“And Peyton Kendrick and that nice Yankee boy and—”
“All bunched, all bunched at the second post! There’s a dark horse running and he doesn’t know it himself. God help him!” he added under his breath as she turned to speak to Tempie.
“If you don’t want her to marry Hobson whom do you choose?” she said returning to the subject. “I wish—I wish—but of course it is impossible, and I’m glad, as it is, that Andrew is indifferent.”
“Yes,” answered the major, “and you’ll find that indifference is a hall mark stamped on most modern emotions.”
DAVID’S ROSE AND SOME THORNS
“Now,” said David, “if you’ll just put away a few of those ancient pipes and puddle your papers a bit in your own cozy corner we can call these quarters ready to receive the ladies, God bless ’em! Does it look kinder bare to you? We might borrow a few drapes from the madam, or would you trust to the flowers? I’ll send them up for you to fix around tasty. A blasted poet ought to know how to bunch spinach to look well.”
As he spoke David Kildare stood in the middle of the living-room in his bachelor quarters, which were in the Colonial, a tall pillared, wide windowed, white brick apartment-house that stood across the street from the home of Major Buchanan, and surveyed the long rooms upon which he and his man Eph had been expending their energies for more than an hour.
Andrew Sevier sank down upon the arm of a chair and lighted a long and villainous pipe. “Trust to the flowers,” he answered. “I think Phoebe doesn’t care for the drapes of this life so much as some women do and as this is for her birthday let’s have the flowers, sturdy ones with stiff stems and good head pieces.”
“That’s right, Phoebe’s nobody’s clinging vine,” answered David moodily. “She doesn’t want any trellis either—wish something would wilt her! Look here, Andrew, on the square, what’s the matter that I can’t get Phoebe? You’re a regular love pilot on paper, point me another course; this one is no good; I’ve run into a sand bank.” The dark red forelock on David’s brow was ruffled and his keen eyes were troubled, while his large sweet mouth was set in a straight firm line. He looked very strong, forceful and determined as he stopped in front of his friend and squared himself as if for a blow.
Andrew Sevier looked at him thoughtfully for a few seconds straight between the eyes, then his mouth widened into an affectionate smile as he laid his hand on the sturdy shoulder and said:
“Not a thing on God’s green earth the matter with you, Davie; it’s the modernism of the situation that you seem unable to handle. May I use your flower simile? Once they grew in gardens and were drooping and sweet and overran trellises, to say nothing of clinging to oak trees, but we’ve developed the American Beauty, old man! It stands stiff and glossy and holds its head up on its own stem, the pride of the nation! We can get them, though they come high. Ah, but they are sweet! Phoebe is one of the most gorgeous to be found—it will be a price to pay, but you’ll pay it, David, you’ll pay.”