“It’s been a lovely afternoon, and I’ve enjoyed it all—except Mr. Inglesby. I don’t like Mr. Inglesby, Padre. He’s amusing enough, I suppose, at times, but one can’t seem to get rid of him—he’s a perfect Old Man of the Sea,” she told us, confidentially. “And you can’t imagine how detestably youthful he is, Mr. Flint! He told me half a dozen times this afternoon that after all, years don’t matter—it is the heart which is young. And he takes cold tubs and is proud of himself, and plays golf—for exercise!” The scorn of the lithe and limber young was in her voice.
“What’s the use of being a millionaire, if you have a shape like the rainbarrel?” I quoted pensively.
Later that night, when “the lights were fled, the garlands dead, and all but me departed,” I went over for my usual last half-hour with John Flint. Very often we have nothing whatever to say, and we are even wise enough not to say it. We sit silently, he with Kerry’s noble old head against his foot, each busy with his own thoughts and reflections, but each conscious of the friendly nearness of the other. You have never had a friend, if you have never known one with whom you might sit a silent, easy hour. To-night he sucked savagely at his old pipe, and his eyes were somber.
“You got the straight tip from Miss Sally Ruth, father,” he said, coming out of a brown study. “What do you suppose that piker’s trying to crawl out of his cocoon for? He never wanted to caper around Appleboro women before, did he? No. And here he’s been muldooning to get some hog-fat off and some wind and waistline back. Now, why? To please himself? He don’t have to care a hoot what he looks like. To please some girl? That’s more likely. Parson: that girl’s Mary Virginia Eustis.” He added, through his teeth: “Hunter knows. Hunter’s steering.” And then, with quiet conviction: “They’re both as crooked as hell!” he finished.
“But the thing’s absurd on the face of it! Why, the mere notion is preposterous!” I insisted, angrily.
“I have seen worse things happen,” said he, shortly. “But there,—keep your hair on! Things don’t happen unless they’re slated to happen, so don’t let it bother you too much. You go turn in and forget everything except that you need a night’s sleep.”
I tried to follow his sound advice, but although I needed a night’s sleep and there was no tangible reason why I shouldn’t have gotten it, I didn’t. The shadow of Inglesby haunted my pillow.
“EACH IN HIS OWN COIN”