“Pooh!” said Thatcher Brewster.
Thatcher Brewster’s “Pooh!” is generally recognized in the realm of high finance as carrying weight. It is not derisive or contemptuous; it is dismissive. The subject of it simply ceases to exist. In the present instance, it was so mild as scarcely to stir the smoke from his after-dinner cigar, yet it had all the intent, if not the effect, of finality. The reason why it hadn’t the effect was that it was directed at Thatcher Brewster’s daughter.
“Perhaps not quite so much ‘Pooh!’ as you think,” was that damsel’s reception of the pregnant monosyllable.
“A bug-hunter from nowhere! Don’t I know that type?” said the magnate, who confounded all scientists with inventors, the capital-seeking inventor being the bane and torment of his life.
“He knew about the Dutch blockade.”
“Or pretended he did. I’m afraid my Pollipet has let herself romanticize a little.”
“Romanticize!” The girl laughed. “If you could see him, dad! Romance and my poor little beetle man don’t live in the same world.”
Out of the realm of memory, where the echoes come and go by no known law, sounded his voice in her ear: “’That which thy servant is, that he is for you.’” Dim doubt forthwith began to cloud the bright certainty of Miss Brewster’s verdict.
“If he’s gone to all the trouble that I told you of, it must be that he has some good reason for wanting to get us safely out,” she argued to her father.
“Perhaps he feels that his peace of mind would be more assured if you were in some other country,” he teased. “No, my dear, I’m not leaving a full-manned yacht in a foreign harbor and smuggling myself out of a friendly country on the say-so of an unknown adviser, whose chief ability seems to lie in the hundred-yard dash.”
“I think that’s unfair and ungrateful. If a man with a sword—”
“When I begin a row, I stay with it,” said Mr. Brewster grimly. “Quitters and I don’t pull well together.”
“Then I’m to tell him ’No’?”
“Not so positively at all. I shall say, ‘No, thank you,’ in my very nicest way, and say that you’re very grateful and appreciative and not at all the growly old bear of a dad that you pretend to be when one doesn’t know and love you. And perhaps I’ll invite him to dine here and go away on the yacht with us—”
“And graciously accept a couple of hundred thousand dollars bonus, and come into the company as first vice-president,” chuckled her father. “And then he’ll wake up and find he’s been sitting on a cactus. See here,” he added, with a sharpening of tone, “do you suppose he could get a cablegram for transmission to Washington over to the mainland for us by this mysterious route of his?”
“You’re really sure you want to go, Pollipet? This is your cruise, you know.”