Then a second time it rang with a great fury and I perceived that I must make a response to it.
I arose and took that receiver into my hand and spoke with a fine though husky calmness.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Is that you, Robert?” came the voice of my beloved Gouverneur, which made the heart of that anguished Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, beat into a sudden great happiness though also alarm.
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
“Can you dress very quietly, get your car and come up here to the Mansion without letting anybody know of it?”
“I will do what you command.”
“I need you, boy, and I need you quick.”
“Stop the car at the street beyond the side
door and come in that way.
Cato will let you in. Come to my bedroom quietly so as not to wake
Jenkins. Can you find your way?”
For just one single long second that grande dame, Roberta, the Marquise of Grez and Bye, cowered in fear upon her warm bed in the house of her Uncle, the General Robert, at the thought of going out into the night at the command of a man, and then that devoted daredevil, Mr. Robert Carruthers, answered into the telephone to the Gouverneur Faulkner:
“Immediately I come to you.”
THE TALL TIMBERS OF OLD HARPETH
Is it that there comes to the world an hour in the twenty and four in which it lays aside the mortality of the earth and clothes itself in an immortality of a very great awe? I think that it is so; and it was out into the whiteness of that hour that I stepped when I had successfully passed from my room to the garden of the home of my Uncle, the General Robert, which is also the home of my American ancestors. A command for my presence had come to me from the loved Gouverneur Faulkner and it was needful that I make all possible haste; but it seemed to me that all of the beautiful faded flowers of my dead grandmammas in that garden rose up around me for beguilement and gave to me a perfume that they had kept in saving for the Roberta, some day to come across the waters to them. And all of their little descendants, the opening blossoms of spring, also gave perfume to me in a mist in the white moonlight, while a few fragrant rose vines bent to detain me as I left that home of my grandmothers to go out into that sleeping city, alone. I had a great fear, but yet a great devotion drew me and in a very few minutes I had driven my Cherry from the garage and was on my way through the silent streets to—I did not know what.
At the door of the Mansion I was admitted by my good Cato, who was attired in a very long red flannel sleeping garment, with a red cap also of the flannel tied down upon the white wool of his head.
“Has you got dat hoodoo, little Mas’?” he demanded of me as I passed into the hall beneath the candle in a tall stand of silver which he held high over my head.