“No, Monsieur, it was not,” I answered, looking him straight in the eyes and feeling as if I was looking into kind eyes that I had seen close to me forever in the old convent in France, and as I spoke I could not help it that I raised my arm in its covering of a man’s tweed and let my woman’s fingers grasp one of the long fingers on my shoulder and cling to it as I had done other long fingers just like them that had guided my first footsteps down the sunny garden paths of the old Chateau de Grez.
“I’m your Uncle Robert, sonny, and don’t you ever forget that, sir,” he answered as he gave me another shake and I could see a longing for the embrace, which I so desired, in his keen eyes that had softened with a veil of mist in the last second. “Lord, I’m glad you’re not a woman! And from now on just stop knowing the creatures exist—Pat Whitworth and her kind. None of that tea-throwing in Hayesville, sir! We’ve got work to do to put out a fire—fire of dishonor and devastation. No time for tea-fighting here. Come on to my car over there; we’ve no time to waste.”
“What is it that you say about that throwing of tea which occurred only the day before yesterday in the City of New York many hundreds of miles from here? How did that knowledge arrive here, my Uncle Robert?” I questioned.
“Associated Press, sir. The greatest power in this America. Associated Press! Full account, you and me, titles and all, printed in this afternoon’s paper. Any money left of that thousand?”
“No, my Uncle Robert,” I faltered. “It was necessary that I spend—”
“Don’t tell me about it. I sent it to you so you could get as much as possible out of your system. The hussies! I’ve got work for you to do here. Forget ’em! Hop in!” And he motioned me into a very large blue touring car that stood beside the station platform.
“Drive to the Governor’s Mansion and don’t sprout grass under your wheels,” he commanded the black chauffeur. “The Governor’s Mansion, private door on Sixth Street.”
“HERE’S MY BOY, GOVERNOR”
And it was en route to the mansion of the Gouverneur of the State of Harpeth that my Uncle, the General Robert, did enlighten me as to the urgent need of me in his affairs of business.
“It is a question of mules, sir, and of a dishonor to the State that I’m going to prevent if my hot old head is laid low in doing it, as it probably will be if I get into the ruckus with Jefferson Whitworth that now threatens. They have insinuated themselves into the confidence of Governor Faulkner until they have made it well-nigh impossible for him to see the matter except as they put it. They will get his signature to the rental grant of the lands, make a get-away with the money and let the State crash down upon his head when it finds out that he has been led into bringing it and himself into dishonor. Why,