“Isn’t this young Cardigan a truly remarkable young man, Shirley?” he declared. “Why, I have never heard of anything like his astounding action. If he had sent you over an armful of American Beauty roses from his father’s old-fashioned garden, I could understand it, but an infernal blackberry pie! Good heavens!”
“I told you he was different,” she replied. To the Colonel’s amazement she did not appear at all amused.
Colonel Pennington poked a fork through the delicate brown crust. “I wonder if it is really as good as he says it is, Shirley.”
“Of course. If it wasn’t, he wouldn’t have sent it.”
“How do you know?”
“By intuition,” she replied. And she cut into the pie and helped the Colonel to a quadrant of it.
“That was a genuine hayseed faux-pas,” announced the Colonel a few moments later as Shirley was pouring coffee from a samovar-shaped percolator in the library. “The idea of anybody who has enjoyed the advantages that fellow has, sending a hot blackberry pie to a girl he has just met!”
“Yes, the idea!” she echoed. “I find it rather charming.”
“You mean amusing.”
“I said ‘charming.’ Bryce Cardigan is a man with the heart and soul of a boy, and I think it was mighty sweet of him to share his pie with me. If he had sent roses, I should have suspected him of trying to ‘rush’ me, but the fact that he sent a blackberry pie proves that he’s just a natural, simple, sane, original citizen—just the kind of person a girl can have for a dear friend without incurring the risk of having to marry him.”
“I repeat that this is most extraordinary.”
“Only because it is an unusual thing for a young man to do, although, after all, why shouldn’t he send me a blackberry pie if he thought a blackberry pie would please me more than an armful of roses? Besides, he may send the roses to-morrow.”
“Most extraordinary!” the Colonel reiterated.
“What should one expect from such an extraordinary creature? He’s an extraordinary fine-looking young man, with an extraordinary scowl and an extraordinary crinkly smile that is friendly and generous and free from masculine guile. Why, I think he’s just the kind of man who would send a girl a blackberry pie.”
The Colonel noticed a calm little smile fringing her generous mouth. He wished he could tell, by intuition, what she was thinking about— and what effect a hot wild-blackberry pie was ultimately to have upon the value of his minority holding in the Laguna Grande Lumber Company.
Not until dinner was finished and father and son had repaired to the library for their coffee and cigars did Bryce Cardigan advert to the subject of his father’s business affairs.
“Well, John Cardigan,” he declared comfortably, “to-day is Friday. I’ll spend Saturday and Sunday in sinful sloth and the renewal of old acquaintance, and on Monday I’ll sit in at your desk and give you a long-deferred vacation. How about that programme, pard?”