“Ah—sit down, sit down, please,” he begged. “I—ah—please do.”
Again Martha interrupted. “Here, let me take that coat, Mr. Bangs,” she said, and took it forthwith. Galusha, coming to himself still more, remembered the conventionalities.
“Oh, Miss Phipps,” he cried, “may I introduce my—ah—cousin, Mr. Cabot. Mr. Cabot, this is the lady who has taken charge of me, so to speak.”
Both Martha and Cabot burst out laughing.
“That sounds as if I had arrested him, doesn’t it?” observed the former. “But it is all right, Mr. Cabot; I’ve only taken him to board.”
“I understand. Well, unless he has changed a lot since I used to know him, he needs some one to take charge of him. And it agrees with him, too. Why, Loosh, I thought you were an invalid; you look like a football player. Oh, pardon me, Miss Phipps, but don’t trouble to take that coat away. I can stay only a little while. My chauffeur is waiting outside and I must get on to the hotel or I’ll be late for dinner.”
Martha, who was on her way to the hall and the coat rack, turned. “Hotel?” she repeated. “What hotel, Mr. Cabot?”
“Why, the Something-or-other House over in the next town. The Robbins House, is it? Something like that.”
“Robbins House? There isn’t any. Oh, do you mean Roger’s Hotel at the Centre?”
“Why, yes, that is it. I was told there was a hotel here, but they forgot to tell me it was open only in the summer. What sort of place is this Roger’s Hotel?”
Martha looked at him and then at Galusha.
“Altogether too bad for any relation of Mr. Bangs’s to go to,” she declared. “At least, to eat supper. You and Mr. Bangs will excuse me, won’t you? I’ll be right back.”
She hung the fur coat upon the rack and hastened back through the dining room and out into the kitchen. Cabot took a chair and turned toward Galusha.
“She is a capable woman,” he observed, with a jerk of his head toward the kitchen door. “She has certainly taken good care of you. You look better than when I saw you last and that was— Good Lord, how long ago was it?”
Galusha replied that it was a good many years ago and then switched the subject to that which was causing painful agitation in his bosom at the moment, namely, the reason for his cousin’s appearance in East Wellmouth.
Cousin Gussie laughed. “I came to see you, Loosh,” he declared. “Family ties, and all that. I thought I would run down and get you to picnic on the beach with me. How is the bathing just now?”
The chill October wind rattled the sash and furnished answer sufficient. Galusha smiled a sad sort of acknowledgment of the joke. He did not feel like smiling. The sensation of sitting on a powder barrel had returned to him, except that now there was no head to the barrel and the air was full of sparks.
“I—I did not expect you,” he faltered, for the sake of saying something. Cabot laughed again.