HOW WHITY GUNKED THE PLOT
I knew something or other outside of business was puttin’ hectic spots in Old Hickory’s disposition these last few days; but not until late yesterday did I guess it was Cousin Inez.
I expect the Ellins family wasn’t any too proud of Cousin Inez, to start with; for among other things she’s got a matrimonial record. Three hubbies so far, I understand, two safe in a neat kept plot out in Los Angeles; one in the discards—and she’s just been celebratin’ the decree by travelin’ abroad. They hadn’t seen much of her for years; but durin’ this New York stopover visit she seemed to be makin’ up for lost time.
About four foot eight Cousin Inez was in her French heels, and fairly thick through. Maybe it was the way she dressed, but from just below her double chin she looked the same size all the way down. Tie a Bulgarian sash on a sack of bran, and you’ve got the model. Inez was a bear for sashes too. Another thing she was strong on was hair. Course, the store blond part didn’t quite match the sandy gray that grew underneath, and the near-auburn frontispiece was another tint still; but all that added variety and quantity—and what more could you ask?
Her bein’ some pop-eyed helped you to remember Inez the second time. About the size of hard-boiled eggs, peeled, them eyes of hers was, and most the same color. They say she’s a wise old girl though,—carries on three diff’rent business propositions left by her late string of husbands, goes in deep for classical music, and is some kind of a high priestess in the theosophy game. A bit faddy, I judged, with maybe a few bats in her belfry.
But when it comes to investin’ some of her surplus funds in Corrugated preferred she has to have a good look at the books first, and makes Cousin Hickory Ellins explain some items in the annual report. Three or four times she was down to the gen’ral offices before the deal went through.
This last visit of hers was something diff’rent, though.
I took the message down to Martin, the chauffeur myself. It was a straight call on the carpet. “Tell Cousin Inez the boss wants to see her before she goes out this afternoon,” says I, “and wait with the limousine until she comes.”
Old Hickory was pacin’ his private office, scowlin’ and grouchy, as he sends the word, and it didn’t take any second sight to guess he was peeved about something. I has to snicker too when Cousin Inez floats in, smilin’ mushy as usual.
She wa’n’t smilin’ any when she drifts out half an hour later. She’s some flushed behind the ears, and her complexion was a little streaked under the eyes. She holds her chin up defiant, though, and slams the brass gate behind her. She’d hardly caught the elevator before there comes a snappy call for me on the buzzer.
“Boy,” says Old Hickory, glarin’ at me savage, “who is this T. Virgil Bunn?”