“You agree with me, Molly, don’t you, that Kitty shall marry when and where she pleases?”
“Certainly, Daniel. I don’t believe in ready-made matches.”
“No more do I. Molly, old girl, I’ve slathers of money. I could quit now; but I’m healthy and can’t play all day. Got to work some of the time. Every one around here shall do as they please. And,”—slyly—“if Kitty should want to marry Thomas . . .”
“Anything against the idea?”
“But Thomas couldn’t take care of Kitty.”
“And Kitty wouldn’t marry a man who couldn’t.”
“Some truth In that. At present Thomas couldn’t support an idea. But there’s makings in the boy, give a man time and nothing else to do. There’s one thing, though; Thomas seems to have the gift of picking out the chaff when it comes to men. A man who can spot a man is worth something to somebody. Where Thomas’ niche is, however, I can’t tell to date. He’ll never get on socially; he has too much regard for other people’s feelings.”
“And no tact.”
“A poor man needs a good deal of that.” Killigrew began paring his fourth chop-bone. He hadn’t enjoyed himself so much in months. Thomas had kissed Kitty and hadn’t wanted to!
It would take a philosopher to dig up the reason for that; or rather a clairvoyant, since philosophers dealt only with logical sequences, and there was nothing logical to Killigrew’s mind in Thomas kissing Kitty when he hadn’t wanted to!
Sugar, coffee and spices. Thomas dipped his pen into the inkwell and went to work. Were all American fathers mad? To condone an affront like this! He could not understand these Americans. He had approached Killigrew with far more courage than the latter suspected. Thomas had read that here men still shot each other on slight provocation. Sugar, coffee and spices. . . . Sao Paulo and valorization committee . . . 10,000,000 bags. What should he do? Whither should he turn? To have offered that affront . . . for nothing! Kitty, whom he revered above all women save one, his mother! . . . Sugar, coffee and spices. Rio number seven, 7 1/2 to 13 1/2 cents. Leaks in the roasting business. . . . Apologize? On his knees, if need be. Caught like a rat in a trap; done for; at the end of his rope. Why hadn’t he taken to his heels when he had had the chance? Gone at once to New York and sent for his belongings? . . . Sugar, coffee and spices. . . . The pen slipped from his fingers, and he laid his head on his arms. Monumental ass!
Up suddenly, alert eyed. There was a telephone-booth in the hall. This he sought noiselessly. He remained hidden in the booth for as long as twenty minutes. Then he emerged, wiping the perspiration from his forehead. For the time being he was saved. But he was very miserable.