Jerry came down to the breakfast table attired in tweeds of a rather violent pattern, knickerbockers and spats. He wore a plaid shirt with turnover cuffs, a gay scarf and a handkerchief just showing a neat triangle of the same color at his upper coat pocket. This handkerchief, he informed me airily, was his “show-er.” He kept the “blow-er” in his trousers. At all events, he was much pleased when I told him that the symphony was complete.
“The linen, allegro, the cravat, adagio con amore, the suit—there’s too much of the scherzo in the suit, my boy.”
“Con amore?” he asked, looking up from his oatmeal.
“Yes,” I said calmly, for not until this moment had I guessed the truth. “Con amore,” I repeated. “I could hardly have hoped, if Miss Marcia Van Wyck had not come to the neighborhood, that you would have done me the honor of a visit.”
It was a random shot, but it struck home, for he reddened ever so slightly.
“How did you know? Who—who told you?” he stammered awkwardly.
“I think it must have been the cravat,” I laughed.
“It was a good guess,” he said rather sheepishly (I suppose because he hadn’t said anything to me about her).
“She was tired of town. She’s opening Briar Hills for a week or so. Awfully nice girl, Roger. You’ve got to meet her right away.”
“I shall be delighted,” I remarked.
“She knows all about you. Oh, she’s clever. You’ll like her. Reads pretty deep sort of stuff and can talk about anything.”
“An intellectual attraction!” I commented. “Very interesting, and of course rare.”
“Very. We don’t agree, you know, on a lot of things. She’s way beyond me in the modern philosophies. She’s an artist, too—understands color and its uses and all that sort of thing. She’s very fine, Roger, and good. Fond of nature. She wants to see my specimens. I’m going to have her over soon. We could have a little dinner, couldn’t we? She has a companion, Miss Gore, sort of a poor relation. She’s not very pretty, and doesn’t like men, but she’s cheerful when she’s expected to be. You sha’n’t care, shall you?”
“Yes, I shall care,” I growled, “but I’ll do it if you don’t mind my not dressing. I haven’t a black suit to my name.”
“Oh, that doesn’t matter. Very informal, you know.”
The motor was already buzzing in the driveway and he wasted little time over his eggs.
“Fix it for tomorrow night, will you, Roger?” he flung at me from the doorway as he slipped into his great coat. “Nothing elaborate, you know; just a sound soup, entree, roast, salad and dessert. And for wines, the simplest, say sherry, champagne and perhaps some port.”
“Shall you be back to luncheon?” I inquired.
“No; dinner, perhaps. G’by!” And he was down the steps and in the machine, which went roaring down the drive, cut-out wide, making the fair winter morning hideous with sound. I stood in the doorway watching, until only a cloud of blue vapor where the road went through into the trees remained to mark the exit of the Perfect Man.