The Family Intervenes
Wherein an altogether charming sophisticate teaches her woolly lamb and his shepherds a thing or two about the fine art of making love
Mr. Alden Grainville,
30 Blank Street, Toronto.
Arrive tomorrow morning 8.25 stop set alarm clock and meet me stop love and kisses don’t stop Monkey.
ALDEN was late to dinner. The other members of the family sat around the table looking characteristic. Mr. J. Gordon Grainville scowled. Molly wore an expression of extreme boredom. Mrs. Grainville looked like patience on a monument, smiling at grief.
“The trouble with an only son—” J. Gordon began; and was cut short by the slamming of the front door, followed by a cluff-clup of feet mounting carpeted stairs.
Alden—six feet tall, with hair as blonde as Jessica’s had been at eighteen and his father’s dark eyes—stood in the doorway, unbuttoning a blue guard’s coat over a muffler of stripes so brilliant that they hurt Mr. Grainville’s eyes.
Jessica’s, “Alden dear, I’ve been so worried . . . ” Molly’s “There you are, goof!” and Mr. Grainville’s, “What the devil is the idea?” all sounded simultaneously.
Alden flung his coat on a chair—from which it immediately slipped to the floor—and came into the dining room muttering, “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry,” in a voice that expressed anything but regret; in a voice, indeed, that said more plainly than words: "If I’d known this I wouldn’t have come home at all.”
“I’ll ring for your soup, dear,” his mother said, and gazed sorrowfully at her salad plate.
“I don’t care for any soup, thank you.” Alden put his elbow on the table and rested his forehead on his hand. “I don’t want anything but coffee. A large cup, and black. I’m in a hurry.”
Mr. Grainville exploded: “The idea of coming in at this hour and then demanding coffee before we've had our dessert. Either you ...”
“Oh, leave him alone, dad,” Molly interrupted, tilting her chair backward. “Can’t you see he’s in love again? Symptom one; bad manners. Symptom two. . . ” Alden straightened as though he had been stuck by a hatpin.
"You mind your own business, Molly Grainville! And
the next time I get a telegram I’ll open it myself if you don’t object.”
He stood up. With a cold nod to his father, “I’ll get my coffee outside, where it won’t inconvenience you,” he said.
Before anyone answered he had swung out through the doorway, and by the time the startled stares of the family had broken into a surf of speech the front door had slammed again.
“Sweet disposition, eh?” murmured Molly.
“Sometimes I feel sure it's life’s way of balancing accounts,” Jessica Grainville sighed. “It would have been so much better for the children if we had remained poor. All this luxury. But the ways of the Lord ...” “Yes, yes, my dear,” Mr. Grainville muttered, subduing his sense of irritation. If only, he thought, Jessica had been a trifle less like a well fed and well turned out Christian martyr! Theirs had been a love match, an elopement, but Jessica, he felt, could not forgive him his success. She had lost the distinction of self sacrifice, and as they prospered J. Gordon had watched her lovely face grow permanently sad for no better reason than the lack of any reason whatever. “The ways of the Lord ...” He twiddled the black cord that attached his eyeglass. “About the telegram, Molly. Were you joking?”
“Nowadays,” Molly yawned, “people do send telegrams on other occasions than anniversaries and sudden deaths. Alden got one and I opened it. By mistake, of course.”
“Of course,” echoed Mrs. Grainville with sympathy.
“Of course,” echoed J. Gordon with heavy sarcasm.
“Anyway, I opened it. And now that you’ve made a hash of trying to marry Alden to the McAllister heiress, and now that you’ve succeeded in getting him out of the clutches of most of the designing females of Canada, you can have some real fun. I have a hunch this one means business. She’s coming all the way from New York to see him.”
Mrs. Grainville folded her hands and murmured something that sounded like “mercy;” but her blue eyes brightened as they always did in times of trouble.
“I keep myself fairly well informed,” Molly went on, “for a woman who doesn’t need to make her living by blackmail. She’s called Monkey.”
“Called . . . which?”
“Monkey, if that gives you any clue to her character. I think the name’s Grayson, and she’s an American. Alden met her last summer at Murray Bay. The Butlers were up there at the time and they saw her. It seems she’s a wild one. She’s fully twenty-one, and you know what that means with a woman—that she’s at least fifty years wiser than Alden.”
“Which isn’t saying much.”
“To conclude, I gather that she’s planning to stay at the Royal Tudor for a week or so; as long as it takes to compromise a pure young man, I assume.”
“Dear me,” Mrs. Grainville whispered, “it seems too, too bad. Why can’t Alden settle down? Why can’t he choose some nice girl and—”
“Dad chooses the nice girls for him,” said Molly wearily. “And that does two things. It puts his back up; and it only leaves him those who aren’t nice to choose from himself.”
“Perhaps . . . hm . . . there’s something in what you say.” Mr. Grainville frowned. “But what the devil am I to do? If I threaten to disown him he’ll walk out of his own accord; he’s that sort of son. And I can’t very well lock him up, or lock her up. In short, my hands are tied.”
At this point it was Alden's mother who startled them into alertness by saying in a positive voice:
“Gordon, it’s high time for the family to interfere.
I have an idea, Gordon ...”
“Well!” gasped Molly.
“It seems the age of miracles hasn’t passed after all.”
IN ALL innocence Alden Grainville marched up and down the station platform at eight-twenty the following morning.
His tie was right, his hat was pulled over his eyes, his brilliant scarf was crossed under his chin, and—having had breakfast in his room and thus escaped meeting any member of the family on his way out—he could afford to whistle the latest foxtrot and smile to himself.
Alden supposed, indulgently, that all families were fools about only sons. It was probable that in the history of the Dominion of Canada no other boy had ever been more thoroughly misunderstood than Alden. Jessica, J. Gordon, even Molly, agreed in a single error; the error of mistaking a quite experienced and sophisticated young man for a lamb likely to be led astray by any unscrupulous woman who came along. In the first place, Alden found unscrupulous women very scarce. Most of the women he had known, including those who had terrified his family, had been extremely kind—too kind, if anything—so that it always made him feel rather
a brute when their ineluctable kindness made a break essential. But why, Alden wondered, did they so persistently believe that he was going to marry every girl with whom he had a summer flirtation?
That idiotic scene last night, for instance. He could picture all too clearly the family conclave, with its object of saving Alden from the unknown peril, in this case the peril from New York.
Alden shrugged and lighted a cigarette. Served him right, he supposed, for kidding Molly; trying to impress upon her the importance of his latest escapade. “The peril from New York.” Dear, gay little Monkey; how she would laugh when he told her about it—if he told her about it. Monkey, after all, might not quite see that it was a tremendous joke; this idea of his family that he might marry her. Girls were funny that way. No senses of humor, or was it sense of humors? The fact was, that while he whistled and smiled in anticipation of seeing and flirting with Monkey, nothing was farther from his mind than a proposal of marriage. Or farther, he imagined, from Monkey’s.
His whistling stopped as he heard the dull rumble of an incoming train; and half a minute later Monkey, behind a porter wheeling a truck piled high with elegantly covered bags and boxes, was trotting up toward him. He scarcely knew how he recognized her, there was so little visible except the immense fur coat in which she was wrapped; but from somewhere inside the voluminous folds two tiny hands reached for his, and a white triangular face enclosed in brown felt lifted a valentine of a mouth.
Monkey babbled: “Alden, my woolly lamb, I thought you had deserted me, I couldn’t see you anywhere and Alden—listen! Do you think I’m crazy? Do you?
Coming all the way up here to see you, precious?”
“No,” said Alden, relieving Monkey of her jewel case, which, like the rest of her luggage, was folded in tan cravanette and monogrammed V. M. G.
“Of course you wouldn’t. You’d think I was crazy if I travelled that distance to see anyone else. But honestly, even my family, who accept my madness with the best grace in the world, were flabbergasted. ‘Toronto,’ they cried with frenzied gestures. ‘Why Toronto?’ And I said—”
“Do shut up, Monkey. You’re dragging me in the wrong direction. We go through this tunnel—”
“Oo, how romantic, Alden! Tunnels. ‘And inch by inch they burrowed their way among the darkness and the rolling stones that gathered no moss—' ”
“ ‘Until at length they saw a creak of day, and what was it but the Royal Tudor!’ Am I right, Alden Grainville, or am I wrong?”
“I’m afraid,” said Alden, relieving her of the fur coat, which proved to be only an outer layer protecting another fur coat, “that you’re quite right.”
“I wear them,” said Monkey, regarding the second coat which concealed a smart tweed one matching her costume, “because they’re too bulky to pack, and not because I have any wish to increase my resemblance to a furred porcupine. If there is a furred—”
“You’d better register, Monkey.”
“Oo, Alden, I love you so. Oo, I’m so happy ...” Alden felt his neck getting very hot. To the room clerk he said grimly:
“I believe you have a room and bath reserved for Miss Vera Monks-Grayson of New York?”
The room clerk had.
“Darleeng,” cooed Monkey, “you don’t mind sitting here for just five minutes while I scrub myself?”
“Make it five minutes, and not five hours, will you?” Monkey made it an hour and a quarter.
But she looked so pretty, so adorably irresponsible and absurd when she finally appeared, that Alden almost forgot to be sulky. It transpired that neither of them had any idea what to do or where to go. Alden had been forced to leave his car in the shop and wouldn’t get it until evening; Monkey announced that she would be proud to walk.
They wandered, in an icy wind, about the railroad yards and the quays. They had no place to go, and, as Monkey cheerfully remarked, no desire to go there. They both talked nonsense, although Monkey talked far more than Alden. At twelve-thirty Monkey said the animal within required food and drink, and they went to a place that Alden knew for a combination breakfast lunch. By the time lunch was over Alden was utterly happy and had entirely forgotten his family. Monkey, like himself, was very evidently interested in clean fun, with no matrimonial strings attached.
“Alden,” she asked solemnly, “do I have to be presented to all the Grainvilles, recite my pedigree, and
“Honored guest!’’ Alden said to himself with sarcasm, but to Monkey: “Not unless you want to, pet.”
“Well, I don’t. I’ve just left a family of my own, and I want to be untrammelled. Let’s pretend we’re on a desert island and act accordingly.”
“Do you mean that, Monkey?” Alden asked quickly, seizing her hand.
“How you do pick a poor girl up,” Monkey twinkled.
That was one odd thing about Monkey; you never knew whether or not she was serious.
“Monkey,’’ he said earnestly, “I wish to goodness you’d take a suite. We can’t spend all our time wandering around in the streets, can we?” ‘‘Let’s go to the movies,” she suggested.
They went to the movies. It was Saturday, and quite a few other people had the same idea, but Alden and Monkey sat far back in the balcony, and Monkey let Alden put his arm around her. Presently she allowed her head to rest against his shoulder. Not being given to resisting temptation of so delectable a nature, Alden bent his own head until his mouth and Monkey’s met. It was very nice. Monkey came as close as the arm of the seat would allow, and whispered:
“Oh, Alden, this is so
Continued on page 46
Continued from page 13
sweet . . . I’m no happy, Alden.” And when they emerged, blinking, into the frosty twilight, she hugged his arm: “Look at the sign and tell me what the picture was, precious.”
Everything was perfect until they reached the Royal Tudor.
There they found a message that filled tnem with various types and degrees of consternation.
Mrs. J. Gordon Grainville had called. Monkey threw up her hands and wailed: “Oh, we’re in for it now! I’ll have to be entertained.”
Alden used all his self-control to conceal the ice-cold sweat of pure panic that the message had induced.
“Entertained! My sainted aunt!” he groaned, inwardly of course. What were his parents up to? What frightful blunder were they going to make? What, in the name of heaven, would happen if they tried to treat Monkey like a cheap adventuress? He could visualize Monkey’s father, that eminent lawyer, doing legal things about it. This time there would be trouble !
“It says—” Monkey was still staring gloomily at the message —“that she’s coming back. So I’d better get on some decent clothes.”
“Look here, Monkey; go ahead and change, and I’ll dash up to the house and see if I can’t head the old lady off. Once she starts organizing entertainments,” he gulped, “we’ll have no peace at all.” “Well, I don’t see what you can say, Alden, now that—”
"I’ll tell her you’re sick.”
“Yes, do. And I will get a suite, and stay in it, if necessary.”
Monkey made a dash for the elevator, Alden made a dash for the side exit. And at exactly that moment Mrs. J. Gordon Grainville, in a broadtail coat trimmed with black fox, entered grandly at the main doorway.
Mrs. Alvah Monks-Greyson
270 Park Avenue, New York. U.S.A.
Told you could not escape being 100% respectable stop worst has happened stop future address care mrs j gordon grainville 30 blank street toronto stop if you receive w'ire containing word whoopee telegraph me return at once deathbed grandmother or what have you stop love and kisses to you and daddy from your Monkey.
While the message dotted and dashed over the telegraph wires, Monkey, bundled in rugs, rode in the back seat of a smart town car.
Mrs. Grainville, at least in the opinion of Mrs. Grainville, had been very subtle indeed. She had come in full splendor, like a barge of honor, to take her son’s friend to her son’s home, where her son’s family could keep an alert eye on her son's friend’s nefarious conduct. When it came to social matters Jessica had a way, there was no doubt of that. Monkey had knowm from the first minute that, the battle was lost before the armies encountered. Monkey had simply found herself suffocated by a cloud of hospitality; after five minutes of “Oh, I couldn’t," and “Oh, but you must,” Monkey had been checked out, bag and baggage; and now, still somewhat bewildered, she found herself on the way to a dinner—“a little later than usual to give you time to rest after your tiresome journey”—in the bosom of the Grainville family.
With her gloved hands folded calmly over her black suede bag, Jessica said as ingeniously as possible:
“I suppose you were going from one place to another, and just happened to break the trip here?”
Monkey returned: “Oh my, no! Didn’t
Alden tell you? I came all the way from New York to see him.”
Jessica said vaguely: “No he didn’t tell us.”
“Of course you must think I’m raving mad, Mrs. Grainville. My own parents are sure I am. But honestly, as Alden’s mother, wouldn’t you say he was worth it?”
Jessica had just enough time to wonder about Monkey’s mysterious parents— adventuresses should never have parents, only occasional property mammas—when Monkey went off again.
“You’ll conclude that I’m a wicked, shameless girl, Mrs. Grainville, but one day I woke up and thought, T just have to see Alden.’ And then I argued it all out with my father, and told him how we were only young once . . Of course I’m terribly ashamed if it’s going to put you to a lot of trouble; I don’t suppose you can understand how it was; but I had to do this lovely idiotic thing or bust !”
In the dark interior of the car Jessica’s gloved hand touched Monkey’s sleeve.
“I think I do understand, child. You see, when I married Alden’s father—it was a runaway match—families weren’t as indulgent as they are today. Mine never forgave me. We were poor for a time, extremely poor, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy. And everyone called it madness.”
“You can’t imagine, Mrs. Grainville, what it would mean to me, ever, ever, to have that kind of—of glamor in my life.” “My children,” said Jessica, “think it’s all very commonplace. You see Gordon has been successful. Nothing murders romance more effectively than solid comfort, my dear.”
“Why,” cried Monkey, genuinely excited, “I think you’re the most romantic person I ever met!”
The car pulled up with a jerk.
“I hope,” said Jessica, “you’ll treat this as your home for the present.”
“Oh, thank you,” exclaimed Monkey, dragging her two fur coats after her out of the car. “Oo, you are an angel. Next to my own mother, I like you best.”
JESSICA, going up the stairs with her head high, felt that they had made a dreadful mistake about Monkey.
Monkey, for her part, was not nearly so distressed about being at their house as she had expected. Her quarters were charming. Molly had been in, and had
succeeded in completely banishing the guest-room quality. There were books, flowers, even marrons glacées in a lovely modern bonbon dish. The bathroom was stocked with eau de cologne and powder and French soap and great fleecy towels.
It was not, Monkey reflected with a touch of regret, quite so much fun as the hectic sort of dressing she would have done at the Royal Tudor, with Alden fidgetting in the lobby and watching the clock, but still it was good.
She was combing her hair when someone knocked. At her response a very pretty, very languid looking young woman in pale green crêpe de Chine drifted into the room and announced in a bored voice:
“I’m Molly, Alden’s little sister.”
She and Monkey examined each other like polite cats on a back fence. Molly drooped on the bed.
“Don’t let me interfere with your preparations for the slaughter. Throw me out if I annoy you.”
“You don’t.” Monkey went on combing her hair. “Besides, I want to thank you. It’s you who are responsible for this delightful invitation. Alden told me you had opened my telegram—by mistake, of course.”
“It wasn’t by mistake,” said Molly. “I do that sort of thing all the time. I’m curious by nature.” She paused. “That’s why I’m here,” she added.
“And why I’m here too, if you stop to consider,” concluded Monkey.
“And that ends round one; a draw.” Monkey put down the comb.
“Am I an enemy?!” she enquired solemnly.
“I think you’re rather a dear,” Molly returned after due consideration. “I’m surprised at Alden’s good taste. It’s the first time it’s been manifested.”
“By the way, where is Alden?” “Sulking in the bow-window on the stairs, waiting to catch you alone, no doubt. Alden’s perfectly furious because we’ve upset his plans.” Molly’s smile this time was really a masterpiece. “I mean, he wanted you all to himself.” Monkey leaned on the footboard of the bed.
“To tell you the truth, as one cat to another, I wanted him to myself. I was set for an honest-to-goodness adventure, staying in a big hotel alone and all that sort of thing. But I know now that Providence intends to watch over me, whether I want it to or not.”
“Providence,” jeered Molly. “That’s a new name for mother!”
Both girls were smiling in that curiously secretive way that girls have when they share a joke, when Alden met them on the stairs.
“Well, I’ll be hanged,”'he muttered, “if they don’t act as though they’d been pals for a century.”
His relief, however, was faintly tinged with disappointment.
“I’ve always meant to ask Alden,’’ Monkey said to Mr. Grainville as they lingered over coffee, “and I’ve always forgotten. Are you related to Nicholas Grainville, from Montreal?”
Gordon replied that Nicholas was his cousin. Nicholas, who had started as a lawyer, had ended by being a painter; while he, having started to be a painter, had developed into a business man. They were very good friends.
‘‘That makes you practically my uncle,” cried Monkey. “Nicholas Grainville has been Uncle Nick to me for ever and ever. He and papa were in law school together.”
“Then your father is Judge MonksGrayson? I’ve heard of him for years! And of course, you’re the famous Little Girl in Russet! I’ve stood in front of your portrait for hours on end. Only five minutes ago I was racking my brain trying to remember where I’d seen you before. How absurd !”
“Isn’t it?” demanded Alden, who had been wandering about the room picking things up and putting them down again, while Monkey and his father discussed the pros and cons of Parisian restaurants that he never had seen or heard of. “Now we know that it’s a small world.”
Gordon beamed at his son.
“Alden, I never expected you to bring us such a treasure.”
“I didn’t bring her to you,” said Alden. “You took her.”
“And I hope,” said Jessica, sipping her coffee, “that we shall be able to keep her with us for a long while.”
“Tomorrow—no, tomorrow’s Sunday, that won’t do—Monday you must come down town to my office. I have a few things there, just trifles I picked up here and there, that I know you’d like to see.’’ Mr. Grainville lowered his voice slightly. “Of course the children love beautiful things, but . . . hm ...” He shrugged. “The cosmopolitan touch is lacking.” And he looked upon Monkey with the approval of a man who has lived in many cities and learned to distinguish vodka from corn whisky.
“Don’t you think it’s hot in here?” asked Alden. “Let’s go for a drive, eh?” At that moment Molly, who had been at the telephone, dashed in, exclaiming: “That was Harry. He’s coming over to get us—that’s you, Alden, and Monkey— and we’re going over to the Lamonts to play bridge. All right with you, Monkey?”
“Of course,’’ said Monkey very amiably.
Alden scowled. “I don’t feel like playing bridge.”
“Alden,” said Jessica, “you might have some consideration for other people’s
“It doesn’t matter anyway, mother,” said Molly. “Harry’s brother will be there; that makes an extra man, so Alden can look on if he doesn’t fee! like playing.” When they had gone, Gordon and Jessica looked at each other with tenderness.
“I should have known,” said Jessica, “that our boy would choose wisely when he made his final choice.”
“Monks-Grayson,” said Gordon, “is considered the first man in America on divorces. He’s worth millions.”
“And she isn’t so terribly sophisticated,
Continued on page 48
Continued from page 46
Gordon: it’s mostly affectation. When I was her age I also thought it was clever to seem wiser than I was.”
Gordon kept an obvious comment to himself. He simply asked:
“How old is she?”
"Twenty-one. Quite old enough to know her own mind.”
“Quite,” said Gordon.
“She’ll make an ideal wife for Alden, I’m sure of it, my dear. Trust a mother’s instinct.”
“She will if she’ll have him.” Gordon adjusted his eyeglass and picked up the evening paper. “My opinion,” he added, “is that she’s got better sense.”
“Why Gordon ...”
He glanced up from the paper.
“I’ll give you one piece of advice, Jessica. Don’t force things. Don’t thrust them together. Let . . . hm . . nature take its course.”
“Gordon,” murmured Jessica, “wherever do you get such extraordinary ideas?” “From the movies,” said Jessica’s husband, drily.
BUT Alden, darling, do be reasonable. I can’t be in two places at once.” “That’s right; you can be with me, or you can be with them. But you can’t be with both of us.”
“You’re an awful old grouch, Alden, especially since you know I’m staying another fortnight. I promised your dad to come and see his new designs and lunch with him, and this afternoon there’s your mother’s bridge, and you know Molly would never forgive me if I backed out of tonight’s party at the last minute.” Only six days had passed since Monkey had been taken into the heart and the home of the Grainville family, but already it seemed to Alden that the afternoon on which he had kissed her in the sympathetic gloom of a cinema had taken place in prehistoric times or on some plane created by his own imagination.
“Look here, Monkey, for one week we’ve lived in the same house, and in all that time we haven’t had five minutes alone. After all, excepting Saturdays and Sundays, I spend my time shut up in a stuffy office.”
“But we have lunches, Alden, and dinners and evenings ...”
“Yes, but you’re always either lunching with dad or dragging Molly and her friends along. As to the evenings ” Alden made a hopeless gesture. So many entertainments seemed to crop up that a simple invitation to a movie seemed rather like offering an old coat to Cecile Sorel. “This, I suppose, is your idea of behaving as though we were alone on a desert island !”
Monkey laughed, and Alden cursed inwardly. At first his resentment had been entirely directed toward his family, but as the disappointing days and nights unrolled it came to embrace Monkey, for Monkey had certainly let him down. If only some timely miracle could have made her old and ugly, Alden would have hated her wholeheartedly; but every time he caught sight of her bright eyes, her valentine mouth, her small expressive hands, he was shaken by a veritable storm of longing. Where, he demanded, was the gay adventure they had promised themselves and each other? Lost; sunk in the limbo of things that might have been. Now Monkey babbled adorable nonsense for perfect strangers, and her smile, so mischievous, so inviting, was like a challenge thrown insultingly at a man bound hand and foot.
“We’ll manage somehow, Alden,” Monkey offered placatingly. “I’ll tell you what we’ll do; we’ll compromise.”
“I’ll compromise,” said Alden. “You’ll do exactly as you planned.”
“Oo darleeng, stop snapping and snarling and listen. We will go to the party tonight. At precisely ten-thirty I’ll pretend I have a headache, just thirty seconds
later you’ll offer to drive me home, and then—we'll dash off—tête-à-tê.e or nackand-neck—and have a long talk about my faults and your virtues.” She put her hand on his sleeve. “Alden, precious, don't you think I’ve missed it too—all that we planned? But what could I do after your family had behaved like such angels?”
“Just what you have done, I suppose. Take it and like it. But when I say like it I mean like it !”
Monkey looked grave.
“Have you forgotten that I came up here to see you, Alden?”
“It’s not your fault if I haven’t.” “Would you rather have had them hate me, Alden? Or go on thinking that I was an adventuress? Oh, yes; Molly told me.”
“She would. As to the rest, I'd rather have you care what I think than what they think, and that’s the solemn truth.” “I do care—awfully.”
Alden looked at her. Suddenly his heart beat very fast.
“Honey,” he whispered, “forgive me for being impatient. But I want you so badly ...”
Monkey drew away, shaking her head vigorously.
“Careful, Alden, here comes your mother. Until tonight, my child, until tonight. Then we’ll be gay or know the reason why not.”
And that—as Jessica really did appear at the turning of the stairs—had to satisfy Alden until the day had passed, until the Butlers’ victrola had played “Moanin’ Low” for the ninth time that evening, until, at exactly ten-twenty, Monkey, looking pale and very nervous, announced that she had a sick headache and intended to go home.
TN ALDEN’S car, driving in a direction opposite that in which they lived, Monkey was very quiet. The spell of her silence was so contagious that Alden drove without speaking, while a growing sense of tension tightened his nerves.
Abruptly, in a stretch of desolatelooking land, he stopped the motor. Monkey huddled down in her furs and stared at the dashboard. Alden took her hand. It was ice cold. Alden felt as though he were out with a stranger—a very lovely, very intriguing stranger— who would give him no clue to her identity.
“Monkey,” he began, and cleared his throat, for his voice was hoarse. She nodded slowly, her chin concealed in a big fur collar, and suddenly Alden felt
furiously angry, all the pent-up rage of a week’s repression and disappointment sent the blood hammering in hi3 veins. “Monkey,” he said harshly, “do you remember the things you said the day you got in?” His fingers tightened on her hand until he knew he must be pressing the ring into her flesh, which pleased him. “Did you mean them? Any of them? Or was it just conversation?”
She made no answer, but sat staring straight ahead.
The blood hammered Alden’s temples. His anger and the dim triangle of Monkey's face seemed to blur and merge; his muscles to act without any conscious desire of his own. He heard himself say, “You can’t get away with that Monkey, not this time.” And then he was holding her tightly in his arms, pushing her head against the back of the seat and kissing her savagely.
Something wet against his cheek; a very small something, but it cooled his ardor as effectively as a shower bath. He drew back, and looked. Monkey was perfectly still, with her head thrown back, and two tiny rivers of tears were making irregular courses down her cheeks. Monkey was crying! Alden felt absolutely terrified, and began to murmur frantically:
“Darling, don’t! I didn’t mean it. I swear I didn’t ! Oh Monkey, Monkey, forgive me, can’t you, honey?”
She fumbled in her bag and brought out an absurd looking handkerchief, with which she mopped her face. Between the sobs Alden distinguished what she was trying to say. There was nothing to forgive; it was all her own fault, and he, Alden, was perfectly right.
“That was what I expected, and that was what you had a right to expect, Alden. Only . . . only . . . going to your house, being with your family, made everything different. I started just for a lark. I didn’t think it mattered, Alden—what anybody thought—you or your family. But I hadn’t been in your mother’s house for twenty-four hours before—I couldn’t help it Alden—I began to feel ashamed of taking everything so lightly. That’s why I didn’t want to be alone with you. I saw I’d been wrong, Alden, and I didn’t want you to know what a—a bad sport I really am.”
“What do you mean by ‘bad sport,’ Monkey?”
“Oh”—with a trace of the old humor— "what you call a nice girl, I suppose. I really invited you to make love to me, didn’t I, Alden? And then, all of a sudden,
I realized that I never, never could have gone through with it. So—so now you’d better take me home, and I’ll go away as soon as it’s decently possible.”
“Darling, I don’t want you to go away.” Alden, with the feeling of a man tottering on the edge of an abyss, tried to hold himself back, failed, and fell headlong. “I want you to stay and marry me.”
“Oh, Alden, for heaven’s sake, why didn’t you say that first and keep me from making an utter fool of myself? Alden, Alden, you’d better kiss me quickly, I think I’m going to faint.”
Mrs. Alvah Monks-Grayson 270 Park Avenue, New York, U.S.A. Engaged to Alden stop divinely happy stop why don’t you and daddyhop train to toronto meet future inlaws and help make whoopee stop love and kisses Monkey.
Miss Vera Monks-Grayson c-o J. Gordon Grainville 30 Blank Street, Toronto Ontario, Canada.
Sorry to disturb your happiness with bad news but must ask you to return at once as grandmother is dying stop all our love to you and Alden. Mother and Father.
The assorted suitcases and hatboxes had gone. Alden was driving Monkey to the station in his roadster.
“Alden,” said Monkey, “I don’t want to go to the station. I want to go to the Royal Tudor.”
“You’ll miss your train,” said Alden anxiously.
“I’m not going to take it. Alden, listen, I have a confession to make. I haven’t any dying grandmother. Both my grandmothers have been dead tor years.”
“But what on earth—”
“I can tell you, Alden, but I simply couldn’t tell your family.” And Monkey, between laughter and tear3, explained the telegram she had sent her mother the night she moved to the Grainville’s house, and how, when she had wired the news of their engagement, she had entirely forgotten her previous instructions. “When I found Molly had read it, when she began to sympathize with me, I knew we were sunk, Alden. So I thought we might as well make the best of a bad break, and I went and hired a suite at the hotel. I’ll hide, and you can pay me clandestine visits there, and—and Alden dear—you don’t have to regard me as your future wife. I think you’d better be free ...”
Alden, until that very moment, had shared her opinion. But now he forgot that; he felt injured.
“Am I being dismissed?” he asked coldly. “If so I wish you’d make it clear.” “But—but Alden—you wanted an adventure, not a wife. And I don’t think you should be forced to pay quite such a high price for being chivalrous the other night.”
“But you, Monkey—what do you want? Or don’t you know yet?”
“I want you, Alden.”
“And I want you, little Ape.”
“So we won’t go to the station ...” “Or to the Royal Tudor either, at least for a while.”
“But Alden . . . where are you taking me?”
“Wait and see,” said Alden mysteriously.
DUPLICATE telegrams sent to Mr.
and Mrs. Alvah Monks-Grayson. and Mr. and Mrs. J. Gordon and Miss Molly Grainville, read as follows:
Were married this afternoon stop spending honeymoon niagara falls stop saving all love and kisses for each other but send you love and kisses just the same.
Monkey and Alden.