Staggered by Brian’s inflexible air of resolution, Kenny, his fingers clenched in his hair, began another circle. He reverted to his grievance. The quarrel this time was sharp and brief. Brian hated repetitions. Hotly impenitent he flung out of the studio and slammed his bedroom door, leaving Kenny dazed and defensive and utterly unable to comprehend the twist of fate by which the dignity of his grievance had been turned to disadvantage.
Garry glanced at the gray haze in the court beyond the window and rose.
“It’s nearly daybreak,” he said. “And I’ve a model coming at ten. She’s busy and I can’t stall.”
He left Kenny amazed and aggrieved at his desertion. Certainly in the grip of untoward events, a man is entitled to someone with whom he can talk it over.
Wakeful and nervous, Kenny smoked, raked his hair with his fingers and brooded. Brian had been disinherited much too often to resent it all at once to-night. As for the shotgun, that dispute or its equivalent was certainly as normal a one as regularity could make it. And he had related many a tale unhampered by fact that Brian had simply ignored.
“What on earth has got into the lad?” he wondered impatiently.
Ah, well, he was a good lad, clean-cut and fine, with Irish eyes and an Irish temper like his father. Kenny forgot and forgave. Both were a spontaneity of temperament. Brian and he would begin again. That was always pleasant.
He strode remorsefully to Brian’s door and knocked. There was no answer. He knocked again. Ordinarily he would have flung back the door with a show of temper. Penitential, he opened it with an air of gentle forbearance. The room, which gave evidence of anger and hurried packing, was empty, the door that opened into the corridor, ajar.
Brian was gone.
White and startled, Kenny unearthed the chafing dish and made himself some coffee.
Brian, of course, would return in the morning, whistling and sane. He would call something back in his big, pleasant voice to the elevator man who worshipped him, and bang the studio door. The lad was not given to such definite revolt. Besides, Brian, he must remember, was an O’Neill, an Irishman and a son of his, an indisputable trio of good fortune; as such he could be depended upon not to make an ass of himself.
THE UNSUCCESSFUL PARENT
Kenny slept as he lived, with a genius for dreams and adventure. He remembered moodily as he rose at noon that he had dreamed a kaleidoscopic chase, precisely like a moving picture with himself a star, in which, bolting through one taxi door and out another with a shotgun in his hand, he had valiantly pursued a youth who had, miraculously, found the crooked stick of the psaltery and stolen it. The youth proved to be Brian. That part was reasonable enough. Brian was the only one who could find the thing long enough to steal it.