The Kentons eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about The Kentons.
say, “Oh, I hope I’m not in your way, old fellow?” and then making jokes to Ellen.  Breckon could not say the jokes were bad, though the taste of them seemed to him so.  The man had a fleeting wit, which scorched whatever he turned it upon, and yet it was wit.  “Why don’t you try him in American?” he asked at the failure of Breckon and the tram conductor to understand each other in Dutch.  He tried the conductor himself in American, and he was so deplorably funny that it was hard for Breckon to help being ’particeps criminus’, at least in a laugh.

He asked himself if that were really the kind of man he was, and he grew silent and melancholy in the fear that it was a good deal the sort of man.  To this morbid fancy Trannel seemed himself in a sort of excess, or what he would be if he were logically ultimated.  He remembered all the triviality of his behavior with Ellen at first, and rather sickened at the thought of some of his early pleasantries.  She was talking gayly now with Trannel, and Breckon wondered whether she was falling under the charm that he felt in him, in spite of himself.

If she was, her father was not.  The judge sat on the other side of the car, and unmistakably glowered at the fellow’s attempts to make himself amusing to Ellen.  Trannel himself was not insensible to the judge’s mood.  Now and then he said something to intensify it.  He patronized the judge and he made fun of the tourist character in which Boyne had got himself up, with a field-glass slung by a strap under one arm and a red Baedeker in his hand.  He sputtered with malign laughter at a rather gorgeous necktie which Boyne had put on for the day, and said it was not a very good match for the Baedeker.

Boyne retorted rudely, and that amused Trannel still more.  He became personal to Breckon, and noted the unclerical cut of his clothes.  He said he ought to have put on his uniform for an expedition like that, in case they got into any sort of trouble.  To Ellen alone he was inoffensive, unless he overdid his polite attentions to her in carrying her parasol for her, and helping her out of the tram, when they arrived, shouldering every one else away, and making haste to separate her from the others and then to walk on with her a little in advance.

Suddenly he dropped her, and fell back to Boyne and his father, while Breckon hastened forward to her side.  Trannel put his arm across Boyne’s shoulders and asked him if he were mad, and then laughed at him.  “You’re all right, Boyne, but you oughtn’t to be so approachable.  You ought to put on more dignity, and repel familiarity!”

Boyne could only twitch away in silence that he made as haughty as he could, but not so haughty that Trannel did not find it laughable, and he laughed in a teasing way that made Breckon more and more serious.  He was aware of becoming even solemn with the question of his likeness to Trannel.  He was of Trannel’s quality, and their difference was a matter of quantity, and there was not enough difference.  In his sense of their likeness Breckon vowed himself to a gravity of behavior evermore which he should not probably be able to observe, but the sample he now displayed did not escape the keen vigilance of Trannel.

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The Kentons from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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