Rose telegraphed Galbraith that morning, and she took the noon train for St. Louis. She needed a day or two there to make the modest supplements to her wardrobe that her savings permitted.
The Real Adventure
THE TUNE CHANGES
John Williamson’s doctor packed him off to Carlsbad just about the time that Rose achieved the conquest of Centropolis (along in April, 1914, that was). Violet and their one child, a girl of twelve, went along with him to keep him company; at rather long range, it seemed, because they were both in Paris on the first of August, when the war broke out, and John spent six frantic days getting into Switzerland and out again into France, before his attempt to join them was successful. They had run the full gamut of refugees’ experiences, by the time they got to England and secured accommodations on a liner to New York, and the tale got an added touch from the stratagem Violet employed in successfully bringing off all her new French frocks.
It took just two hours’ steady talking to tell the story, and Violet figured that during the first week after her return to Chicago, she told it on an average of three times a day. So that by the time she could manage a day for motoring out to Lake Forest to see Constance Crawford, she was ready to talk about something else.
Constance had lately had her fourth—and she asserted, last—baby, and wasn’t seeing anybody yet, except intimates, one at a time; and she relaxed a little deeper, with a sigh of relief, into her cushioned chair, when Violet said:
“The same things happened to us that happened to everybody else, so you don’t have to hear them. Oh, it was nice, in a way, being separated from poor John when the thing happened, because—well, he hasn’t got over it yet. He’s still more as he was when we were first engaged, than he’s ever been since. And at thirty-seven that’s something! And then it’s a satisfaction about the clothes. It seems as if I must have had a premonition that something was going to happen, because I bought absolutely everything I wanted.
“Of course it was an awful moment when John said we couldn’t take anything but hand-luggage. But I got three perfectly enormous straw-telescopes—you know the kind—about four feet long, and then we left everything else behind, except a tooth-brush and a comb apiece. And what with that and the biggest hat box in the world—my, but it’s lucky hats are small!—we managed it.
“But all the stuff about having your automobile taken away and riding in a cart, and thinking you’re going to be arrested as a spy, and living for days on milk-chocolate and vin ordinaire, you’ve heard it all a hundred times already, so we’ll talk about something else.”
“I never heard anything so heroic in my life,” Constance said. “But you don’t need to be, because I’m perishing for details.—Unless,” she went on, “it isn’t heroism at all, but something else you want to talk about.”