During Which Chapter Mr. Carr Sings and
One of His Daughters Takes her Postgraduate
Mr. Yates came presently, ushered
by Ferdinand, and looking extremely worried. Mr. Carr received him
in his private office with ominous urbanity.
"Mr. Yates," he said,
forcing a distorted smile, "I have rather abruptly decided to show
you exactly how one of the Destyn-Carr instruments is supposed to
work. Would you kindly stand here--close by this table?"
Mr. Yates, astounded,
"Now," said Mr. Carr,
with a deeply creased smile, "here is the famous Destyn-Carr apparatus.
That's quite right--take a snapshot at it without my permission----"
"Quite right, my boy;
I intend you shall know all about it. You see it resembles the works
of a watch.... Now, when I touch this spring the receiver opens
and gathers in certain psychic waves which emanate from the subconscious
personality of--well, let us say you, for example!... And now I
touch this button. You see that slender hairspring of Rosium uncurl
and rise, trembling and waving about like a tentacle?"
Young Yates, notebook
in hand, recovered himself sufficiently to nod. Mr. Carr leered
"That tentacle," he
explained, "is now seeking some invisible, wireless, psychic current
along which it is to transmit the accumulated psychic waves. As
soon as the wireless current finds the subconscious personality
of the woman you are destined to love and marry some day----"
"I?" exclaimed young
"Yes, you. Why not?
Do you mind my trying it on you?"
"But I am already in
love," protested the young man, turning, as usual, a ready red.
"I don't care to have you try it on me. Suppose that machine should
connect me with--some other--girl----"
"It has!" cried Carr
with a hideous laugh as a point of bluish-white fire tipped the
tentacle for an instant. "You're tied fast to something feminine!
Probably a flossy typewriter--or a burlesque actress--somebody you're
fitted for, anyway!" He clapped on his monocle, and glared gleefully
at the stupefied young man.
"That will teach you
to enter my premises and hold my daughter's hand when she is drawing
innocent pictures of Cooper's Bluff!" he shouted. "That will teach
you to write poems to my eighteen-year-old daughter, Drusilla; that
will teach you to tell her you are in love with her--you young pup!"
"I am in love with
her!" said Yates, undaunted; but he was very white when he said
it. "I do love her; and if you had behaved halfway decently I'd
have told you so two weeks ago!"
Mr. Carr turned a delicate
purple, then, recovering, laughed horribly.
"Whether or not you
were once in love with my daughter is of no consequence now. That
machine has nullified your nonsense! That instrument has found you
your proper affinity--doubtless below stairs----"
still in love with Drusilla," repeated Yates, firmly.
"I tell you, you're
not!" retorted Carr. "Didn't I turn that machine on you? It has
never missed yet! The Green Mouse has got you in the
"You are mistaken,"
insisted Yates, still more firmly. "I was in love with your daughter
Drusilla before you started the machine; and I love her yet! Now!
At the present time! This very instant I am loving her!"
"You can't!" shouted
"Yes, I can. And I
"No, you don't! I tell
you it's a scientific and psychical impossibility for you to continue
to love her! Your subconscious personality is now in eternal and
irrevocable accord and communication with the subconscious personality
of some chit of a girl who is destined to love and marry you! And
she's probably a ballet-girl, at that!"
"I shall marry Drusilla!"
retorted the young man, very pale; "because I am quite confident
that she loves me, though very probably she doesn't know it yet."
"You talk foolishness!"
hissed Carr. "This machine has settled the whole matter! Didn't
you see that spark?"
"I saw a spark--yes!"
"And do you mean to
tell me you are not beginning to feel queer?"
"Not in the slightest."
"Look me squarely in
the eye, young man, and tell me whether you do not have a sensation
as though your heart were cutting capers?"
"Not in the least,"
said Yates, calmly. "If that machine worked at all it wouldn't surprise
me if you yourself had become entangled in it--caught in your own
"It wouldn't astonish
me in the slightest," repeated Yates, delighted to discover the
dawning alarm in the older man's features. "You opened
the receiver; you have psychic waves as well as I.
I was in love at the time; you were
not. What was there to prevent your waves from being hitched to
a wireless current and, finally, signaling the subconscious personality
of--of some pretty actress,
Mr. Carr sank nervously
onto a chair; his eyes, already wild, became wilder as he began
to realize the risk he had unthinkingly taken.
feel a little--queer. You look it," suggested the young man, in
a voice made anxious by an ever-ready sympathy. "Can I do anything?
I am really very sorry to have spoken so."
A damp chill gathered
on the brow of Bushwyck Carr. He did feel a trifle
queer. A curious lightness--a perfectly inexplicable buoyancy seemed
to possess him. He was beginning to feel strangely youthful; the
sound of his own heart suddenly became apparent. To his alarm it
was beating playfully, skittishly. No--it was not even beating;
it was skipping.
"Y-Yates," he stammered,
"you don't think that I could p-possibly have become inadvertently
mixed up with that horrible machine--do you?"
Now Yates was a generous
youth; resentment at the treatment meted out to him by this florid,
bad-tempered and pompous gentleman changed to instinctive sympathy
when he suddenly realized the plight his future father-in-law might
now be in.
"Yates," repeated Mr.
Carr in an agitated voice, "tell me honestly: do you
think there is anything unusual the matter with me? I--I seem to
f-feel unusually--young. Do I look it? Have I changed? W-watch me
while I walk across the room."
Mr. Carr arose with
a frightened glance at Yates, put on his hat, and fairly pranced
across the room. "Great Heavens!" he faltered; "my hat's on one
side and my walk is distinctly jaunty! Do you notice it, Yates?"
"I'm afraid I do, Mr.
"This--this is infamous!"
gasped Mr. Carr. "This is--is outrageous! I'm forty-five! I'm a
widower! I detest a jaunty widower! I don't want to be one; I don't
Yates gazed at him
with deep concern.
"Can't you help lifting
your legs that way when you walk--as though a band were playing?
Wait, I'll straighten your hat. Now try it again."
Mr. Carr pranced back
across the room.
I'm doing it again," he groaned, "but I can't help it! I--I feel
so gay--dammit!--so frivolous--it's--it's that infernal machine.
W-what am I to do, Yates," he added piteously, "when the world looks
so good to me?"
"Think of your family!"
urged Yates. "Think of--of Drusilla."
"Do you know," observed
Carr, twirling his eyeglass and twisting his mustache, "that I'm
beginning not to care what my family think!... Isn't it amazing,
Yates? I--I seem to be somebody else, several years younger. Somewhere,"
he added, with a flourish of his monocle--"somewhere on earth there
is a little birdie waiting for me."
"Don't talk that way!"
exclaimed Yates, horrified.
"Yes, I will, young
man. I repeat, with optimism and emphasis, that somewhere
there is a birdie----"
"Yes, merry old Top!"
"May I use your telephone?"
"I don't care what
you do!" said Carr, gayly. "Use my telephone if you like; pull it
out by the roots and throw it over Cooper's Bluff, for all I care!
But"--and a sudden glimmer of reason seemed to come over him--"if
you have one grain of human decency left in you, you won't drag
me and my terrible plight into that scurrilous New York paper of
"No," said Yates, "I
won't. And that ends my career on Park Row. I'm going to telephone
Mr. Carr gazed calmly
around and twisted his mustache with a satisfied and retrospective
"That's very decent
of you, Yates; you must pardon me; I was naturally half scared to
death at first; but I realize you are acting very handsomely in
this horrible dilemma----"
Yates. "I must stand by the family into which I am, as you know,
destined to marry."
"To be sure," nodded
Carr, absently; "it really looks that way, doesn't it! And, Yates,
you have no idea how I hated you an hour ago."
"Yes, I have," said
"No, you really have
not, if you will permit me to contradict you, merry old Top. I--but
never mind now. You have behaved in an unusually considerate manner.
Who the devil are you, anyway?"
Yates informed him
"Well, why didn't you
say so, instead of letting me bully you! I've known your father
for twenty years. Why didn't you tell me you wanted to marry Drusilla,
instead of coming and blushing all over the premises? I'd have told
you she was too young; and she is! I'd have told you to wait; and
you'd have waited. You'd have been civil enough to wait when I explained
to you that I've already lost, by marriage, two daughters through
that accursed machine. You wouldn't entirely denude me of daughters,
"I only want one,"
said John Yates, simply.
"Well, all right; I'm
a decent father-in-law when I've got to be. I'm really a good sport.
You may ask all my sons-in-law; they'll admit it." He scrutinized
the young man and found him decidedly agreeable to look at, and
at the same time a vague realization of his own predicament returned
for a moment.
"Yates," he said unsteadily,
"all I ask of you is to keep this terrible n-news from my innocent
d-daughters until I can f-find out what sort of a person is f-fated
to lead me to the altar!"
Yates took the offered
hand with genuine emotion.
"Surely," he said,
"your unknown intended must be some charming leader in the social
activities of the great metropolis."
"Who knows! She may
be m-my own l-laundress for all I know. She may be anything, Yates!
She--she might even be b-black!"
Mr. Carr nodded, shuddered,
dashed the unmanly moisture from his eyeglass.
"I think I'd better
go to town and tell my son-in-law, William Destyn, exactly what
has happened to me," he said. "And I think I'll go through the kitchen
garden and take my power boat so that those devilish reporters can't
follow me. Ferdinand!" to the man at the door, "ring up the garage
and order the blue motor, and tell those newspaper men I'm going
to town. That, I think, will glue them to the lawn for a while."
ventured Yates; but Mr. Carr was already gone, speeding noiselessly
out the back way, through the kitchen garden, and across the great
tree-shaded lawn which led down to the boat landing.
Across the distant
hedge, from the beautiful grounds of his next-door neighbor, floated
sounds of mirth and music. Gay flags fluttered among the trees.
The Magnelius Grandcourts were evidently preparing for the brilliant
charity bazaar to be held there that afternoon and evening.
"To think," muttered
Carr, "that only an hour ago I was agreeably and comfortably prepared
to pass the entire afternoon there with my daughters, amid innocent
revelry. And now I'm in flight--pursued by furies of my own invoking--threatened
with love in its most hideous form-- matrimony! Any woman I now
look upon may be my intended bride for all I know," he continued,
turning into the semiprivate driveway, bordered heavily by lilacs;
"and the curious thing about it is that I really don't care; in
fact, the excitement is mildly pleasing."
He halted; in the driveway,
blocking it, stood a red motor car--a little runabout affair; and
at the steering-wheel sat a woman--a lady's maid by her cap and
narrow apron, and an exceedingly pretty one, at that.
When she saw Mr. Carr
she looked up, showing an edge of white teeth in the most unembarrassed
of smiles. She certainly was an unusually agreeable-looking girl.
"Has something gone
wrong with your motor?" inquired Mr. Carr, pleasantly.
"I am afraid so." She
didn't say "sir"; probably because she was too pretty to bother
about such incidentals. And she looked at Carr and smiled, as though
he were particularly ornamental.
"Let me see," began
Mr. Carr, laying his hand on the steering-wheel; "perhaps I can
make it go."
"It won't go," she
said, a trifle despondently and shaking her charming head. "I've
been here nearly half an hour waiting for it to do something; but
Mr. Carr peered wisely
into the acetylenes, looked carefully under the hood, examined the
upholstery. He didn't know anything about motors.
"I'm afraid," he said
sadly, "that there's something wrong with the magne-e-to!"
"Do you think it is
as bad as that?"
"I fear so," he said
gravely. "If I were you I'd get out--and keep well away from that
"Why?" she asked nervously,
stepping to the grass beside him.
They backed away rather
hastily, side by side. After a while they backed farther away, hand
"I--I hate to leave
it there all alone," said the maid, when they had backed completely
out of sight of the car. "If there was only some safe place where
I could watch and see if it is going to explode."
They ventured back
a little way and peeped at the motor.
"You could take a rowboat
and watch it from the water," said Mr. Carr.
"But I don't know how
Mr. Carr looked at
her. Certainly she was the most prepossessing specimen of wholesome,
rose-cheeked and ivory-skinned womanhood that he had ever beheld;
a trifle nearer thirty-five than twenty-five, he thought, but so
sweet and fresh and with such charming eyes and manners.
"I have," said Mr.
Carr, "several hours at my disposal before I go to town on important
business. If you like I will row you out in one of my boats, and
then, from a safe distance, we can sit and watch your motor blow
up. Shall we?"
"It is most kind of
"Not at all. It would
be most kind of you."
She looked sideways
at the motor, sideways at the water, sideways at Mr. Carr.
It was a very lovely
morning in early June.
As Mr. Carr handed
her into the rowboat with ceremony she swept him a courtesy. Her
apron and manners were charmingly incongruous.
When she was gracefully
seated in the stern Mr. Carr turned for a moment, stared all Oyster
Bay calmly in the face through his monocle, then, untying the painter,
fairly skipped into the boat with a step distinctly frolicsome.
"It's curious how I
feel about this," he observed, digging both oars into the water.
do you feel, Mr. Carr?"
"Like a bird," he said
And the boat moved
off gently through the sparkling waters of Oyster Bay.
At that same moment,
also, the sparkling waters of Oyster Bay were gently caressing the
classic contours of Cooper's Bluff, and upon that monumental headland,
seated under sketching umbrellas, Flavilla and Drusilla worked,
in a puddle of water colors; and John Chillingham Yates, in becoming
white flannels and lilac tie and hosiery, lay on the sod and looked
accented by the faint harmony of mosquitoes, brooded over Cooper's
"There's no use," said
Drusilla at last; "one can draw a landscape from every point of
view except looking down hill. Mr. Yates, how on earth
am I to sit here and make a drawing looking down hill?"
he said, "I had better hold your pencil again. Shall I?"
"Do you think that
"I think it helps--somehow."
Her pretty, narrow
hand held the pencil; his sun-browned hand closed over it. She looked
at the pad on her knees.
After a while she said:
"I think, perhaps, we had better draw. Don't you?"
They made a few hen-tracks.
Noticing his shoulder was just touching hers, and feeling a trifle
weary on her camp-stool, she leaned back a little.
"It is very pleasant
to have you here," she said dreamily.
"It is very heavenly
to be here," he said.
"How generous you are
to give us so much of your time!" murmured Drusilla.
"I think so, too,"
said Flavilla, washing a badger brush. "And I am becoming almost
as fond of you as Drusilla is."
"Don't you like him
as well as I do?" asked Drusilla.
Flavilla turned on
her camp-stool and inspected them both.
"Not quite as well,"
she said frankly. "You know, Drusilla, you are very nearly in love
with him." And she resumed her sketching.
Drusilla gazed at the
purple horizon unembarrassed. "Am I?" she said absently.
you?" he repeated, close to her shoulder.
She turned and looked
into his sun-tanned face curiously.
"What is it--to love?
Is it"--she looked at him undisturbed--"is it to be quite happy
and lazy with a man like you?"
He was silent.
"I thought," she continued,
"that there would be some hesitation, some shyness about it--some
embarrassment. But there, has been none between you and me."
He said nothing.
She went on absently:
"You said, the other
day, very simply, that you cared a great deal for me; and I was
not very much surprised. And I said that I cared very much for you....
And, by the way, I meant to ask you yesterday; are we engaged?"
"Are we?" he asked.
"Yes--if you wish....
Is that all there is to an engagement?"
"There's a ring," observed
Flavilla, dabbing on too much ultramarine and using a sponge. "You've
got to get her one, Mr. Yates."
Drusilla looked at
the man beside her and smiled.
"How simple it is,
after all!" she said. "I have read in the books Pa-pah permits us
to read such odd things about love and lovers.... Are we lovers,
Mr. Yates? But, of course, we must be, I fancy."
"Yes," he said.
"Some time or other,
when it is convenient," observed Flavilla, "you ought to kiss each
"That doesn't come
until I'm a bride, does it?" asked Drusilla.
"I believe it's a matter
of taste," said Flavilla, rising and naively stretching her long,
She stood a moment
on the edge of the bluff, looking down.
"How curious!" she
said after a moment. "There is Pa-pah on the water rowing somebody's
"What!" exclaimed Yates,
springing to his feet.
said Drusilla, following him to the edge of the bluff; "and they're
singing, too, as they row!"
From far below, wafted
across the sparkling waters of Oyster Bay, Mr. Carr's rich and mellifluous
voice was wafted shoreward:
that I dwelt in ma-arble h-a-l-ls."
The sunlight fell on
the maid's coquettish cap and apron, and sparkled upon the buckle
of one dainty shoe. It also glittered across the monocle of Mr.
Far away her parent
waved a careless greeting to his offspring, then resumed his oars
and his song.
said Flavilla. "Why do you suppose that Pa-pah is
rowing somebody's maid around the bay, and singing that way to her?"
"Perhaps it's one of
our maids," said Drusilla; "but that would be rather odd, too, wouldn't
it, Mr. Yates?"
"A--little," he admitted.
And his heart sank.
Flavilla had started
down the sandy face of the bluff.
"I'm going to see whose
maid it is," she called back.
Drusilla seated herself
in the sun-dried grass and watched her sister.
Yates stood beside
her in bitter dejection.
was the result! His unfortunate future father-in-law was done for.
What a diabolical machine! What a terrible, swift, relentless answer
had been returned when, out of space, this misguided gentleman had,
by mistake, summoned his own affinity! And what an
affinity! A saucy soubrette who might easily have just stepped from
the coulisse of a Parisian theater!
Yates looked at Drusilla.
What an awful blow was impending! She never could have suspected
it, but there, in that boat, sat her future stepmother in cap and
apron!--his own future stepmother-in-law!
And in the misery of
that moment's realization John Chillingham Yates showed the material
of which he was constructed.
"Dear," he said gently.
"Do you mean me?" asked
Drusilla, looking up in frank surprise.
And at the same time
she saw on his face a look which she had never before encountered
there. It was the shadow of trouble; and it drew her to her feet
"What is it, Jack?"
She had never before
called him anything but Mr. Yates.
"What is it?" she repeated,
turning away beside him along the leafy path; and with every word
another year seemed, somehow, to be added to her youth. "Has anything
happened, Jack? Are you unhappy--or ill?"
He did not speak; she
walked beside him, regarding him with wistful eyes.
So there was more of
love than happiness, after all; she began to half understand it
in a vague way as she watched his somber face. There certainly was
more of love than a mere lazy happiness; there was solicitude and
warm concern, and desire to comfort, to protect.
"Jack," she said tremulously.
He turned and took
her unresisting hands. A quick thrill shot through her. Yes, there
was more to love than she had expected.
"Are you unhappy?"
she asked. "Tell me. I can't bear to see you this way. I--I never
"Will you love me;
"Yes--yes, I will,
"I do--dearly." The
first blush that ever tinted her cheek spread and deepened.
"Will you marry me,
"Yes.... You frighten
She trembled, suddenly,
in his arms. Surely there were more things to love than she had
dreamed of in her philosophy. She looked up as he bent nearer, understanding
that she was to be kissed, awaiting the event which suddenly loomed
up freighted with terrific significance.
There was a silence,
love you so!"
Flavilla was sketching
on her camp-stool when they returned.
"I'm horridly hungry,"
she said. "It's luncheon time, isn't it? And, by the way, it's all
right about that maid. She was on her way to serve in the tea pavilion
at Mrs. Magnelius Grandcourt's bazaar, and her runabout broke down
and nearly blew up."
"What on earth are
you talking about?" exclaimed Drusilla.
"I'm talking about
Mrs. Magnelius Grandcourt's younger sister from Philadelphia, who
looks perfectly sweet as a lady's maid. Tea," she added, "is to
be a dollar a cup, and three if you take sugar. And," she continued,
"if you and I are to sell flowers there this afternoon we'd better
go home and dress.... What are you smiling at, Mr.
supposed she could answer that question.
"Dearest little sister,"
she said shyly and tenderly, "we have something very wonderful to
"What is it?" asked
whispered Drusilla, radiant.
"Why, I knew that already!"
"Did you?" sighed her
sister, turning to look at her tall, young lover. "I didn't....
Being in love is a much more complicated matter than you and I imagined,
Flavilla. Is it not, Jack?"