“Yes, I mean—” Cephas Doane stopped suddenly. “I think in justice to my daughter-in-law to be, Jane Bostwick, that some explanation is in order.”
“Yes, sir.” Deacon, his arm about his father’s shoulder, stared at the man.
“You see, Dr. Nicholls had the idea that you needed a finer edge put on your rowing spirit. So I got Jane to cook up the story about that cashier business at the bank.”
“Yes. Of course your father was appointed. The only trouble was that Jane, bright and clever as she is, bungled her lines.”
“Bungled!” Deacon’s face cleared. “That’s what Dr. Nicholls said about her on the road, the day I bucked out. I remember the word somehow.”
“She bungled, yes. She was to have made it very clear that by winning you would escape my alleged wrath—or rather, your father would. I knew you would row hard for Baliol, but I thought you might row superhumanly for your father.”
“Well,” Jim Deacon flushed, then glanced proudly at his father— “you were right, sir—I would.”
BY L. H. ROBBINS
From Everybody’s Magazine
He was a meek little man with sagging frame, dim lamps and feeble ignition. Anxiously he pressed the salesman to tell him which of us used cars in the wareroom was the slowest and safest.
The salesman laid his hand upon me and declared soberly: “You can’t possibly go wrong on this one, Mr. Todd.” To a red-haired boy he called, “Willie, drive Mr. Todd out for a lesson.”
We ran to the park and stopped beside a lawn. “Take the wheel,” said Willie.
Mr. Todd demurred. “Let me watch you awhile,” he pleaded. “You see, I’m new at this sort of thing. In mechanical matters I am helpless. I might run somebody down or crash into a tree. I—I don’t feel quite up to it to-day, so just let me ride around with you and get used to the—the motion, as it were.”
“All you need is nerve,” Willie replied. “The quickest way for you to get nerve is to grab hold here and, as it were, drive.”
“Driving, they say, does give a man self-confidence,” our passenger observed tremulously. “Quite recently I saw an illustration of it. I saw an automobilist slap his wife’s face while traveling thirty miles an hour.”
“They will get careless,” said Willie.
Mr. Todd clasped the wheel with quivering hands and braced himself for the ordeal.
“Set her in low till her speed’s up,” Willie directed. “Then wiggle her into high.”
It was too mechanical for Mr. Todd. Willie translated with scornful particularity. Under our pupil’s diffident manipulation we began to romp through the park at the rate of one mile an hour.
Willie fretted. “Shoot her some gas,” said he. “Give it to her. Don’t be a-scared.” He pulled down the throttle-lever himself.