Cap'n Warren's Wards by Joseph Crosby Lincoln
If the captain heard Stephen's fervent ejaculation, he paid no attention to it. Dropping his niece's hand, he extended his own toward his nephew.
"And this is Stephen?" he said. "Well, Steve, you and me have never met afore, I b'lieve. But that's our misfortune, not our fault, hey? How are you? Pretty smart?"
The boy's face was flaming. He mumbled something to the effect that he was all right enough, and turned away without accepting the proffered hand. Captain Elisha glanced quickly at him, then at his sister.
"Well, Caroline," he said, pleasantly, "I s'pose you've been expectin' me. Mr. Graves told you I was comin', didn't he?"
Miss Warren, also, was flushed with embarrassment and mortified surprise.
"No," she stammered. "He has been ill."
"Sho! you don't say! Mrs. Dunn--your friend here--said he was laid up with a cold, but I didn't realize 'twas as bad as that. So you didn't know I was comin' at all."
"No. We--we have not heard from you since he returned."
"That's too bad. I hope I sha'n't put you out any, droppin' in on you this way. You mustn't treat me as comp'ny, you know. If 'tain't convenient, if your spare room ain't ready so soon after movin', or anything of that kind, I can go to a hotel somewheres for a day or so. Hadn't I better, don't you think?"
Caroline hesitated. If only they might have been spared this public humiliation. If the Dunns had not been there. It was bad enough to have this dreadful country uncle come at all; but to have him come now, before they were prepared, before any explanations had been made! What should she do?
Her brother, fidgeting at her elbow, not daring to look at Malcolm Dunn, who, he knew, was thoroughly enjoying the scene, could stand it no longer.
"Caro," he snapped, "what are you waiting for? Don't you know that the rooms are not ready? Of course they're not! We're sorry, and all that, but Graves didn't tell us and we weren't prepared. Certainly he'll have to go to the hotel, for--for the present."
He ventured to raise his eyes and glare indignantly at the captain. Finding the latter looking intently at him, he dropped them again and jammed his clenched fists into his pockets.
Captain Elisha pulled thoughtfully at his beard.
"Humph!" he grunted. "Humph! then I cal'late maybe--" He took a step toward the door, stopped, turned back, and said, with calm decision, "I guess I'd better stay. You won't mind me, Caroline--you and Stephen. You mustn't. As I said, I ain't comp'ny. I'm one of the family, your pa's brother, and I've come some consider'ble ways to see you two young folks and talk with you. I've come because your pa asked me to. I'm used to roughin' it, been to sea a good many v'yages, and if a feather bed ain't handy I can get my forty winks on the floor. So that's settled, and you mustn't have me on your conscience. That's sense, ain't it, Mrs. Dunn?"
Mrs. Corcoran Dunn did not deign a reply. Caroline answered for her.
"Very well," she said, coldly. Stepping to the desk she rang a bell. The butler appeared in the doorway.
"Edwards," said Miss Warren, "this gentleman," indicating the captain, "is to be our guest, for the present. You may show him to his room--the blue room, I think. If it is not ready, see that it is made so."
"Yes, Miss Caroline," replied Edwards. Retiring to the hall, he returned with the suit-case.
"Will you wish to go to your room at once, sir?" he asked.
"Why, I guess I might as well, Commodore," answered Captain Elisha, smiling. "Little soap and water won't do no harm. Fact is, I feel's if 'twas a prescription to be recommended. You needn't tote that valise, though," he added. "'Tain't heavy, and I've lugged it so fur already sence I got off the car that I feel kind of lonesome without it."
The butler, not knowing exactly how to answer, grinned sheepishly. Captain Elisha turned to Mrs. Dunn and her son.
"Well, good afternoon, ma'am," he said. "I'm real glad to have made your acquaintance. Yours, too, sir," with a nod toward Malcolm. "Your mother told me what a friend of the young folks you was, and, as I'm sort of actin' pilot for 'em just now, in a way of speakin', any friend of theirs ought to be a friend of mine. Hope to see you often, Mr. Dunn."
The young man addressed smiled, with amusement not at all concealed, and languidly admitted that he was "charmed."
"Your first visit to the city?" he inquired, in a tone which caused Stephen to writhe inwardly.
"No-o. No, not exactly. I used to come here pretty frequent, back in my sea-goin' days, when my ship was in port. I sailed for Osgood and Colton, down on South Street, for a spell. They were my owners. You don't remember the firm, I s'pose?"
"No. The privilege has been denied me. You find some changes in New York, don't you--er--Captain? You are a captain, or a bos'n, or admiral--something of that sort, I presume?"
"Malcolm!" said his mother, sharply.
"Oh, no offense intended. My sea terms are rather mixed. The captain will excuse me."
"Sartin! Cap'n's what they all call me, mostly. Your son ain't ever been to sea, except as passenger, I cal'late, ma'am?"
"Certainly not," snapped Mrs. Dunn.
"Of course, of course. Well, 'tain't a life I'd want a boy of mine to take up, nowadays. But it did have some advantages. I don't know anything better than a v'yage afore the mast to learn a young feller what's healthy for him to unlearn. Good day, ma'am. Good day, Mr. Dunn. I mustn't keep the Commodore waitin' here with that valise. I'll be out pretty soon, Caroline; just as soon as I've got the upper layer of railroad dust off my face and hands. You'll be surprised to see how light-complected I really am when that's over. All right! Heave ahead, Commodore!"
He departed, preceded by Edwards and the suit-case. Stephen Warren threw himself violently into a chair by the window. Young Dunn laughed aloud. His mother flashed an indignant glance at him, and then hurried to Caroline.
"You poor dear!" she exclaimed, putting an arm about the girl's shoulder. "Don't mind us, please don't! Malcolm and I understand. That is, we know how you feel and--"
"Oh, but you don't know, Mrs. Dunn," cried Caroline, almost in tears. "You don't understand! It's so much worse than you think. I--I--Oh, why did father do it? How could he be so inconsiderate?"
"There! there!" purred the friend of the family. "You mustn't, you know. You really mustn't. Who is this man? This uncle? Where does he come from? Why does he force himself upon you in this way? I didn't know your poor father had a brother."
"Neither did we," growled Stephen, savagely. Malcolm laughed again.
"What does it all mean, dear?" begged Mrs. Dunn. "You are in trouble, I'm sure. Don't you think we--Malcolm and I--might be able to help you? We should so love to do it. If you feel that you can confide in us; if it isn't a secret--"
She paused expectantly, patting the girl's shoulder. But Caroline had heard young Dunn's laugh, and was offended and hurt. Her eyes flashed as she answered.
"It's nothing," she said. "He has come to see us on a matter of business, I believe. I am nervous and--foolish, I suppose. Mr. Graves will see us soon, and then everything will be arranged. Thank you for calling, Mrs. Dunn, and for the ride."
It was a very plain hint, but Mrs. Dunn did not choose to understand it as such.
"You're sure you hadn't better tell me the whole story, dear?" she urged. "I am old enough, almost, to be your mother, and perhaps my advice might... No? Very well. You know best but--You understand that it is something other than mere curiosity which leads me to ask."
"Of course, I understand," said the girl hastily. "Thank you very much. Perhaps, by and by, I can tell you everything. But we must see Mr. Graves first. I--oh, don't ask me more now, Mrs. Dunn."
The widow of so astute a politician as Mike Dunn had been in his day could have scarcely failed to profit by his teachings. Moreover, she possessed talent of her own. With a final pat and a kiss, she prepared for departure.
"Good-by, then," she said, "or rather, au revoir. We shall look in to-morrow. Come, Malcolm."
"I say, Mal!" cried Stephen, rising hurriedly.
"You won't tell anyone about--"
"Steve!" interrupted his sister.
Malcolm, about to utter a languid sarcasm, caught his mother's look, and remained silent. Another meaning glance, and his manner changed.
"All right, Steve, old man," he said. "Good-by and good luck. Caroline, awfully glad we had the spin this afternoon. We must have more. Just what you and Steve need. At your service any time. If there is anything I can do in any way to--er--you understand--call on me, won't you? Ready, Mater?"
The pair were shown out by Edwards. On the way home in the car Mrs. Corcoran Dunn lectured her son severely.
"Have you no common sense?" she demanded. "Couldn't you see that the girl would have told me everything if you hadn't laughed, like an idiot?"
The young man laughed again.
"By Jove!" he exclaimed, "it was enough to make a wooden Indian laugh. The old jay with the barnacles telling us about the advantages of a sailor's life. And Steve's face! Ho! ho!"
His mother snorted disgust. "If you had brains," she declared, "you would have understood what he meant by saying that the sea was the place to learn what to unlearn. He was hitting at you. Was it necessary to insult him the first time you and he exchanged a word?"
"Insult him? Him? Ha, ha! Why, Mater, what's the matter with you? Do you imagine that a hayseed like that would recognize an insult without an introduction? And, besides, what difference does it make? You don't intend putting him on your calling list, do you?"
"I intend cultivating him for the present."
"Yes--for the present. He is Rodgers Warren's brother. That lawyer, Graves, traveled miles to see him. What does that mean? That, in some important way, he is connected with the estate and those two children. If the estate is worth anything, and we have reason to believe it is, you and I must know it. If it isn't, it is even more important that we should know, before we waste more time. If Caroline is an heiress, if she inherits even a moderate fortune--"
She shrugged her shoulders by way of finish to the sentence.
"But to think of that old Down-Easter being related to the Warren family!" he mused. "It seems impossible."
"Nothing is impossible," observed his mother. Then, with a shudder, "You never met your father's relatives. I have."
When Captain Elisha emerged from his room, after a wash and a change of linen, he found the library untenanted. He strolled about, his hands behind him, inspecting the pictures with critical interest. Caroline, dressed for dinner, found him thus engaged. He turned at the sound of her step.
"Why, hello!" he cried, with hearty enthusiasm. "All rigged up for inspection, ain't you?"
"Oh, that's just sailor's lingo. Means you've got your Sunday uniform on, that's all. My! my! how nice you look! But ain't black pretty old for such a young girl?"
"I am in mourning," replied his niece, coldly.
"There! there! of course you are. Tut! tut! How could I forget it. You see, I've been so many years feelin' as if I didn't have a brother that I've sort of got used to his bein' gone."
"I have not." Her eyes filled as she said it. The captain was greatly moved.
"I'm a blunderin' old fool, my dear," he said. "I beg your pardon. Do try to forgive me, won't you? And, perhaps--perhaps I can make up your loss to you, just a little mite. I'd like to. I'll try to, if--"
He laid a hand on her shoulder. She avoided him and, moving away, seated herself in a chair at the opposite side of the desk. The avoidance was so obvious as to be almost brutal. Captain Elisha looked very grave for an instant. Then he changed the subject.
"I was lookin' at your oil paintin's," he said. "They're pretty fine, ain't they? Any of them your work, Caroline?"
"My work?" The girl's astonishment was so great that she turned to stare at her questioner. "My work?" she repeated. "Are you joking? You can't think that I painted them."
"I didn't know but you might. That one over there, with the trees and folks dancin'--sort of picnic scene, I judge--that looks as if you might have done it."
"That is a Corot."
"'Tis, hey? I want to know! A--a--what did you call it?"
"A Corot. He was a famous French artist. That was father's favorite picture."
"Sho! Well, I like it fust-rate myself. Did 'Bije--did your father know this Mr. Corot well?"
"Know him? Certainly not. Why should you think such a thing as that?"
"Well, he bought the picture of him, and so I s'pose likely he knew him. There was a young feller come to South Denboro three or four year ago and offered to paint a picture of our place for fifteen dollars. Abbie--that's Abbie Baker, she's one of our folks, you know, your third cousin, Caroline; keepin' house for me, she is--Abbie wanted me to have him do the job, but I wa'n't very particular about it, so it never come to nothin'. He done two or three places, though, and I swan 'twas nice work! He painted Sam Cahoon's old ramshackle house and barn, and you'd hardly know it, 'twas so fixed up and fine, in the picture. White paint and green grass and everything just like real. He left out the places where the pickets was off the fence and the blinds hangin' on one hinge. I told Abbie, I says, 'Abbie, that painter's made Sam's place look almost respectable, and if that ain't a miracle, I don't know what is. I would think Sam would blush every time he sees that picture.' Ho, ho! Abbie seemed to cal'late that Sam Cahoon's blushin' would be the biggest miracle of the two. Ho! ho! You'd like Abbie; she's got lots of common sense."
He chuckled at the reminiscence and rubbed his knee. His niece made no reply. Captain Elisha glanced at the Corot once more and asked another question.
"I presume likely," he said, "that that picture cost consider'ble more than fifteen, hey?"
"Father paid twenty-two thousand dollars for it," was the crushing answer.
The captain looked at her, opened his mouth to speak, shut it again, and, rising, walked across the room. Adjusting his glasses, he inspected the Corot in silence for a few minutes. Then he drew a long breath.
"Well!" he sighed. "Well." Then, after an interval, "Was this the only one he ever painted?"
"The only one? The only picture Corot painted? Of course not! There are many more."
"Did--did this Corot feller get as much for every job as he did for this?"
"I presume so. I know father considered this one a bargain."
"Did, hey? Humph! I ought to know enough by this time not to believe all I hear, but I kind of had an idea that picture paintin' was starvation work. I've read about artists committin' suicide, and livin' in attics, and such. Whew! About two such bargain sale jobs as this, and I'd guarantee not to starve--and to live as nigh the ground as a second-floor bedroom anyhow. How about this next one? This feller in a dory--coddin', I guess he is. Did--did Mr. Corot do him?"
"No. That is by a well-known American artist. It is a good piece of work, but not like the other. It is worth much less. Perhaps five thousand."
"So? Well, even for that I'd undertake to buy consider'ble many dories, and hire fellers to fish from 'em, too. Humph! I guess I'm out of soundin's. When I thought fifteen dollars was a high price for paintin' a view of a house I was slightly mistaken. Next time I'll offer the paintin' feller the house and ask him what he considers a fair boot, besides. Sam Cahoon's a better speculator than I thought he was. Hello, Commodore! what's worryin' you now?"
Edwards appeared to announce that dinner was served. Caroline rose and led the way to the dining room. Captain Elisha followed, looking curiously about him as he did so. Stephen, who had been sulkily dressing in his own room, entered immediately after.
The captain surveyed the dining room with interest. Like the others of the suite, it was sumptuously and tastefully furnished. He took the chair indicated by the solemn Edwards, and the meal began.
The butler's sense of humor was not acute, but it was with considerable difficulty that he restrained his smiles during the next half hour. A more appreciative observer would have noticed and enjoyed the subtler points. Stephen's glare of disgust at his uncle when the latter tucked his napkin in the opening of his waistcoat; Caroline's embarrassment when the captain complimented the soup, declaring that it was almost as good as one of Abbie's chowders; the visitor's obvious uneasiness at being waited upon attentively, and the like. These Edwards missed, but he could not help appreciating Captain Elisha's conversation.
Caroline said little during dinner. Her brother glowered at his plate and was silent. But the captain talked and talked.
"Maybe you think I didn't have a time findin' your new lodgin's," he said. "I come over on the cars, somethin' I don't usually do when there's anything afloat to carry me. But I had an errand or two to do in Boston, so I stopped over night at the hotel there and got the nine o'clock train. I landed here in New York all shipshape and on time, and started in to hunt you up."
"How did you get our address?" asked his niece. "Mr. Graves couldn't have given it to you, for we only decided on this apartment a few days ago."
"Ho! ho!" chuckled Captain Elisha, rolling in his chair, like a ship in a cross sea. "Ho! ho! You remind me of Abbie, Caroline. That's what she said. 'I never heard of such a crazy cruise,' she says. 'Startin' off to visit folks when you haven't the least idea where they live!' 'Oh, yes, I have,' I says, 'I know where they live; they live in New York.' Well, you ought to have seen her face. Abbie's a good woman--none better--but she generally don't notice a joke until she trips over it. I get consider'ble fun out of Abbie, take her by the large. 'New York!' she says. 'Did anybody ever hear the beat of that? Do you cal'late New York's like South Denboro, where everybody knows everybody else? What are you plannin' to do? run up the fust man, woman or child you meet and ask 'em to tell you where 'Bijah Warren lives? Or are you goin' to trot from Dan to Beersheby, trustin' to meet your nephew and niece on the way? I never in my born days!'
"Well," went on the captain, "I told her that the last suggestion weren't such a bad one, but there was one little objection to it. Considerin' that I hadn't ever laid eyes on Steve and that I hadn't seen you since you was a baby, the chances was against my recognizin' you if we did meet. Ho, ho, ho! Finally I hinted that I might look in the directory, and she got more reconciled to my startin'. Honest, I do believe she'd have insisted on takin' me by the hand and leadin' me to you, if I hadn't told her that.
"So I did look in the directory and got the number on Fifth Avenue where you used to be. I asked a policeman the nighest way to get there, and he said take a bus. Last time I was in New York I rode in one of those Fifth Avenue omnibuses, and I never got such a jouncin' in my life. The pavement then was round cobble stones, like some of the roads in Nantucket. I remember I tried to ask a feller that set next to me somethin' or other, and I swan to man I couldn't get nothin' out of my mouth but rattles. 'Metropolitan Museum,' sounded like puttin' in a ton of coal. I thought I was comin' apart, or my works was out of order, or somethin', but when the feller tried to answer he rattled just as bad, so I realized 'twas the reg'lar disease and felt some better. I never shall forget a fleshy woman--somethin' like that Mrs. Dunn friend of yours, Caroline--that set opposite me. It give me the crawls to look at her, her chins shook around so. Ho! ho! she had no less'n three of 'em, and they all shook different ways. Ho! ho! ho! If I'd been in the habit of wearin' false hair or teeth or anything that wa'n't growed to or buttoned on me I'd never have risked a trip in one of those omnibuses.
"So when the police officer prescribed one for me this v'yage, I was some dubious. I'm older'n I was ten year ago, and I wa'n't sure that I'd hold together. I cal'lated walkin' was better for my health. So I found Fifth Avenue and started to walk. And the farther I walked the heavier that blessed satchel of mine got. It weighed maybe ten or twelve pounds at the corner of 42nd Street, but when I got as far as the open square where the gilt woman is hurryin' to keep from bein' run over by Gen'ral Sherman on horseback--that statue, you know--I wouldn't have let that blessed bag go for less'n two ton, if I was sellin' it by weight. So I leaned up against an electric light pole to rest and sort of get my bearin's. Then I noticed what I'd ought to have seen afore, that the street wa'n't paved with cobbles, as it used to be, but was smooth as a stretch of state road down home. So I figgered that a bus was a safe risk, after all. I waited ten minutes or more for one to come, and finally I asked a woman who was in tow of an astrakhan-trimmed dog at the end of a chain, if the omnibuses had stopped runnin'. When I fust see the dog leadin' her I thought she was blind, but I guess she was deef and dumb instead. Anyhow, all she said was 'Ugh!' not very enthusiastic, at that, and went along. Ho! ho! So then I asked a man, and he pointed to a bus right in front of me. You see, I was lookin' for the horses, same as they used to be, and this was an automobile.
"I blushed, I guess, just to show that there was some red underneath the green, and climbed aboard the omnibus. I rode along for a spell, admirin' as much of the scenery as I could see between the women's hats, then I told the skipper of the thing that I wanted to make port at 82nd Street. He said 'Ugh,' apparently suff'rin' from the same complaint the dog woman had, and we went on and on. At last I got kind of anxious and asked him again.
"'Eighty-second!' says he, ugly. 'This is Ninety-first.'
"'Good land!' says I. 'I wanted Eighty-second.'
"'Why didn't you say so?' says he, lookin' as if I'd stole his mother's spoons.
"'I did,' says I.
"'You did?' he snarls. 'You did not! If you did, wouldn't I have heard you?'
"Well, any answer I'd be likely to make to that would have meant more argument, and the bus was sailin' right along at the time, so I piled out and did some more walkin', the other way. At last I reached your old number, Stevie, and--Hey? Did you speak?"
"Don't call me 'Stevie,'" growled his nephew, rebelliously.
"Beg your pardon. I keep forgettin' that you're almost grown up. Well, as I was sayin', I got to the house where you used to live, and 'twas shut tight. Nobody there. Ho! ho! I felt a good deal like old Beriah Doane must have on his last 'vacation.' You see, Beriah is one of our South Denboro notorieties; he's famous in his way. He works and loafs by spells until cranberry pickin' time in the fall; then he picks steady and earns thirty or forty dollars all at once. Soon's he's paid off, he starts for Boston on a 'vacation,' an alcoholic one. Well, last fall his married sister was visitin' him, and she, bein' strong for good Templarism, was determined he shouldn't vacate in his regular way. So she telegraphed her husband's brother in Brockton to meet Beriah there, go with him to Boston, and see that he behaved himself and stayed sober. Beriah heard of it, and when his train gets as far as Tremont what does he do but get off quiet and change cars for New Bedford. He hadn't been there for nine years, but he had pleasant memories of his last visit. And when he does get to New Bedford, chucklin' over the way he's befooled his sister and her folks, I'm blessed if he didn't find that the town had gone no-license, and every saloon was shut up! Ho! ho! ho! Well, I felt about the way he did, I guess, when I stood on the steps of your Fifth Avenue house and realized you'd gone away. I wouldn't have had Abbie see me there for somethin'. Ho! ho!"
He leaned back in his chair and laughed aloud. Caroline smiled faintly. Stephen threw down his napkin and sprang to his feet.
"Sis," he cried, "I'm going to my room. By gad! I can't--"
Catching a warning glance from his sister, he did not finish his sentence, but stood sulkily beside his chair. Captain Elisha looked at him, then at the girl, and stopped laughing. He folded his napkin with care, and rose.
"That's about all of it," he said, shortly. "I asked around at two or three of the neighbors' houses, and the last one I asked knew where you'd moved and told me how to get here."
When the trio were again in the library, the captain spoke once more.
"I'm 'fraid I've talked too much," he said, gravely. "I didn't realize how I was runnin' on. Thought I was home, I guess, with the fellers of my own age down at the postoffice, instead of bein' an old countryman, tirin' out you two young city folks with my yarns. I beg your pardon. Now you mustn't mind me. I see you're expectin' company or goin' callin' somewheres, so I'll just go to my bedroom and write Abbie a line. She'll be kind of anxious to know if I got here safe and sound and found you. Don't worry about me, I'll be comf'table and busy."
He turned to go. Caroline looked at him in surprise. "We are not expecting callers," she said. "And certainly we are not going out to-night. Why should you think such a thing?"
It was her uncle's turn to show surprise.
"Why," he said, with a glance at Stephen, "I see that you're all dressed up, and so I thought, naturally--"
Young Warren grunted contemptuously.
"We dressed for dinner, that is all," said Caroline.
"You--you mean you put these clothes on every night?"
Captain Elisha was plainly very much astonished.
"Well," he observed, slowly. "I--guess I've made another mistake. Hum! Good night."
"Good night," said Stephen, quickly. Caroline, however, seemed embarrassed.
"Captain Warren," she said, "I thought possibly you might wish to talk business with my brother and me. We--we understand that you have come on business connected with father's will. It seems to me that the sooner we--we--"
"Get it over the better, hey? Well, maybe you're right. It's an odd business for an old salt like me to be mixed up in, that's a fact. If it hadn't been so odd, if I hadn't thought there must be some reason, some partic'lar reason, I--well, I guess I'd have stayed to home where I belong. You mustn't think," he added, seriously, "that I don't realize I'm as out of place amongst you and your rich friends as a live fish in a barrel of sawdust. That's all right; you needn't trouble to say no. But you must understand that, realizin' it, I'm not exactly imposin' myself on you for pleasure or--well, from choice. I'm so built that I can't shirk when my conscience tells me I shouldn't, that's all. I'm kind of tired to-night, and I guess you are. To-morrow mornin', if it's agreeable to all hands, we will have a little business talk. I'll have to see Lawyer Graves pretty soon, and have a gen'ral look at your pa's affairs. Then, if everything is all right and I feel my duty's done, I'll probably go back to the Cape and leave you to him, or somebody else able to look out for you. Until then I'm afraid," with a smile which had a trace of bitterness in it; "I'm afraid you'll have to do the best you can with me. I'll try to be no more of a nuisance than I can help. Good night."
When the two young people were left alone, Caroline turned to her brother.
"Steve," she said, "I'm afraid you were a little rude. I'm afraid you hurt his feelings."
The boy stared at her in wonder. "Hurt his feelings!" he exclaimed. "His feelings! Well, by Jove! Caro, you're a wonder! Did you expect me to throw my arms around his neck? If he had had any feelings at all, if he was the slightest part of a gentleman, do you suppose he would come here and disgrace us as he is doing? Who invited him? Did we? I guess not!"
"But he is father's brother, and father asked him to come."
"No, he didn't. He asked him--heaven knows why--to look out for our money affairs. That's bad enough; but he didn't ask him to live with us. He sha'n't! by gad, he sha'n't! You may be as sweet to him as you like, but I'll make it my business to give him the cold shoulder every chance I get. I'll freeze him out, that's what I'll do--freeze him out. Why, Caro! be sensible. Think what his staying here means. Can we take him about with us? Can our friends meet him as--as our uncle? He's got to be made to go. Hasn't he now? Hasn't he?"
The girl was silent for a moment. Then she covered her face with her hands. "Oh, yes!" she sobbed. "Oh, yes, he must! He must! Why did father do it?"