When the overland train coasted into Red Bluff and slid to a grinding halt, Bryce Cardigan saw that the Highest Living Authority had descended from the train also. He had elected to designate her thus in the absence of any information anent her Christian and family names, and for the further reason that quite obviously she was a very superior person. He had a vague suspicion that she was the kind of girl in whose presence a man always feels that he must appear on parade—one of those alert, highly intelligent young women so extremely apt to reduce an ordinarily intelligent young man to a state of gibbering idiocy or stupid immobility.
Bryce had travelled in the same car with the Highest Living Authority from Chicago and had made up his mind by observation that with a little encouragement she could be induced to mount a soap-box and make a speech about Women’s Rights; that when her native State should be granted equal suffrage she would run for office or manage somebody’s political campaign; that she could drive an automobile and had probably been arrested for speeding; that she could go around any golf links in the country in ninety and had read Maeterlinck and enjoyed it.
Bryce could see that she was the little daughter of some large rich man. The sparsity of jewellery and the rich simplicity of her attire proved that, and moreover she was accompanied by a French maid to whom she spoke French in a manner which testified that before acquiring the French maid she had been in the custody of a French nurse. She possessed poise. For the rest, she had wonderful jet-black hair, violet eyes, and milk-white skin, a correct nose but a somewhat generous mouth, Bryce guessed she was twenty or twenty-one years old and that she had a temper susceptible of being aroused. On the whole, she was rather wonderful but not dazzling—at least, not to Bryce Cardigan. He told himself she merely interested him as a type— whatever he meant by that.