. Take this affair now. If about a crusty old fool--and a headhe wants to take up newspaper work. I strong young one-hey?" and he don't know that I have any serious searched the charming face by the dim objection. But what does he do? Goes light Dorothy had provided. flying off the minute I attempt to offer "Well," said Dorothy coolly; “for him the least advice."

one thing I like the young one's "He told me you did the flying off," mother.” ventured Dorothy.

"Don't think much of his father, “What's that, been whining to you, hey?" has he?"

She ignored the interruption. Dorothy stood up.

"Now, it being settled that you are “Jack is his father's son,” she said in the wrong, the next thing to conquietly; “he does not whine to any one. sider is, how you are going about set. He faces the world with a smile, as a ting yourself right.” man should, if he has the courage. "What's that? Let the young rascal

“Come back, child," said the Colonel. come home and behave himself, and I "I apologize-to you, and to him. I'm will overlook his misconduct for this a snarling old fool. But this thing has once.” cut me up badly, quarrels with Jack "The young rascal won't come home. always do, somehow. I don't mind tell He'll starve first. He's half-starved ing you that I haven't had a comfort.

now, I think.” able day since Jack left home." Dor "Nonsense," said the Colonel, so emothy went back to the chair arm. Then phatically that she knew the shot had she said, gently:

gone to a vital place. “Colonel, some times I think you “He knows enough to ask for what don't realize that Jack is grown up, he wants, I suppose. He's been in conthat he is a strong man, with a strong stant communication with his mother; man's will and mind of his own. He I've seen the letters." He did not add is rather a masterful man, like his that he had pointedly ignored tlieir father. Is it surprising that he some presence on the breakfast table twice times finds his father's dominance irk

a week for the past month. some?"

Dorothy made no comment. She was "Do I dominate him?"

allowing the Colonel time to save his "You dominate every with face. Experience had shown the wis. whom you come in contact-uncon dom of that course. sciously, perhaps. We like it--women, "Well?” I mean. But a man does not, if he is Still no comment from Dorothy. worth much. Now take this news "What the dickens do you want me paper plan. You say yourself you had to do? Hunt all over New York for no serious objection to his trying it." the privilege of apologizing to my own "No."

boy for not agreeing with every fool “You simply had other plans for notion he takes into his head?” him?"

The Colonel, having lost the battle. “I did.”

was getting back to his customary ex"But, don't you see, Colonel, a man plosive form.

one

you hear"

“Yes,” insisted Dorothy, recognizing do you mean by standing there like a the signs of the weather. "That is bull-dog?" what you came here for, isn't it?”

"What! father, is this true-." "I-what-you want-well, well, as "Well, you see, son, Richardson is matter of fact”-he laughed a little- tired of running the thing, so I thought "you see it was this way. Richardson, if you of the Journal, has been after me for

"Father, it's splendid of you, after a long time to buy his assinine sheet. the way I've acted, too. I feel like a Not worth the ink it takes to get the -a mucker."

They shook hands thing out, as an investment, but I warmly. thought if Jack really

"That's all right," said the Colonel, Dorothy clapped her hands. “Splen- hastily, for Jack was searching for did," she cried. "Oh, I wish he'd hurry words to express himself further. “I up. What time is it Colonel ?” 'Wish who would hurry up, missy?" we'll call it off.”

feel rather like a mucker myself, so "Why, Jack, of course. He's coming at 9 o'clock.”

"I'll bet you had a hand in this, Dor"Jack, here-I've been trapped."

othy. I don't know how to thank you

both." "You have, and you don't leave this room till you've made up with him, do

"Did she," the Colonel laughed, "she was going to keep me on bread and

I A knock sounded at the door. Dor water till I apologized. I tell you, othy sprang to open it.

Jack, we ought to keep this young Tell him to come right up, quick.” woman around all the time just to The bell boy disappeared, and Dor

save us from quarrelling." othy stood on guard until Jack ap.

Jack took a big brace. Dorothy's peared. Meanwhile, the Colonel shook hand was near, so he took that, too; it himself together, threw away his cigar seemed to help. and squared his shoulders. Dorothy “Dorothy," he said; "that's what I watched apprehensively; his prepara- meant yesterday about the job I tions did not look conciliatory.

wanted from your father; it's the sonFar down the hall the elevator door in-law job. Can I have it?" clanged and Jack stepped out, followed "Spoken like a man, sir," cried the by the bell boy. When he saw Dor- Colonel, slapping his son on the shou!... othy framed in the doorway, the boy der. "Now then, mistress Dorothy, was left behind.

you've run this affair so far, suppose "You're just in time, Jack," said Dor- you finish it up. I don't leave this room othy. "Your father and I have been till I hear the answer to that question waiting for you.

-our question, for I'm interested in "What, father! Father, how are this, too. We both need you, Doryou?"

othy." "I'm well, thank you, sir," said the Thus assailed, Dorothy gave her anColonel, shortly. Jack flushed and swer so quietly and sweetly that the checked a cordial movement in his Colonel felt a sudden chokirg sensafather's direction. Things seemed at tion. He kissed her and escaped, slama standstill, but Dorothy, after her ming the door after him. labors, had no intention of permitting What happened behind that door has the making-up to miscarry.

not been recorded, but the Colonel al"Jack, exclaimed she,"your father ways maintains that he inade the has bought the Journal for you to play match. And Dorothy lets it go at with. Go over and thank him. What that.

« PreviousContinue »