“How soon can I get back to work, Doctor?” demanded Monty, the day before the special train was to carry him south. He was beginning to see the dark side of this enforced idleness. His blood again was tingling with the desire to be back in the harness of a spendthrift.
“To work?” laughed the physician. “And what is your occupation, pray?”
“Making other people rich,” responded Brewster, soberly.
“Well, aren’t you satisfied with what you have done for me? If you are as charitable as that you must be still pretty sick. Be careful, and you may be on your feet again in five or six weeks.”
Harrison came in as Lotless left. Peggy smiled at him from the window. She had been reading aloud from a novel so garrulous that it fairly cried aloud for interruptions.
“Now, Nopper, what became of the ball I was going to give?” demanded Monty, a troubled look in his eyes.
“Why, we called it off,” said “Nopper,” in surprise.
“Don’t you remember, Monty?” asked Peggy, looking up quickly, and wondering if his mind had gone trailing off.
“I know we didn’t give it, of course; but what date did you hit upon?”
“We didn’t postpone it at all,” said “Nopper.” “How could we? We didn’t know whether—I mean it wouldn’t have been quite right to do that sort of thing.”
“I understand. Well, what has become of the orchestra, and the flowers, and all that?”
“The orchestra is gallivanting around the country, quarreling with itself and everybody else, and driving poor Gardner to the insane asylum. The flowers have lost their bloom long ago.”
“Well, we’ll get together, Nopper, and try to have the ball at mid-Lent. I think I’ll be well by that time.”
Peggy looked appealingly at Harrison for guidance, but to him silence seemed the better part of valor, and he went off wondering if the illness had completely carried away Monty’s reason.
IN THE SUNNY SOUTH
It was the cottage of a New York millionaire which had fallen to Brewster. The owner had, for the time, preferred Italy to St. Augustine, and left his estate, which was well located and lavishly equipped, in the hands of his friends. Brewster’s lease covered three months, at a fabulous rate per month. With Joe Bragdon installed as manager-in-chief, his establishment was transferred bodily from New York, and the rooms were soon as comfortable as their grandeur would permit. Brewster was not allowed to take advantage of his horses and the new automobile which preceded him from New York, but to his guests they offered unlimited opportunities. “Nopper” Harrison had remained in the north to renew arrangements for the now hated ball and to look after the advance details of the yacht cruise. Dr. Lotless and his sister, with “Subway” Smith and the Grays, made up Brewster’s party. Lotless dampened