“Fortunately. Same opinions ought to constitute grounds for divorce,” said Bambi.
“I understand you write plays, Mr. Jocelyn?”
“You will have to endure New York, now and again, I suppose, when you begin to produce.”
“We have formed a partnership,” Bambi interpolated. “He writes and I sell.”
“You are a lucky man,” Strong complimented him.
Jarvis ignored the remark. Strong wondered why on earth Bambi had married him. He was wonderful to look at, but his manners were impossible. If he was in love with her, he disguised it successfully. The entrance of the Professor saved the situation.
“This is Mr. Strong, Professor. My father, Professor Parkhurst.”
The Professor’s hand-clasp and absent-minded smile seemed like a perfect character make-up. It was the kind of thing David Warfield would have played excellently. Strong had to shake himself to realize that these were real people, they were so individualized, so emphasized, like characters in a play.
“I am always glad to welcome my daughter’s old friends,” he said. “I forget when it was you knew each other, my dear.”
“Ah, yes, I remember. In college. How is your sister?”
“My sister?” repeated Strong. Bambi gasped. She had forgotten to tell him about Mary.
“I refer to your sister Mary,” the Professor went on.
“Oh, sister Mary? Oh——” Strong recovered himself.
“You have other sisters?”
“Yes, oh, yes. Many.”
“Many, indeed! How many, may I ask?”
“Thirteen,” at a venture.
“Thirteen sisters! That is astonishing! And you are the only brother?”
“The only one.”
“Are they all living?”
“No. All dead.”
“Not Mary?” exclaimed Bambi.
“No, no, I meant to omit Mary. All but Mary are gone.”
“That is very sad,” sighed the Professor. “Thirteen sisters! How were they named?”
“After the thirteen original states,” replied Ananias Strong.
“Extraordinary, but Mary——”
“Short for Maryland,” prompted Strong.
Bambi almost choked. The subject seemed to fascinate her father.
“Is Mary married?” he inquired.
“Yes, quite. Quite married.”
“I forget whether she visited us, my dear.”
“No, Mary never came to Sunnyside.”
“What a pity the friendships of our young days pass away, isn’t it?”
“Not at all. It’s a blessing,” snapped Jarvis. “When you think of all the donkeys you played with in your youth——”
“Mary was not a donkey,” giggled Bambi.
“I wasn’t speaking of Mary,” he remarked.
“I thought you said you were going to lunch in your room to-day, Jarvis,” the Professor remarked.
“That was yesterday,” Bambi said quickly.
“Oh, I can never remember details.”