“I’m surprised,” she said to Mr. Klinker, “Mr. Bylash didn’t go out to give her the glad hand, and welcome her into our humble coturee.”
Mr. Bylash, who had been thinking of doing that very thing, said rather shortly that the ladies present quite satisfied him.
“And who do you think brought her around and right up to the door?” continued William Klinker, taking no notice of their blandishments. “Hon. West—Charles Gardenia West—”
A scream from Miss Miller applauded the witty hit.
“Oh, it ain’t mine,” said Mr. Klinker modestly. “I heard a fellow get it off at the shop the other day. He’s a pretty smooth fellow, Charles Gardenia is—a little too smooth for my way of thinking. A fellow that’s always so smilin’—Oh, you Smithy!” he suddenly yelled out the window—“Smithy! Hey!—Aw, I can beat the face off you!—Awright—eight sharp at the same place.—Go on, you fat Mohawk you!... But say,” he resumed to the parlor, “y’know that little woman is a stormy petrel for this house—that’s right. Remember the last time she was here—the time we had the Porterhouse? Conference in the dining-room after supper, and the next morning out went the trunks of that red-head fellow—from Baltimore—what’s his name?—Milhiser.”
“Well, she hasn’t got any call to intrude in my affairs,” said Mr. Bylash, still rather miffed. “I’m here to tell you that!”
“Oh, I ain’t speakin’ of the reg’lars,” answered Klinker, “so don’t get nervous. But say, I got kind of a hunch that here is where the little Doc gets his.”
Klinker’s hunch was not without foundation; this very question was being agitated at that moment in the room just over his head. Miss Weyland, having passed the parlor portieres with no thought that her movements were attracting interest on the other side of them, skipped up the stairs, rapped on her Aunt Jennie’s door, and ran breathlessly into the room. Her aunt was sitting by the bureau, reading a novel from the circulating library. Though she had been sitting right here since about four o’clock, only getting up once to light the gas, she had a casual air like one who is only killing a moment’s time between important engagements. She looked up at the girl’s entrance, and an affectionate smile lit her well-lined face.
“My dear Sharlee! I’m so glad to see you.”
They kissed tenderly.
“Oh, Aunt Jennie, tell me! Is he—this man you telephoned me about—is he a little, small, dried young man, with spectacles and a brown derby, and needing a hair-cut, and the gravest, drollest manner in the world? Tell me—is he?”
“My dear, you have described him to the life. Where did you see him?”
Sharlee collapsed upon the bed. Presently she revived and outlined the situation to Aunt Jennie.