“What—what the devil do you mean, sir?” demanded Lord Cecil, his coffee-cup shaking so violently that the contents overflowed.
“She’s going over to Plattsburg with me to-day, and when she comes back she will be Mrs. Randolph Shaw. That’s what I mean, your lordship.”
Three of his listeners choked with amazement and then coughed painfully. Feebly they set their cups down and gulped as if they had something to swallow. The duke was the first to find his tongue, and he was quite at a loss for words.
“B—by Jove,” he said blankly, “that’s demmed hot coffee!”
“Is this true, Penelope?” gasped his lordship.
“Yes, Cecil. I’ve promised to marry him.”
“Good God! It isn’t because you feel that you have no home with me?”
“I love him. It’s a much older story than you think,” she said simply.
“I say, that hits me hard,” said the duke, with a wry face. “Still, I join in saying God bless you.”
“We’re trying to end the feud, you see,” said Penelope.
Tears came into his lordship’s pale eyes. He looked first at one and then at the other, and then silently extended his hand to Randolph Shaw. He wrung it vigorously for a long time before speaking. Then, as if throwing a weight off his mind, he remarked:
“I say, Shaw, I’m sorry about that dog. I’ve got an English bull-terrier down there that’s taken a ribbon or so. If you don’t mind, I’ll send him up to you. He—he knows Penelope.”
THE CASE OF MRS. MAGNUS
BY BURTON E. STEVENSON
The position of confidential family adviser is not without its drawbacks, and it was with a certain reluctance that I told the office boy to show Mrs. Magnus in. For Mrs. Magnus was that bete noire of the lawyer—a woman recently widowed, utterly without business experience, and yet with a firm belief in her ability to manage her husband’s estate. If Mrs. Magnus chose to ruin herself there was, of course, no reason why I should worry, but it is annoying to have a person constantly asking for advice and as constantly disregarding it. I never really understood why Mrs. Magnus asked for advice at all.
She was a woman of about fifty, thin and nervous, with a curious habit of compressing her lips into a tight knot, under the impression, I suppose, that the result indicated strength of character. Peter Magnus had married her when he was only an obscure clerk in the great commission house which he was afterward to own, and she was a school teacher or governess, or something of that sort. Perhaps she was a little ahead of him intellectually at the start, but he had broadened and developed, while she had narrowed and dried up, but she never lost the illusion of her mental supremacy, nor the idea that she had, in some dim way, married beneath her.