“You do not have to bother calling upon the Brent girl, Miss Elizabeth. She says now that if Donald asks her to marry him she’ll accept. She has an idea she’ll be mistress of The Dreamerie.”
Elizabeth arched her eyebrows. “What else?” she queried amiably.
“That’s all—from Nan Brent. I have a small defi to make on my own account, however, Miss Elizabeth. From this minute on I wash my hands of the private affairs of the McKaye family. My job is managing your father’s financial affairs. Believe me, the next move in this comedy-drama is a wedding—if Donald asks her in all seriousness to marry him—that is, if he insists on it. He may insist and then again he may not, but if he should, I shall not attempt to stop him. He’s free, white and twenty-one; he’s my boss and I hope I know my place. Personally, I’m willing to wager considerable that he’ll marry her, but whether he does or not—I’m through.”
Elizabeth McKaye sighed. “That means we must work fast, Mr. Daney. Donald will be feeling strong: enough within two weeks to call on her; he may even motor down to the Sawdust Pile within ten days. Mother has already broached the subject of taking him away to southern California or Florida for a long rest; Dad has seconded the motion with great enthusiasm—and that stubborn Donald has told them frankly that he isn’t going away for a rest.”
“Gosh!” Mr. Daney gasped. “That makes it a little binding, eh?”
She met his clear glance thoughtfully and said: “If her house should burn down—accidentally—to-day or to-night, when she and her baby aren’t in it, she’ll have to leave Port Agnew. There isn’t a house in town where she could find shelter, and you could see to it that all the rooms in the hotel are taken.”
“You forget, my dear,” he replied with a small smile. “I have no further interest in this affair and moreover, I’m not turning firebug—not this year.”
“You refuse to help us?”
“Absolutely. What is to be will be, and I, for one, have decided not to poke my finger into the cogs of destiny.”
“Well—thanks awfully for what you’ve already done, Mr. Daney.” Again she smiled her bright, impish smile. “Good-morning.”
“Good-morning, Miss Elizabeth.”
As she left the office, Mr. Daney noted her debutante slouch and gritted his teeth. “Wonder if they’ll call on Nan now, or make a combined attack on the boy and try bluff and threats and tears,” he soliloquized.
As a matter of fact they tried the latter. The storm broke after luncheon one day when Donald declared he felt strong enough to go down to Port Agnew, and, in the presence of the entire family, ordered the butler to tell his father’s chauffeur to bring the closed car around to the door. Immediately, the astute Elizabeth precipitated matters by asking her brother sharply if his projected visit to Port Agnew predicated also a visit to the Sawdust Pile.