“Have you lost your tongue, Marian? You’re as uncommunicative as a newly-elected office-holder. If you can’t get a little more life into these expeditions of ours we’ll pack up and head for home.”
She smiled, patted his shoulder and promised to improve. But he appeared to be in a gloomy mood.
“I believe we ought to go, anyhow,” he went on. “In my opinion this war is going to spread like a prairie fire. The Kaiser got back to Berlin yesterday. He’ll sign the mobilization orders to-day as sure as fate. For the past week, on the Berlin Bourse, Canadian Pacific stock has been dropping. That means they expect England to come in.”
He gazed darkly into the future. It may seem that, for an American statesman, he had an unusual grasp of European politics. This is easily explained by the fact that he had been talking with the bootblack at the Carlton Hotel.
“Yes,” he said with sudden decision, “I’ll go down to the steamship offices early Monday morning.”
His daughter heard these words with a sinking heart. She had a most unhappy picture of herself boarding a ship and sailing out of Liverpool or Southampton, leaving the mystery that so engrossed her thoughts forever unsolved. Wisely she diverted her father’s thoughts toward the question of food. She had heard, she said, that Simpson’s, in the Strand, was an excellent place to dine. They would go there, and walk. She suggested a short detour that would carry them through Adelphi Terrace. It seemed she had always wanted to see Adelphi Terrace.
As they passed through that silent Street she sought to guess, from an inspection of the grim forbidding house fronts, back of which lay the lovely garden, the romantic mystery. But the houses were so very much like one another. Before one of them, she noted, a taxi waited.
After dinner her father pleaded for a music-hall as against what he called “some highfaluting, teacup English play.” He won. Late that night, as they rode back to the Carlton, special editions were being proclaimed in the streets. Germany was mobilizing!
The girl from Texas retired, wondering what epistolary surprise the morning would bring forth. It brought forth this:
Dear daughter of the Senate: Or is it Congress? I could not quite decide. But surely in one or the other of those August bodies your father sits when he is not at home in Texas or viewing Europe through his daughter’s eyes. One look at him and I had gathered that.