“I cannot tell you what this finding of your wife means to me,” said Mr. Gordon, turning to Dicky. The inflection of his voice, the movement of his hand, spelled a subtle appeal to the younger man.
“I have been a wanderer for years,” the deep, rich voice went on. “I have no family ties”—he hesitated for a moment, with a curious little air of indecision—“no wife, no child. I am a very lonely man. I wonder if it would be asking too much to let me come to see you once in a while and renew the memories of my youth in this dear child?”
He turned to me with the most fascinating little air of deferential admiration I had ever seen.
But I looked in vain for any answer to his appeal in Dicky’s eyes. My husband still retained the air of formal, puzzled courtesy with which he had brought Mr. Gordon to our table and introduced him to us. I could see that the mysterious stranger’s appeal to be made an intimate of our home did not meet with Dicky’s approval.
I could not understand the impulse that made me turn toward the stranger and say, earnestly: “I shall be so glad to have you come to see us, Mr. Gordon. I want you to tell me about my mother’s youth.”
“Mother” Graham has something to say
It may have been the preparation we were making for an autumn vacation in the Catskills, or it may have been that Dicky was becoming more the master of himself, that he did not voice to me the very real uneasiness with which I knew he viewed Robert Gordon’s attitude toward me. But whatever may have been the cause, the fact is that during the preparations for our trip and during the vacation itself in the gorgeous autumn-clad mountains Dicky did not refer to Robert Gordon.
It was my mother-in-law who brought his name up the day of our return. She had moved from the hotel where we had left her in the city to the house at Marvin, and when we arrived there her greeting of me was almost icy. As soon as we had taken off our wraps, she explained her departure from the hotel without any questioning from us.
“I never have been so insulted and annoyed in my life,” she began abruptly, “and it is all your fault, Richard. If you never had brought the unspeakable person over he would not have had the chance to annoy me. And as for you, Margaret, I cannot begin to tell you what I think of your conduct in leading your husband to believe you had never seen the man before—”
“For heaven’s sake, mother!” Dicky exploded, his slender patience evidently worn to its last thread by his mother’s incoherence, “what on earth are you talking about?”
“Don’t pretend ignorance,” she snapped. “You introduced the man to me yourself the night before you went on your trip. You cannot have forgotten his name so soon.”
“Robert Gordon!” Dicky exclaimed in amazement.