On his way from Atlantic City to the mountains he happened upon the discarded magazine with the advertisement of the Restabit Inn in it. Just why he had torn out that “ad” and kept it he was himself, perhaps, not quite sure. The “rest” and “sea air” and “pleasant people” were exactly what the doctor had prescribed for him, but that was not the whole reason for the advertisement’s retention. An association of ideas was the real reason. Just before he found the magazine he had received Mrs. Hall’s postcard with its renewal of the invitation to visit the Hall cottage at Wellmouth. And the Restabit Inn was at East Wellmouth.
His determination to accept the Hall invitation and make the visit was as sudden as it was belated. The postcard came in August, but it was not until October that Galusha made up his mind. His decision was brought to a focus by the help of Mrs. Worth Buckley. Mrs. Buckley’s help had not been solicited, but was volunteered, and, as a matter of fact, its effect was the reverse of that which the lady intended. Nevertheless, had it not been for Mrs. Buckley it is doubtful if Galusha would have started for Wellmouth.
She came upon him first one brilliant afternoon when he was sitting upon a rock, resting his weary legs—they wearied so easily nowadays—and looking off at the mountain-side ablaze with autumn coloring. She was large and commanding, and she spoke with a manner, a very decided manner. She asked him if—he would pardon her for asking, wouldn’t he?—but had she, by any chance, the honor of addressing Doctor Bangs, the Egyptologist. Oh, really? How very wonderful! She was quite certain that it was he. She had heard him deliver a series of lectures—oh, the most wonderful things, they were, really—at the museum some years before. She had been introduced to him at that time, but he had forgotten her, of course. Quite natural that he should. “You meet so many people, Doctor Bangs—or should I say ’Professor’?”
He hoped she would say neither. He had an odd prejudice of his own against titles, and to be called “Mister” Bangs was the short road to his favor. He tried to tell this woman so, but it was of no use. In a little while he found it quite as useless to attempt telling her anything. The simplest way, apparently, was silently and patiently to endure while she talked—and talked—and talked.
Memories of her monologues, if they could have been taken in shorthand from Galusha’s mind, would have been merely a succession of “I” and “I” and “I” and “Oh, do you really think so, Doctor Bangs?” and “Oh, Professor!” and “wonderful” and “amazing” and “quite thrilling” and much more of the same.
She followed him when he went to walk; that is, apparently she did, for he was continually encountering her. She came and sat next him on the hotel veranda. She bowed and smiled to him when she swept into the dining room at meal times. Worst of all, she told others, many others, who he was, and he was aware of being stared at, a knowledge which made him acutely self-conscious and correspondingly miserable. There was a Mr. Worth Buckley trotting in her wake, but he was mild and inoffensive. His wife, however—Galusha exclaimed, “Oh, dear me!” inwardly or aloud whenever he thought of her.