* * * * *
When she was seated in the car beside him, and he was tucking the robe around her, Cally inquired with a deceptive air of indifference:
“You don’t care particularly where we go, do you, Hugo?”
“The point seems of no importance whatever, now that I’ve got you.”
“Then,” said she, smiling, “I shall take you first to the Heth Cheroot Works.”
Canning’s face, which had been buoyant from the moment his eyes discovered her in the crowd, betrayed surprise and strong disapproval. That, surely, would give his afternoon a slant different from his plannings....
“I bar the Works. I feel all ways but sociological to-day. Let’s go to the country.”
“Afterwards,” said she, with the same lightness, clear proof of the casual nature of the proposed excursion. “We’ll simply pop in for a minute or two, to see what it looks like—”
“But you can’t tell what it looks like, even—”
“Well, at least I’ll have seen it. Do give me my way about this. You’ll enjoy it ...”
And leaning forward on that, she said to his hired driver: “Take us to Seventeenth and Canal Streets.”
The shadow of disapprobation did not lift from Hugo’s face.
“I had no idea,” he said, boredly and somewhat stiffly, “that you took your new-thought so seriously.”
Cally laughed brightly. “But then you never think women are serious, Hugo.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to add: “Until it’s too late.” But she held that back, as being too pointedly reminiscent.
A Little Visit to the
Birthplace of the Family; how Cally
thinks Socialism and almost faints, and Hugo’s Afternoon of
Romance ends Short in the Middle.
The car came to a standstill, and Cally was reminded of another afternoon, long ago, when she and Hen Cooney had encountered Mr. V.V. upon this humming corner. This time, she knew which way to look.
“There it is.... Confess, Hugo, you’re surprised that it’s so small!”
But Hugo helped no new-thoughter to belittle honest business.
“Unlike some I could mention, I’ve seen factories before,” quoth he. “I’ve seen a million dollar business done in a smaller plant than that.”
Actually Cally found the Works bigger than she had expected; reaction from the childish marble palace idea had swung her mind’s eye too far. But gazing at the weather-worn old pile, spilling dirtily over the broken sidewalk, she was once more struck and depressed by something almost sinister about it, something vaguely foreboding. To her imagination it was a little as if the ramshackle old pile leered at her: “Wash your hands of me if you will, young lady. I mean you harm some day....”
But then, of course, she wasn’t washing her hands of it; her hands had never been in it at all.