“Is it that this lovely Mademoiselle Sue does not like gentlemen save my Uncle, the General Robert?” I asked with great interest. I was glad in my heart that I was soon to see and speak with a nice girl even if it had to be in character of a man.
“Oh, she loves us—all,” answered that Mr. Buzz with the greatest gloom. “All of us—every blamed son-of-a-gun of us.”
“Oh, I comprehend now that it is your wish that she love only you, Mr. Clendenning, and are sad that she does not,” I said as I looked at him with much sympathy.
“That is about it, Prince, but don’t say I said so. Everybody chases Susan. She even wins an occasional ice cream smile from His Excellency. I bet she’d go up against that august iceberg itself in a try-out for a ‘First Lady of the State’ badge if Mrs. Pat Whitworth hadn’t got the whole woman bunch to believe she has a corner on his ice. Mrs. Pat is some little cornerer, believe me.”
“Oh, I did like that Madam Whitworth, and I hope that it will be my pleasure to see her again soon,” I said with an ice in my voice as I caught my breath while Mr. Buzz Clendenning drove between two cars and a wagon with not so much as an inch to spare on all three sides of the car. It is as I like to drive when at the wheel, but sitting beside another—
“You’ll see her at the Governor’s dinner for you Tuesday, if not sooner, and just watch her and the General war dance with each other. He opens his eyes when Mrs. Pat attacks and he imagines he is the whole Harpeth Valley Militia defending His Excellency of Iceland from her wiles. Just watch him!” And this time it was three wagons that we slid between and beyond.
“Why is it that the great Gouverneur Faulkner has such a coldness for ladies?” I asked of that Mr. Buzz. “I did find him to be of such a beautiful kindness.”
“He’s been too much chased. He’s got his fingers crossed on them, they tell me. Just watch him in action at his dinner. He side-steps so gently that they never know it.”
“Why is it then that he gives to me this dinner of honor when he so dislikes all—that is, I mean to ask of you why is it that I am so honored by that very great Gouverneur Faulkner of the State of Harpeth?” I asked, and I had a great fright that I had again so nearly betrayed Robert Carruthers to be one of the sex so hated by that noble gentleman, the Gouverneur Faulkner. “I must think of myself as a man in future,” I commanded myself.
“Didn’t the General tell you about it? It is to introduce you to the flower and chivalry of your native land. Believe me, it will be some dinner dance. The General wanted it to be a stag, but Sue fought to the last trench, which was tears, and he gave in. These days the Governor loses no chance to honor his Secretary of State for—for political reasons,” and as he spoke that good Mr. Clendenning looked at the wheel for steering, and I could see that there was deep concern in his eyes.