“Aunt Agatha!” begged the girl helplessly. “What in the world is it all about?”
Aunt Agatha flushed guiltily.
“Why is it,” she demanded, “that no one ever seems to understand what I’m saying? Dear knows I haven’t a harelip or even a lisp. Why, Baron Tregar, my dear. He’s been staying in St. Augustine, too. It almost seemed as if he had deliberately followed me there—though of course that couldn’t be. And the Prince too. And the Baron bought an aeroplane to amuse himself and annoy the Carrolls—”
Aunt Agatha flushed again, cleared her throat and looked away. Why Ronador was in St. Augustine she knew well enough. He had waited near her, successfully, for news of Diane. And though the Baron had been very quiet, he had kept his eye upon the Prince. Aunt Agatha had for once been the startled hub of intrigue.
“And what with the driver mumbling to himself this afternoon because I lost my umbrella and made him go back, and the horse having ribs,” she complained, shying from a topic which contained dangerous possibilities of revealing a certain indiscretion, “I do wonder I’m here at all. And the young man was very decent about the dime in his fish—though I’m sure he burned his fingers digging for the smelling salts—for they’d already begun to sizzle—but dear me! Diane, you can’t imagine how I jarred my spine and my switch—I did think for a minute it would tumble off—and he was so quick and pleasant to collect the nickels and hairpins. Such a pleasant, comfortable sort of chap. I remember now he was at the Sherrill’s and very good-looking, too, I must say, and very lonely too, I’ll wager, camping about for his health. He didn’t say anything about his health, but one can see by his eyes that he’s troubled about it.”
“Aunt Agatha!” begged Diane helplessly in a flash of foreboding, “what in creation are you trying to say?”
“Why, Mr. Poynter, of course!” exclaimed Aunt Agatha. “The hand bag shot into his camp and spilled nickels, and I bumped into a tree and jarred my switch. And a very fine fellow he is, to be sure!”
It was like Aunt Agatha to blunder into the wrong camp. And surely it was like Philip to win her favor by chance.
THE TALE OF A CANDLESTICK
The friendship of Aunt Agatha and Mr. Poynter miraculously grew. Aunt Agatha, upon the following morning, took to wandering vaguely about the wooded shore and into Philip’s camp, impelled by gracious concern for his health, which she insisted upon regarding as impaired, and by effusive gratitude for such trifling civilities as he had readily proffered the day before. From there she wandered vaguely back to her niece’s camp fire in a chronic state of worry about Carl. Discontented, unfailing in her melancholy reminiscences of cannibalistic snakes and herons. Aunt Agatha