“Absolutely! Silent tomb and what not.”
“The reason I wanted that darned thing was because I’ve just got engaged to a girl over in England, and I thought that, if I could hand my father that china figure-thing with one hand and break the news with the other, it might help a bit. She’s the most wonderful girl!”
“I’ll bet she is,” said Archie, cordially.
“The trouble is she’s in the chorus of one of the revues over there, and Father is apt to kick. So I thought—oh, well, it’s no good worrying now. Come along where it’s quiet, and I’ll tell you all about her.”
“That’ll be jolly,” said Archie.
SALVATORE CHOOSES THE WRONG MOMENT
Archie reclaimed the family jewellery from its temporary home next morning; and, having done so, sauntered back to the Cosmopolis. He was surprised, on entering the lobby, to meet his father-in-law. More surprising still, Mr. Brewster was manifestly in a mood of extraordinary geniality. Archie could hardly believe his eyes when the other waved cheerily to him—nor his ears a moment later when Mr. Brewster, addressing him as “my boy,” asked him how he was and mentioned that the day was a warm one.
Obviously this jovial frame of mind must be taken advantage of; and Archie’s first thought was of the downtrodden Salvatore, to the tale of whose wrongs he had listened so sympathetically on the previous day. Now was plainly the moment for the waiter to submit his grievance, before some ebb-tide caused the milk of human kindness to flow out of Daniel Brewster. With a swift “Cheerio!” in his father-in-law’s direction, Archie bounded into the grill-room. Salvatore, the hour for luncheon being imminent but not yet having arrived, was standing against the far wall in an attitude of thought.
“Laddie!” cried Archie.
“A most extraordinary thing has happened. Good old Brewster has suddenly popped up through a trap and is out in the lobby now. And what’s still more weird, he’s apparently bucked.”
“Braced, you know. In the pink. Pleased about something. If you go to him now with that yarn of yours, you can’t fail. He’ll kiss you on both cheeks and give you his bank-roll and collar-stud. Charge along and ask the head-waiter if you can have ten minutes off.”
Salvatore vanished in search of the potentate named, and Archie returned to the lobby to bask in the unwonted sunshine.
“Well, well, well, what!” he said. “I thought you were at Brookport.”
“I came up this morning to meet a friend of mine,” replied Mr. Brewster genially. “Professor Binstead.”
“Don’t think I know him.”
“Very interesting man,” said Mr. Brewster, still with the same uncanny amiability. “He’s a dabbler in a good many things—science, phrenology, antiques. I asked him to bid for me at a sale yesterday. There was a little china figure—”