Not much remained after the amounts due every creditor had been checked up and provided for; and it took practically all Duane had, almost all Naida had, and also the sacrifice of the town house and country villa to properly protect those who had suffered. Part of his mother’s estate remained intact, enough to permit her and her daughter to live by practising those inconsequential economies, the necessity for which fills Europe with about the only sort of Americans cultivated foreigners can tolerate, and for which predatory Europeans have no use whatever.
As for Duane, matters were now in such shape that he found it possible to rent a studio with adjoining bath and bedroom—an installation which, at one time, was more than he expected to be able to afford.
The loss of that luxury, which custom had made a necessity, filled his daily life full of trifling annoyances and surprises which were often unpleasant and sometimes humorous; but the new and arid order of things kept him so busy that he had little time for the apathy, bitterness, or self-commiseration which, in linked sequence, usually follow sudden disaster.
Sooner or later it was inevitable that he must feel more keenly the death of a father who, until in the shadow of impending disaster, had never offered him a very close intimacy. Their relations had been merely warm and pleasant—an easy camaraderie between friends—neither questioned the other’s rights to reticence and privacy. Their mutual silence concerning business pursuits was instinctive; neither father nor son understood the other’s affairs, nor were they interested except in the success of a good comrade.
It was inevitable that, in years to come, the realisation of his loss would become keener and deeper; but now, in the reaction from shock, and in the anxiety and stress and dire necessity for activity, only the surface sorrow was understood—the pity of it, the distressing circumstances surrounding the death of a good father, a good friend, and a personally upright man.
The funeral was private; only the immediate family attended. Duane had written to Geraldine, Kathleen, and Scott not to come, and he had also asked if he might not go to them when the chance arrived.
And now the chance had come at last, in the dead of winter; but the prospect of escape to Geraldine brightened the whole world for him and gilded the snowy streets of the city with that magic radiance no flaming planet ever cast.
He had already shipped a crate of canvases to Roya-Neh; his trunk had gone, and now, checking with an amused shrug a natural impulse to hail a cab, he swung his suit-case and himself aboard a car, bound for the Patroons Club, where he meant to lunch before taking the train for Roya-Neh.
He had not been to the club since the catastrophe and his father’s death, and he was very serious and sombre and slightly embarrassed when he entered.