“No, I won’t ask you to tell, of course,” Eunice agreed, “but when you give an exhibition, if it’s near New York, let me know, won’t you?”
“Yes, ma’am, I sure will. And now I’ll move on.”
“Oh, no, you must wait for a cup of tea; we’ll have it brought at once.”
Eunice left the room for a moment. Aunt Abby in dudgeon, refused to talk to the disappointing visitor. But the three men quickly engaged him in conversation and Hanlon told some anecdotes of his past experiences that kept them interested.
Ferdinand brought in the tea things, and Eunice, with her graceful hospitality, saw to it that her guest was in no way embarrassed or bothered by unaccustomed service.
“I’ve had a right good time,” he said in his boyish way, as he rose to go. “Thank you, ma’am, for the tea and things. I liked it all.”
His comprehensive glance that swept the room and its occupants was a sincere compliment and after he had gone there was only kindly comment on his personality.
Except from Aunt Abby.
“He’s an ignorant boor,” she announced.
“Now, now,” objected Eunice, “you only say that because he upset your favorite delusions. He punctured your bubbles and pulled down your air-castles. Give it up, Aunt Abby, there’s nothing in your’ Voice of Isis’ racket!”
“Permit me to be the judge of my own five senses, Eunice, if you please.”
“That’s just it, Miss Ames,” spoke up Hendricks. “Is your psychic information, or whatever it is, discernible to your five senses, or any of them?”
“Of course, or how could I realize the presence of the psychic forces?”
“I don’t know just what those things are, but I supposed they were available only to a sort of sixth sense—or seventh! Why, I have five senses, but I don’t lay claim to any more than that.”
“You’re a trifler, and I decline to discuss the subject seriously with you. You’ve always been a trifler, Alvord—remember, I’ve known you from boyhood, and though you’ve a brilliant brain, you have not utilized it to the best advantage.”
“Sorry, ma’am,” and the handsome face put on a mock penitence, “but I’m too far advanced in years to pull up now.”
“Nonsense! you’re barely thirty! That’s a young man.”
“Not nowadays. They say, after thirty, a man begins to fall to pieces, mentally.”
“Oh, Al, what nonsense!” cried Eunice. “Why, thirty isn’t even far enough along to be called the prime of life!”
“Oh, yes, it is, Eunice, in this day and generation. Nobody thinks a man can do any great creative work after thirty. Inventing, you know, or art or literature—honestly, that’s the attitude now. Isn’t it, Mason?”
Elliott looked serious. “It is an opinion recently expressed by some big man,” he admitted. “But I don’t subscribe to it. Why, I’d be sorry to think I’m a down-and-outer! And I’m in the class with you and Embury.”