“At me? My dear Garry!”
“You didn’t write, you know, after you said you would. You never do—”
“I telegraphed instead.”
“Your telegram,” reminded Garry, “said ‘O.K. Kenny.’ And I’m chuck full of curiosity and questions. Sit down. Every chair in the studio’s on a furlough.”
“So I see.”
“You left the studio in something of a mess. Sid tried to straighten it out and nearly had brain fever. Got to babbling and wringing his hands and we sent for Haggerty. She went on an order bust for two days.”
“The old shrew! I suppose everything in the place is under something.”
He found cigarettes and a chair and settled back with an air of lazy comfort.
Garry made no attempt to disguise his impatience.
“Kenny,” he said, “you’re the limit. If I’d ever telephoned into your slumber and asked you to find four thousand ragged dollars and mail them to me, and if I’d said I’d accidentally acquired a ward and was bringing her back with me, you wouldn’t sit there in patience and wait for facts. Mind, old dear, I want the truth. It’s likely to be a lot queerer than anything you can make up.”
Kenny sighed—and told the truth. Garry listened in amazement.
“Kenny,” he said slowly, “you’ve roamed off before and gotten yourself into some extraordinary messes and I honestly thought that summer in China had taught you a lesson. But this tale of Adam Craig and the miser money is the king-pin of them all. You’ve absolutely got to house-clean that instinct for melodrama out of existence. It’s a peril; and furthermore expensive.”
“Don’t rub it in,” said Kenny. “Whatever you can think to say, I’ve already told myself. Though,” he added pensively, “it’s queer, Garry. Wherever I go, things begin to thicken up before I’ve had a chance to be at fault in any way. And I’m so darned sick of anticlimaxes.”
“You keep yourself keyed up to such a pitch that anything normal’s got to be an anticlimax! Think of you digging dots when you knew there wasn’t any money! Think of you with a ward! Oh, my Lord!” finished Garry with a gasp. “It’s incredible. It—it really is.”
Kenny flushed and gnawed nervously at his lips. Could he tell Garry of Samhain?
“And think of you,” said Garry, his voice changing, “salting the old man’s fireplace with your own money so that his niece could come down here and study French and music! You wonderful, soft-hearted Irish lunatic! I love you for it!”
Kenny rose at once and began to bluster around the studio, damning Haggerty. There was something disturbingly warm and honest in Garry’s eyes. Then with a sudden gesture of impatience he came back and his troubled glance begged for understanding.
“Garry,” he blurted, “there’s one thing that probably we shan’t be telling people for a year at least. And that is—that I love this girl better than my life and I’m going to marry her.”