The Wisdom of Eve
Young Blair evolves a brand new matrimonial approach—by teaching Evanne Hilyard’s choleric father how to make a 250-yard drive, straight off the tee.
BUSINESS & INVESTMENTS
AFTER his morning round of golf Ronald Blair came to the sands, if the water were warm and the waves decorated by girls sufficiently pretty, he would swim. Otherwise he would talk tothe fascinating Mrs. Kernwood who had been so amusing at the Country Club dance the night before Mrs. Kernwood was one of tnose legitimate widows whose past was spotlessly iridescent. She was young and sophisticated enough to be included in the doings of the younger set, and because she was Jim Kernwood’s distinguished widow, to mix with the older people. Thus Isabel Kernwood at Elcanco provoked the jealousy of both classes of women and was enabled to enjoy the companionship of every eligible male.
every Ronald’s mother had discussed her freely.
“There are only two people here I could agree to receive as daughters-in-law.”
Her son sighed. “At first I thought you were proposing polygamy for me. I fear it was only verbal carelessness.”
“One,” said Mrs. Blair serenely, "is Evanne Hilyard and the other Isabel Kernwood. As you have not yet seen Evanne, you incline no doubt to Isabel. She is very Hever and adroit. Those who whisper scandal
As a woman I see is to lead men to
about her are wrong, that her chief delight declare themselves.”
“I love that phrase,” said Ronald reminds one of auction.”
“And is therefore quite fitting in this instance. Isabel strives only for the moment when the victim becomes just as other foolish men and offers himself. I know positively that she records the various forms of declaration in a book, together with any unusual ways of approach.” Ronald frowned a little. He had laid himself out to entertain Mrs. Kernwood no later than last night and she had seemed to be more than a little interested in his epigrams. As he thought it over, his frown passed. He had been at his best last night.
“Not a very sporting thing to do,” he commented.
“Women did not invent your silly phrase ‘playing the game’,” his mother retorted. “I don’t disapprove of Isabel’s tactics at all. I only disapprove of you as a victim. She has a gift for caricature. Has she yet sketched you?”
“No,” he answered, “but she has already
commented on the shape of my head..”
“That is how she always begins. Ronald, my dear lad, although you have an air of extreme sophistication, at heart you are simple. Isabel will deteriorate brilliantly. If you married her you might merely drink
excessively, which is merely degradation. I am not so stupid as to think I can influence you, but Evanne is the one I should choose. Her father is intolerable, but her mother and I were at school together in Lausanne years and years ago.”
Ronald Blair agreed with his mother as to Judge Hilyard. As in the case of so many men who have taken to golf late in life, it had become a pursuit and not a pleasure. In insisting on the etiquette of the game being observed by a player and caddy alike he had won for himself in the manner of his insistence unenviable fame. The Judge specially disliked Ronald Blair. Ronald had sneezed just as the Judge was about to sink a two-foot putt and the ball had evaded the cup when winning the hole would have given the Judge his only prize in competition. Ronald had remarked to his caddy that the Judge would never be even a class-five player. Ronald’s caddy had told the pessimist who carried the Judge’s clubs and this victim had revealed it to his patron.
“The Judge hates me,” said Ronald. “If his daughter is anything like him, I’m safe from her charms.”
“I have never even seen her,” said Mrs. Blair. “But as she is said to be like her mother, she must
be a very lovely girl. She arrived last night. I shall call. You had better come with me.”
“Never!” he cried. “The Judge loathes me. I sliced into the rough at the ninth last week and he was there, as usual, hunting for his ball. I’m sure I didn’t hurt him, but he roared with rage and picked up mine and hurled it among some clumps of what he hoped were poison oaks. I shouldn’t feel comfortable in his house.”
ON THIS particular morning of a California summer Ronald decided not to swim. He recognized the
brilliant Japanese sunshade of Isabel Kernwood. Oddly, she was alone. Silently he made his way until he sat just behind her. There was now a certain provocative feeling as of accepting a flung-down gauntlet in talking to Mrs. Kernwood, who lampooned those who loved her and caricatured such as offered their fortunes. Perhaps his mother had been right in terming his a simple nature, but he despised people who did not “play the game.” Mrs. Kernwood would not get any moon-calf passion from him.
“You probably don’t know it,” he began, “but the ideographs running around your sunshade means something very charming. Did you know that?”
The sunshade’s owner made no reply.
“T ranslated it reads, ‘Stop clouds to see her pass’.”
Isabel Kernwood was still unstirred to conversation.
“You are very lovely,” he went on, “and if I were a cloud I should pause to see you pass and then drift on shielding you from the too hot sun and weeping perfumed rain that I was only a cloud.”
This time the sunshade moved. Ronald Blair looked into the face of a very lovely girl, but assuredly not that of Isabel Kernwood. Isabel was black and green in coloring. The stranger was gold and blue. Ronald Blair made a desperate and successful effort to regain his self-possession. To apologize abjectly now would make him seem a careless fool. His one aim was to carry the thing out successfully which he had begun in error.
“I am not romancing,” he observed. “What I say is true. I was three years at our embassy in Tokyo. This is a genuine sunshade quite unlike the rest on the sands.”
“And you learned in our embassy to descend weeping in perfumed rain on the sunshades of perfect strangers?”
“Only of perfect strangers,” he emphasized. “Strictly speaking, that was no pait of my duty, but we had hours that were not excessive and I had to study the language. My name is Ronald Blair. I think your people know my mother.”
Ronald thought this a very adroit move. It took him out of the class of the nameless seekers for adventure. It established him as the son of a woman highly respected in society.
The girl smiled for the first time. He had never seen anyone so charming.
“There should be another word,” he said warmly. “Lovely, beautiful, fascinating—they are done to death. I have been so wasteful of words that I have no unique ones to describe you.”
The smile died.
“I shouldn’t dream of putting you to the trouble,” she said. “Are clouds ever stationary? I thought they passed by one?”
“I am not that unfaithful sort of a cloud,” he asserted. “This is an informal sort of introduction, I admit, but one is informal here in the balmy climate.”
“So you call this an introduction because your mother knows my family?” She smiled again. “In the East one
is more formal, it seems. Of course this sort of introduction is only possible if you really know my name.” “You don’t suppose,” he said, “I should have ventured to speak if I had not?” He infused reproach in his manner. Presently he would take his leave and find out who she was and where she lived. He had forgotten Isabel Kernwood, with her green eyes and black hair, at a smile from this lovely and younger unknown.
A DREADFUL thought struck him. Suppose she should not be living at the Elcanto colony but be merely a visitor from some other coast resort who would pass out of his life. “I’m never quite sure,” he went on,, striving to appear at ease, how you spell your name. It’s so offensive to have one’s name misspelled. We hate being called B-l-a-r-e, for instance.” “We spell it with one l,” she answered.
“I wasn’t sure,” he said. “Thank you. One l. That simplifies it.” He was no nearer of knowing it than before. If he asked her to spell the whole name she would probably detect his motive and disappear in anger. Safer, he decided, not to press the matter yet.
The girl was not in bathing costume. Presently she asked him the time.
“Dad promised to come and fetch me, but he must have forgotten.”
“Never,” said Ronald. “He has been killed.”
“What do you mean?” she cried, alarmed.
“Simply that nobody could forget to come and fetch you.
Only deatn would stop me if you asked.”
“I expect nothing more serious than a puncture.” She rose to her feet. “I can easily get some one to drive me home. It must be almost luncheon time.”
“It is,” he said briskly. “My car is not a hundred yards away and as one who never puts two I’s in your name I claim the right to take you home.”
The girl looked at him closely.
She saw a good-looking man of twenty-five who was tremendously attracted to her. The symptoms were unmistakable.
She knew of him and his mother very well, but she did not for a moment believe that he had guessed her name. It would be rather amusing to find out. Demurely she climbed into his roadster of price. She judged him. to be clever. It would be a test of it if he wormed the name and address from her now.
Before he could start the car a very slim and fascinating woman with green eyes waved her hand at him. The girl felt a sudden pang of dislike for her. The gesture and the smile were nicely calculated.
They told the blue and gold girl that the man at her side was marked down as prey for this svelte creature walking toward them. There was an assurance, too, in the green-eyed woman’s bearing which spoke of tender passages. It was quite likely, thought the girl with gold hair, that the man would believe this dark woman had not seen his passenger, whereas the younger felt certain that it was because of her that the other had commanded him to stop.
“Oh, Ronald,” said Mrs. Kernwood, “what time are we riding this afternoon?” She started a little and smiled prettily. “I hadn’t a ghost of an idea you had anyone with you.” Yet she looked through her narrowed eyes at the younger, and the younger knew that in this quick glance there was warning and a threat. A warning that the particularly good-looking man was her property, and a threat that any interference with her prior rights would be resented. “Please introduce me.”
RONALD BLAIR hoped that he was able to preserve an air of calm.
“Mrs. Kernwood,” he said mechanically, and then paused helplessly.
“I’m Evanne Hilyard,” said the younger sweetly. “You probably know my father.”
“With one l," Ronald said firmly. “They get annoyed if you spell it with two.”
Isabel Kernwood looked at him for an unsmiling moment. There was a hint of cruelty in her jade eyes.
“I shall be very careful to pronounce it with two Vs," she said. “Is it two or half past?”
“Half past,” he said.
When the car had started he turned to the girl He felt there was nothing to be gained by further deception.
“It was awfully good of you to come to the rescue like that,” he said gratefully.
“It wasn’t goodness at all,” she retorted. “It was sheer self-protection. Do you suppose I wanted Mrs. Kernwood to know I was riding with some one who didn’t even know my name?”
“I know your father well,” he said, “and my mother was at school with yours in Lausanne years ago.”
“So that was why you sat behind me and read Japanese proverbs on my sunshade.”
“Naturally,” he said. “What other reason could there be?”
“I’m afraid this is not your lucky day. I happened to notice that Mrs. Kernwood had a sunshade exactly like mine. If I were you, Mr. Blair, I wouldn’t try to think up anything else. The further you go the deeper you get in.”
“All of which may be true,” he remarked, “but I shall contend to the moment of death that this is my lucky day.”
She stifled a cry as his powerful car turned a sharp grade at a perilous speed. “The moment of death is not very far off, I’m afraid.”
“I trod on the accelerator without meaning to,” he explained. “Regard it as a sign of joy.”
“I wish I could make you sad,” she answered. “I’m not. yet tired of life.”
“I’ll go slowly,” he said. “I am penitent.”
“So you know dad well?” she asked presently.
“We talk about golf constantly,” he said. “He was; kind enough to find my ball in the rough by the ninth hole a day or so back. He knows every stone and weed there,. I wonder what you are laughing at?”
The blue and gold girl was evidently very much amused.
“Some of the golfers here don’t seem to like him.”
“Not like your father? Impossible!” Ronald Blairknew in that moment he had never appreciated the Judge sufficiently. He was a great man, the dean of corporation lawyers, world-famous.
“What is a ‘class-five’ golfer?” she demanded.
Blair’s kindly sentiments were halted ere they expanded.
“A mere way of expressing highhandicap men,” he said. “I used to be a class-five golfer. The phrase is used not in contemptbut to show the various grades ip competitions.”
“Curious,” she mused, “how the thing exasperated dad. There is one particularly conceited player here who called him that, or rather sent a message by his caddy. As you know dad so well and talk about golf so much with him, you will understand how angry he would be.”
“I can quite imagine it,” he said soberly. “Your father is inclined to be unjust sometimes.”
“You should tell him so,” she returned. “I think he takes golf altogether too seriously. Don’t you?”
“I most certainly do,” he said, ^almost vehemently. He called to mind with peculiar distinctness the inflamed face of Judge Hilyard when the sliced ball had bounded up and struck him when he was searching for his own in the rough. Judge Hilyard had declared no gentleman or sportsman would choose a moment when another player was bending down, to drive a ball at him with such force. Judge Hilyard had a booming voice and a great command of stinging phrases. “He ought to take up something less excitin'g.” “Such as?” she queried^ “Well, croquet,” he said; “some game where slicing isn’t so costly.”
“I am so glad you agree with me,” she said. Her manner was charming.
“I could think of nothing simpler or more attractive than agreeing with you,” he said boldly.
“That is so easy to, say,” she returned. “Would you agree with me if what you had to say was not agreeable to some one else?”
“Try me,” he said confidently. He did not know what she meant and he did not particularly care. At last he was alive to the joy of living. Only a short hour ago he had believed Isabel Kernwood represented all that was lovely and desirable in woman.
He ran his car under the porte-cochere of the Hilyard house, a coral pink structure overlooking the bay. He was glad that the redoubtable Judge was not to be seen. There were many things to be adjusted ere he came a welcome visitor to this hilltop bungalow.
“As Mrs. Blair was at school with mother,” she said smiling, "and you are such a close friend of dad’s, I’m sure he would be awfully annoyed if I didn’t ask you to luncheon.”
Words of refusal would not come; but the prospect of sitting opposite a man who had sworn to drive him from the club was fear-inspiring. Yet to refuse was impossible. Dimly he was aware that the girl knew more than she said. Perhaps this was her method of punishment. And a few minutes before he had told himself that Isabel Kernwood was cruel. They were all cruel. She was looking at him now wondering by what adroit excuses he would make his escape. She could see that he was not to be terrified.
“That’s delightful,” he said. For a moment he thought she looked disappointed as though she had not anticipated an acceptance.
“You are more than a reckless driver,” she said. “I thought”—here she smiled a little—“I thought perhaps that my father’s reputation for sarcasm might frighten you away.”
Ronald Blair was in very much the same position as the hero of that sentimental ballad who “threw away his sail and his oars and his rudder.” Inevitable disaster was ahead. He had either to show the girl he was afraid, or go grimly to an alarming luncheon. He knew she was watching him closely.
“Nothing human could frighten me away from accepting,” he said. “I look to you to keep the conversation away from golf. Golf at luncheon bores one.”
“Dad thrives on it,” she said. “He talks even more about golfers than golf. Here he is.”
She ran forward to meet her father. Assuredly there was no hint of irascibility about Judge Hilyard now. The harsh lines of his face softened. He was another man. Judge Hilyard stood revealed as a human being.
“I’ve brought one of your golfing friends home to luncheon,” she said.
Ronald saw the Judge’s frame stiffen aggressively.
“Golfing friends!” the Judge repeated. “I didn’t know I had any.”
Ronald Blair tried to make his entrance in such a manner that the other would understand what was said on the links need not prejudice one at a social gathering. He smiled at the Judge and held out his hand. He found himself babbling incoherently. The Judge’s look, professionally famous, was unnerving.
“My memory may be at fault, Mr. Blair,” said the Judge. “Perhaps it is; but I have no recollection of being at school with you in Lausanne. But I have other memories of you so vivid and disturbing that only the presence of my daughter prevents me from reminding you of them.” He turned to Evanne. “What would you think of the character of a man who watched his opportunity and then drove a ball at a short-sighted and elderly player and bruised him severely?”
Ronald Blair gasped at her answer. He wondered how she dare commit lese majeste.
“I should say he was a very good shot, dad. Now don’t argue about golf. I’m famished.”
She put her arm in that of her father and led him to a table placed on the tiled veranda whence he could see golfers like midgets making their rounds a thousand feet below him. Blair noticed that at the Judge’s place was a pair of binoculars. Golf, apparently, was served even at his meals. Before sitting he looked through the glasses. Vindictive joy pervaded his face.
"Ah,” he cried, “good! Young Welles has just driven out of bounds at the fifteenth. A detestable youth, Evanne. He is the close companion of an equally detestable and flippant young man who, because he commenced the game when he should have been studying, has now attained a low handicap. Of the two I may say I much prefer Welles, although I would cheerfully walk twenty miles on a hot day, in shoes a size too small, to see him hanged.”
"W ho is the other man?” Evanne demanded.
“He claims to have been at school with me in Lausanne,” her father said grimly.
HPHE phrase “a sickly smile” occurred to Ronald Blair.
He had often read of them and wondered what they were. Now he knew. He was exhibiting one for the Hilyards to see. Fortunately a sequence of family matters came up for discussion and he was ignored. He had the opportunity to see that the Judge worshipped his daughter. In her company he had proved to be another man. Presently Blair heard the Judge discussing his health. Apparently his blood pressure was abnormally high.
“Mr. Blair,” said Evanne, “thinks you should take up croquet.”
“May I ask why?” the Judge roared, looking at his guest.
Ronald made futile gestures. He was horrified at this treachery.
“Mr. Blair said it was a game where slicing wasn’t costly.”
“I recommend it to all golfers,” Blair remarked, deaf to the strange gurgling that proceeded from his host. “I find it helps my putting very much. I should not have won the Western Open this year if I had not played croquet. It keeps the eye in training.”
“Most adroitly done,” sneered the Judge, “but I am not easily deceived. Drowning men are said to snatch at straws.” He turned to his daughter. “Did you gather any other interesting things from Mr. Blair?”
“Only that you know every weed and stone at the rough by the ninth hole. Dad, is that true?”
There was a long pause. “I was counting fifty,” said her father when he began. “I owed it to my arteries. If you must know, Evanne, I frequently slice from the ninth tee. I do it because insolent young jackanapes playing behind hurry me and make me press. Too many strangers play here.” The Judge glared so malevolently at Ronald that the amateur champion of his province knew nothing could save him.
“You slice,” he said quietly, “because your stance is wrong and you jerk your neck directly you hit the ball. Furthermore, you don’t carry through. You have tremendous strength and all you get out of it is that you drive the pill into the ground. I’ve yet to see you hit a clean drive. You top them all and you pull your right wrist in as you hit.”
“Anything else you’ve noticed?” the Judge asked huskily.
“Those are your chief faults. They, could be corrected easily enough if you hadn’t such an utterly damnable temper. Nobody dares to tell you anything. Consequently you remain a class-five golfer when you could easily play the course in the low eighties.”
The Judge checked his outburst. The low eighties! There was something alluring in the very sound to one who always topped the century. The young man before him was by all odds the best player in the club. Just as in his sphere of corporation law the Judge was entitled to a respectful hearing, so in the matter of golf this champion should be listened to. He had said several things which the Judge found reasonable. Other people had hinted at them in other years. It had always exasperated the Judge that his great physical strength availed him so little on the links.
“When a man is hitting a long, straight ball,” Blair went on, “he doesn’t give a whoop how many people are on the tee watching him drive off.” The Judge saw that Blair was addressing Evanne. “Your father could be made into a good golfer if he would listen to reason. I’m not a professional instructor, but if I spent a half-hour with him out there on the lawn he might wreck the turf but he wouldn’t slice. I know his faults exactly.”
“Then why don’t you offer to help him?” Evanne asked. “He found your ball for you the other day when you lost it.”
“There’s nothing I should like to do better,” the young man said warmly. But you know how irritable he is. He might think I was trying to insult him.”
“He would think so,” she observed.
“Nothing of the sort!” cried the Judge.
He awakened from a vision in which by long, clean, straight drives he had beaten all those who were in the habit of triumphing over him. He saw himself a consistent member of the second flighters, the leader of all men of his age. This debonair young man who apparently had known Evanne a long tim'è had style, that magic thing which Hilyard respected. Blair, although not a man of marked physical development, had a tremendous drive. Hilyard had seen him drive three hundred yards. The Judge had rowed number four in the Yale boat for three years. His was a mighty chest and his biceps were still lissom. With proper training he might drive four hundred yards. He might become, eventually, the longest driver of all time. Evanne was puzzled at the expression of urbanity which irradiated him. Ronald looked at him as one might at a beast about to spring.
‘"“pHIS is not the moment,’’Judge Hilyard said blandly, “to call to mind the petty irritations engendered by golfing ill luck. No doubt in the heat of the moment I myself may have exceeded my privileges. I admit, for instance, that I had no right to pick up Mr. Blair’s ball and throw it away. If I did so it was because I was stung physically and wounded morally at what I conceived to be a planned insult.” The Judge turned upon his guest. “I was in error. Forgive me.”
Bereft of words,Ronald Blair made ineffectual gestures. Again the phrase “a sickly smile” recurred. He could see Evanne, too, was speechless.
“I am prepared,” the Judge went on, “to wreck part of my lawn if you can make me drive a straight ball.” Some old-time caution returned. “But if after destroying my turf I should be no better, I should cherish the hardest feelings toward you, Mr. Blair.”
“If you’ll follow my directions you must improve,” said Blair, “I’ll ask Miss Hilyard to referee.”
“Fair enough,” the elder commented. “I have two
dozen repainted balls to experiment with. Excuse me, Evanne, I will go and get my driver.”
“Can you achieve the impossible?” Evanne asked when her father was gone.
“I managed to get here to luncheon,” he smiled, “and after that, what is difficult?”
“Bad golf has soured dad’s disposition,” she confessed. “If you could contrive to improve it, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for you.”
“I know,” he said. “That’s why I’m doing it.”
She smiled. “Aren’t you doing it because you like him?”
“Very remotely,” he answered. “I’m doing it because——”
He was interrupted by the return of the Judge, who held a club in one hand and a box of balls in the other.
“With this club,” he announced, “I have never made a clean drive. If you can make me use it decen£ly, the battle is won.” The Judge was not as radiant as he had been. Every repainted ball grinned up at him with the deep scars his irons had given it. They recalled frenzied moments in bunkers. Enthusiasm died down. He no longer believed it possible that he would ever be known as the world’s longest driver. And with this changed mood something of his old antagonism to Ronald Blair returned. “We shall see whether or not you overestimate your own ability as a teacher.”
“Or your intelligence as a pupil,” Ronald said coldly. The change of tone had modified his own dreams. He looked at the gashed balls and shook his head. “These,” he went on, “show that essentially you have not the golfer’s temperament. You regard each ball as your enemy to be slashed into submission. Look at the poor wounded things. You use all your force in an attempt to annihilate them.”
“And what, pray, is your attitude?” asked the judge, frowning.
“I look upon the ball as a friend whom I shall meet again some two hundred and fifty yards down the fairway. I do not drive him into the earth as you do. I follow through with my stroke. You simply chop.”
Ronald teed up a ball.
“Drive it as you usually do,” he commanded.
JUDGE HILYARD did so. It was his intention to prove that with all his faults of style he could occasionally hit a mighty swat. He topped the ball so that it ran shamefacedly some eighty yards and hid in a lily pond.
Ronald took the club from his unresisting hand and examined it.
“Any club that can stand such maltreatment,” he observed, “should be in a golfing museum.”
“It is a despicable club,” the Judge declared. “It is not well balanced. The head is too heavy and the shaft isn’t true.”
Evanne watched Ronald tee up his ball and swing. The ball fell among the flowers in a garden far away. The player looked at the club almost tenderly. “It’s a peach?” he murmured. “I’ll give you ten dollars for it.” “You couldn’t do it again,” the Judge grumbled. Again the ball fell among the Waynes’s flowers. Judge Hilyard hesitated. Something of his assertiveness fell from him.
“I’m ready,” he announced. “What is wrong with
Not once did the Judge rebel at the instructions. He stood as he was directed and swung as he was directed until he was weary. At last he was allowed to tee up a ball. He found himself in a different attitude of mind as well as body. He was to sweep the sphere gently off the tee and meet it two hundred and fifty yards down the fairway. Since he was a man of intelligence, he remembered his instruction and neither pressed nor chopped. It seemed to him he was using no strength at all. Magically the ball rose, soared through the air and came to rest with its two companions in the garden below.
“Great Scott!” cried the Judge. “Did you see that? Not a slice on it, not a pull. Straight as a die. A perfect stroke! Two hundred and eighty yards if it was an inch.
If I had only hit hard--”
“You might have sliced it three hundred yards. You would have been off the line.”
“Extraordinary, extraordinary!” the Judge muttered. “Absolutely straight. I wouldn’t have believed it possible. And you think I can do this again?”
“If you keep calm there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. If you fret and fume you’ll never do anything but pull a top and slice.”
Evanne had gone inside to the telephone. The Judge, overcome by emotion, sat down. “It seems like a miracle,” he declared. “You come along out of a clear sky and make me do that.” He peered at the distant garden of the Waynes. “By the way, what did you come for?”
“To tell you I wanted to marry your daughter.” . “You are but one of many,” the Judge remarked. “Was that all?”
“Was that all?” “I hoped you would not make any objections, sir. I am in a position to support her as she has been accustomed to
live. You know of my family.”
Continued on page 87
Continued from page 26
The Wisdom of Eve
“She must decide that. As a matter of fact she decides almost everything in this household. It’s just likely she has already decided to marry you. In that case no struggles will avail. She invariably gets her own way.” The Judge lighted a cigar. “You won’t mind if I am not in the mood to talk much just now, I hope? I cannot get over the astonishment I experience at being able to drive a ball straight. I see all my errors. I stand before you a new man. I suppose I shall see a great deal of you now you’re engaged to Evanne.” “But I’m not,” said Ronald. “I may never be.”
“It’s her affair,” said the Judge. He went into a day-dream of what he would do to a hitherto close rival when he met him again on the links at Chevy Chase.
BLAIR walked over the lawn to Evanne.
“It was that pretty, dark woman, Mrs. Kernwood,” she said. “It’s almost three and you promised to ride with her at half-past two. I told her you were teaching me golf. Of course in a way you were. She seemed quite angry. You won’t be very late if you hurry.”
“I am not going yet,” he said.
“You are behaving very badly to Mrs. Kernwood. I knew she was simply furious at finding me in your car. She was watching us on the sands. She probably thinks I had a Japanese sunshade like hers simply to lure you on. I expect she saw the whole thing.”
“Were you very angry?” he asked softly.
“Naturally. No girl likes to hear pretty things said to her under the impression she is somebody else.”
“I should have said prettier things if I had known it was you.”
“I wonder.” She looked at him keenly. He was distinctly the type she liked most among men. His behavior at the very difficult luncheon had been admirable. She knew that he was one of the most able of the young Canadians who have sought service in the British diplomatic service since the war, and had a brilliant future if he chose to work and an ample fortune if he abandoned his profession.
“Try me,” he said. “You might be a little kind considering the trap you led me into. I’ll admit I deserved some discipline, but to meet your father like that was devitalizing.”
“You made a most extraordinary success in converting him.”
“I had to,” he said. “I needed his consent.”
“For Heaven’s sake, don’t let him hear you,” she said, flushing a little. “He’d be furious. You know what a temper he has.”
“On the contrary, he gave me his blessing.”
“You didn’t dare ask him that?”
“I did. You see, Evanne, I knew that I was in love at last and I thought I should nave a better chance if I were allowed to come and see you without the danger of being thrown down the mountain side. I am playing in a four-ball match with him to-morrow. Doesn’t that prove I’m not joking?”
The girl started a little as she heard her father’s shout.
“I’ve done it again,” the Judge cried. “There are now four balls in the garden not a foot apart.” He came toward them and took Ronald’s hand. “I grasp your theory exactly. Hitherto I have detested the idea of a son-in-law.” He turned to Evanne. “You have chosen wisely,” he remarked. “I am going to reduce all those golden directions to writing while they are still fresh in my mind. Of course I shall see you both at dinner.”
“What have you done?” the girl cried.
“What has he done?” Ronald answered.
“It’s most embarrassing,” she said, her cheeks reddening.
“I can stand it if you can,” he said. “The real problem is your father, whose brittle arteries must be kept from too much strain. I firmly believe if he finds out he is wrong that he will die of sneer rage.”
“It will annoy him frightfully,” she agreed.
“The only satisfactory way out for all of us is for you to let him think he’s right.” He looked at her anxiously.
“So you think that will be satisfactory to me?”
“I suppose not,” he sighed. “I shouldn’t deserve that luck.” He flushed a little. “But all the same I mean that I love you. I’m afraid I’ve made an awful hash of things.”
“Mrs. Kernwood will make you forget me,” she said.
“I shall never forget you,” he said somberly. “If I could there might be some chance of happiness for me.”
“How tragic you are!” she laughed.
He looked at ner reproachfully. “I suppose you tnink I have made a pretty complete ass of myself.”
“I merely think you are rather silly.” Her voice was so tender he glanced at her in surprise. “You see, directly I saw you I decided you were the man.”