“Not necessarily. He could see your hand, and you couldn’t see his,” Rand told him.
“You going to see Gresham and his friends, this evening?” Dunmore asked. “Well, when you get back, if you find four cars in the garage, counting the station-wagon, lock up after you’ve put your own car away. If you find only three, then you’ll know that Anton Varcek’s still out, so leave it open for him. That’s the way we do here; last one in locks up.”
Rand found another car, a smoke-gray Plymouth coupe, standing on the left of his Lincoln when he went down to the garage. Running his car outside and down to the highway, he settled down to his regular style of driving—a barely legal fifty m.p.h., punctuated by bursts of absolutely felonious speed whenever he found an unobstructed straightaway. Entering Rosemont, he slowed and went through the underpass at the railroad tracks, speeding again when he was clear of the village. A few minutes later, he was turning into the crushed-limestone drive that led up to the buff-brick Gresham house.
A girl met him at the door, a cute little redhead in a red-striped dress, who gave him a smile that seemed to start on the bridge of her nose and lift her whole face up after it. She held out her hand to him.
“Colonel Rand!” she exclaimed. “I’ll bet you don’t remember me.”
“Sure I do. You’re Dot,” Rand said. “At least, I think you are; the last time I saw you, you were in pigtails. And you were only about so high.” He measured with his hand. “The last time I was here, you were away at school. You must be old enough to vote, by now.”
“I will, this fall,” she replied. “Come on in; you’re the first one here. Daddy hasn’t gotten back from town yet. He called and said he’d be delayed till about nine.” In the hall she took his hat and coat and guided him toward the parlor on the right.
“Oh, Mother!” she called. “Here’s Colonel Rand!”
Rand remembered Irene Gresham, too; an over-age dizzy blonde who was still living in the Flaming Youth era of the twenties. She was an extremely good egg; he liked her very much. After all, insisting upon remaining an F. Scott Fitzgerald character was a harmless and amusing foible, and it was no more than right that somebody should try to keep the bright banner of Jazz Age innocence flying in a grim and sullen world. He accepted a cigarette, shared the flame of his lighter with mother and daughter, and submitted to being gushed over.
“... and, honestly, Jeff, you get handsomer every year,” Irene Gresham rattled on. “Dot, doesn’t he look just like Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind? But then, of course, Jeff really is a Southerner, so ...”
The doorbell interrupted this slight non sequitur. She broke off, rising.
“Sit still, Jeff; I’m just going to see who it is. You know, we’re down to only one servant now, and it seems as if it’s always her night off, or something. I don’t know, honestly, what I’m going to do....”