During Which Chapter Mr. Carr Sings
and One of His Daughters Takes her Postgraduate
Mr. Yates came presently, ushered
by Ferdinand, and looking extremely worried.
Mr. Carr received him in his private office with ominous
“Mr. Yates,” he said,
forcing a distorted smile, “I have rather abruptly
decided to show you exactly how one of the Destyn-Carr
instruments is supposed to work. Would you kindly
stand here close by this table?”
Mr. Yates, astounded, obeyed.
“Now,” said Mr. Carr,
with a deeply creased smile, “here is the famous
Destyn-Carr apparatus. That’s quite right take
a snapshot at it without my permission ”
“I I thought ”
“Quite right, my boy; I intend
you shall know all about it. You see it resembles
the works of a watch.... Now, when I touch this
spring the receiver opens and gathers in certain psychic
waves which emanate from the subconscious personality
of well, let us say you, for example!...
And now I touch this button. You see that slender
hairspring of Rosium uncurl and rise, trembling and
waving about like a tentacle?”
Young Yates, notebook in hand, recovered
himself sufficiently to nod. Mr. Carr leered
“That tentacle,” he explained,
“is now seeking some invisible, wireless, psychic
current along which it is to transmit the accumulated
psychic waves. As soon as the wireless current
finds the subconscious personality of the woman you
are destined to love and marry some day ”
“I?” exclaimed young Yates, horrified.
“Yes, you. Why not? Do you mind my
trying it on you?”
“But I am already in love,”
protested the young man, turning, as usual, a ready
red. “I don’t care to have you try
it on me. Suppose that machine should connect
me with some other girl ”
“It has!” cried Carr with
a hideous laugh as a point of bluish-white fire tipped
the tentacle for an instant. “You’re
tied fast to something feminine! Probably a flossy
typewriter or a burlesque actress somebody
you’re fitted for, anyway!” He clapped
on his monocle, and glared gleefully at the stupefied
“That will teach you to enter
my premises and hold my daughter’s hand when
she is drawing innocent pictures of Cooper’s
Bluff!” he shouted. “That will teach
you to write poems to my eighteen-year-old daughter,
Drusilla; that will teach you to tell her you are in
love with her you young pup!”
“I am in love with her!”
said Yates, undaunted; but he was very white when
he said it. “I do love her; and if you had
behaved halfway decently I’d have told you so
two weeks ago!”
Mr. Carr turned a delicate purple,
then, recovering, laughed horribly.
“Whether or not you were once
in love with my daughter is of no consequence now.
That machine has nullified your nonsense! That
instrument has found you your proper affinity doubtless
below stairs ”
“I am still in love with
Drusilla,” repeated Yates, firmly.
“I tell you, you’re not!”
retorted Carr. “Didn’t I turn that
machine on you? It has never missed yet!
The Green Mouse has got you in the Mouseleum!”
“You are mistaken,” insisted
Yates, still more firmly. “I was in love
with your daughter Drusilla before you started the
machine; and I love her yet! Now! At the
present time! This very instant I am loving her!”
“You can’t!” shouted Carr.
“Yes, I can. And I do!”
“No, you don’t! I
tell you it’s a scientific and psychical impossibility
for you to continue to love her! Your subconscious
personality is now in eternal and irrevocable accord
and communication with the subconscious personality
of some chit of a girl who is destined to love and
marry you! And she’s probably a ballet-girl,
“I shall marry Drusilla!”
retorted the young man, very pale; “because I
am quite confident that she loves me, though very probably
she doesn’t know it yet.”
“You talk foolishness!”
hissed Carr. “This machine has settled the
whole matter! Didn’t you see that spark?”
“I saw a spark yes!”
“And do you mean to tell me you are not beginning
to feel queer?”
“Not in the slightest.”
“Look me squarely in the eye,
young man, and tell me whether you do not have a sensation
as though your heart were cutting capers?”
“Not in the least,” said
Yates, calmly. “If that machine worked at
all it wouldn’t surprise me if you yourself
had become entangled in it caught in your
“W-what!” exclaimed Carr, faintly.
“It wouldn’t astonish
me in the slightest,” repeated Yates, delighted
to discover the dawning alarm in the older man’s
features. “You opened the receiver; you
have psychic waves as well as I. I was in love
at the time; you were not. What was there
to prevent your waves from being hitched to a wireless
current and, finally, signaling the subconscious personality
of of some pretty actress, for example?”
Mr. Carr sank nervously onto a chair;
his eyes, already wild, became wilder as he began
to realize the risk he had unthinkingly taken.
“Perhaps you feel a little queer.
You look it,” suggested the young man, in a
voice made anxious by an ever-ready sympathy.
“Can I do anything? I am really very sorry
to have spoken so.”
A damp chill gathered on the brow
of Bushwyck Carr. He did feel a trifle
queer. A curious lightness a perfectly
inexplicable buoyancy seemed to possess him.
He was beginning to feel strangely youthful; the sound
of his own heart suddenly became apparent. To
his alarm it was beating playfully, skittishly.
No it was not even beating; it was skipping.
“Y-Yates,” he stammered,
“you don’t think that I could p-possibly
have become inadvertently mixed up with that horrible
machine do you?”
Now Yates was a generous youth; resentment
at the treatment meted out to him by this florid,
bad-tempered and pompous gentleman changed to instinctive
sympathy when he suddenly realized the plight his future
father-in-law might now be in.
“Yates,” repeated Mr.
Carr in an agitated voice, “tell me honestly:
do you think there is anything unusual the
matter with me? I I seem to f-feel
unusually young. Do I look it?
Have I changed? W-watch me while I walk across
Mr. Carr arose with a frightened glance
at Yates, put on his hat, and fairly pranced across
the room. “Great Heavens!” he faltered;
“my hat’s on one side and my walk is distinctly
jaunty! Do you notice it, Yates?”
“I’m afraid I do, Mr. Carr.”
“This this is infamous!”
gasped Mr. Carr. “This is is
outrageous! I’m forty-five! I’m
a widower! I detest a jaunty widower! I don’t
want to be one; I don’t want to ”
Yates gazed at him with deep concern.
“Can’t you help lifting
your legs that way when you walk as though
a band were playing? Wait, I’ll straighten
your hat. Now try it again.”
Mr. Carr pranced back across the room.
“I know I’m doing
it again,” he groaned, “but I can’t
help it! I I feel so gay dammit! so
frivolous it’s it’s
that infernal machine. W-what am I to do, Yates,”
he added piteously, “when the world looks so
good to me?”
“Think of your family!”
urged Yates. “Think of of Drusilla.”
“Do you know,” observed
Carr, twirling his eyeglass and twisting his mustache,
“that I’m beginning not to care what my
family think!... Isn’t it amazing, Yates?
I I seem to be somebody else, several years
younger. Somewhere,” he added, with a flourish
of his monocle “somewhere on earth
there is a little birdie waiting for me.”
“Don’t talk that way!” exclaimed
“Yes, I will, young man.
I repeat, with optimism and emphasis, that somewhere
there is a birdie ”
“Yes, merry old Top!”
“May I use your telephone?”
“I don’t care what you
do!” said Carr, gayly. “Use my telephone
if you like; pull it out by the roots and throw it
over Cooper’s Bluff, for all I care! But” and
a sudden glimmer of reason seemed to come over him “if
you have one grain of human decency left in you, you
won’t drag me and my terrible plight into that
scurrilous New York paper of yours.”
“No,” said Yates, “I
won’t. And that ends my career on Park Row.
I’m going to telephone my resignation.”
Mr. Carr gazed calmly around and twisted
his mustache with a satisfied and retrospective smile.
“That’s very decent of
you, Yates; you must pardon me; I was naturally half
scared to death at first; but I realize you are acting
very handsomely in this horrible dilemma ”
Yates. “I must stand by the family into
which I am, as you know, destined to marry.”
“To be sure,” nodded Carr,
absently; “it really looks that way, doesn’t
it! And, Yates, you have no idea how I hated you
an hour ago.”
“Yes, I have,” said Yates.
“No, you really have not, if
you will permit me to contradict you, merry old Top.
I but never mind now. You have behaved
in an unusually considerate manner. Who the devil
are you, anyway?”
Yates informed him modestly.
“Well, why didn’t you
say so, instead of letting me bully you! I’ve
known your father for twenty years. Why didn’t
you tell me you wanted to marry Drusilla, instead
of coming and blushing all over the premises?
I’d have told you she was too young; and she
is! I’d have told you to wait; and you’d
have waited. You’d have been civil enough
to wait when I explained to you that I’ve already
lost, by marriage, two daughters through that accursed
machine. You wouldn’t entirely denude me
of daughters, would you?”
“I only want one,” said John Yates, simply.
“Well, all right; I’m
a decent father-in-law when I’ve got to be.
I’m really a good sport. You may ask all
my sons-in-law; they’ll admit it.”
He scrutinized the young man and found him decidedly
agreeable to look at, and at the same time a vague
realization of his own predicament returned for a
“Yates,” he said unsteadily,
“all I ask of you is to keep this terrible n-news
from my innocent d-daughters until I can f-find out
what sort of a person is f-fated to lead me to the
Yates took the offered hand with genuine emotion.
“Surely,” he said, “your
unknown intended must be some charming leader in the
social activities of the great metropolis.”
“Who knows! She may be
m-my own l-laundress for all I know. She may be
anything, Yates! She she might even
Mr. Carr nodded, shuddered, dashed
the unmanly moisture from his eyeglass.
“I think I’d better go
to town and tell my son-in-law, William Destyn, exactly
what has happened to me,” he said. “And
I think I’ll go through the kitchen garden and
take my power boat so that those devilish reporters
can’t follow me. Ferdinand!” to the
man at the door, “ring up the garage and order
the blue motor, and tell those newspaper men I’m
going to town. That, I think, will glue them to
the lawn for a while.”
sir?” ventured Yates; but Mr. Carr was already
gone, speeding noiselessly out the back way, through
the kitchen garden, and across the great tree-shaded
lawn which led down to the boat landing.
Across the distant hedge, from the
beautiful grounds of his next-door neighbor, floated
sounds of mirth and music. Gay flags fluttered
among the trees. The Magnelius Grandcourts were
evidently preparing for the brilliant charity bazaar
to be held there that afternoon and evening.
“To think,” muttered Carr,
“that only an hour ago I was agreeably and comfortably
prepared to pass the entire afternoon there with my
daughters, amid innocent revelry. And now I’m
in flight pursued by furies of my own invoking threatened
with love in its most hideous form matrimony!
Any woman I now look upon may be my intended bride
for all I know,” he continued, turning into
the semiprivate driveway, bordered heavily by lilacs;
“and the curious thing about it is that I really
don’t care; in fact, the excitement is mildly
He halted; in the driveway, blocking
it, stood a red motor car a little runabout
affair; and at the steering-wheel sat a woman a
lady’s maid by her cap and narrow apron, and
an exceedingly pretty one, at that.
When she saw Mr. Carr she looked up,
showing an edge of white teeth in the most unembarrassed
of smiles. She certainly was an unusually agreeable-looking
“Has something gone wrong with
your motor?” inquired Mr. Carr, pleasantly.
“I am afraid so.”
She didn’t say “sir”; probably because
she was too pretty to bother about such incidentals.
And she looked at Carr and smiled, as though he were
“Let me see,” began Mr.
Carr, laying his hand on the steering-wheel; “perhaps
I can make it go.”
“It won’t go,” she
said, a trifle despondently and shaking her charming
head. “I’ve been here nearly half
an hour waiting for it to do something; but it won’t.”
Mr. Carr peered wisely into the acétylènes,
looked carefully under the hood, examined the upholstery.
He didn’t know anything about motors.
“I’m afraid,” he
said sadly, “that there’s something wrong
with the magne-e-to!”
“Do you think it is as bad as that?”
“I fear so,” he said gravely.
“If I were you I’d get out and
keep well away from that machine.”
“Why?” she asked nervously,
stepping to the grass beside him.
“It might blow up.”
They backed away rather hastily, side
by side. After a while they backed farther away,
hand in hand.
“I I hate to leave
it there all alone,” said the maid, when they
had backed completely out of sight of the car.
“If there was only some safe place where I could
watch and see if it is going to explode.”
They ventured back a little way and peeped at the
“You could take a rowboat and watch it from
the water,” said Mr. Carr.
“But I don’t know how to row.”
Mr. Carr looked at her. Certainly
she was the most prepossessing specimen of wholesome,
rose-cheeked and ivory-skinned womanhood that he had
ever beheld; a trifle nearer thirty-five than twenty-five,
he thought, but so sweet and fresh and with such charming
eyes and manners.
“I have,” said Mr. Carr,
“several hours at my disposal before I go to
town on important business. If you like I will
row you out in one of my boats, and then, from a safe
distance, we can sit and watch your motor blow up.
“It is most kind of you ”
“Not at all. It would be most kind of you.”
She looked sideways at the motor,
sideways at the water, sideways at Mr. Carr.
It was a very lovely morning in early June.
As Mr. Carr handed her into the rowboat
with ceremony she swept him a courtesy. Her apron
and manners were charmingly incongruous.
When she was gracefully seated in
the stern Mr. Carr turned for a moment, stared all
Oyster Bay calmly in the face through his monocle,
then, untying the painter, fairly skipped into the
boat with a step distinctly frolicsome.
“It’s curious how I feel
about this,” he observed, digging both oars into
“How do you feel, Mr. Carr?”
“Like a bird,” he said softly.
And the boat moved off gently through the sparkling
waters of Oyster Bay.
At that same moment, also, the sparkling
waters of Oyster Bay were gently caressing the classic
contours of Cooper’s Bluff, and upon that monumental
headland, seated under sketching umbrellas, Flavilla
and Drusilla worked, in a puddle of water colors;
and John Chillingham Yates, in becoming white flannels
and lilac tie and hosiery, lay on the sod and looked
Silence, delicately accented by the
faint harmony of mosquitoes, brooded over Cooper’s
“There’s no use,”
said Drusilla at last; “one can draw a landscape
from every point of view except looking down
hill. Mr. Yates, how on earth am I to sit here
and make a drawing looking down hill?”
“Perhaps,” he said, “I
had better hold your pencil again. Shall I?”
“Do you think that would help?”
“I think it helps somehow.”
Her pretty, narrow hand held the pencil;
his sun-browned hand closed over it. She looked
at the pad on her knees.
After a while she said: “I
think, perhaps, we had better draw. Don’t
They made a few hen-tracks. Noticing
his shoulder was just touching hers, and feeling a
trifle weary on her camp-stool, she leaned back a little.
“It is very pleasant to have
you here,” she said dreamily.
“It is very heavenly to be here,” he said.
“How generous you are to give
us so much of your time!” murmured Drusilla.
“I think so, too,” said
Flavilla, washing a badger brush. “And I
am becoming almost as fond of you as Drusilla is.”
“Don’t you like him as well as I do?”
Flavilla turned on her camp-stool and inspected them
“Not quite as well,” she
said frankly. “You know, Drusilla, you are
very nearly in love with him.” And she
resumed her sketching.
Drusilla gazed at the purple horizon
unembarrassed. “Am I?” she said absently.
“Are you?” he repeated, close to her shoulder.
She turned and looked into his sun-tanned face curiously.
“What is it to love?
Is it” she looked at him undisturbed “is
it to be quite happy and lazy with a man like you?”
He was silent.
“I thought,” she continued,
“that there would be some hesitation, some shyness
about it some embarrassment. But there,
has been none between you and me.”
He said nothing.
She went on absently:
“You said, the other day, very
simply, that you cared a great deal for me; and I
was not very much surprised. And I said that I
cared very much for you.... And, by the way,
I meant to ask you yesterday; are we engaged?”
“Are we?” he asked.
“Yes if you wish.... Is that
all there is to an engagement?”
“There’s a ring,”
observed Flavilla, dabbing on too much ultramarine
and using a sponge. “You’ve got to
get her one, Mr. Yates.”
Drusilla looked at the man beside her and smiled.
“How simple it is, after all!”
she said. “I have read in the books Pa-pah
permits us to read such odd things about love and lovers....
Are we lovers, Mr. Yates? But, of course, we
must be, I fancy.”
“Yes,” he said.
“Some time or other, when it
is convenient,” observed Flavilla, “you
ought to kiss each other occasionally.”
“That doesn’t come until I’m a bride,
does it?” asked Drusilla.
“I believe it’s a matter
of taste,” said Flavilla, rising and naively
stretching her long, pretty limbs.
She stood a moment on the edge of the bluff, looking
“How curious!” she said
after a moment. “There is Pa-pah on the
water rowing somebody’s maid about.”
“What!” exclaimed Yates, springing to
“How extraordinary,” said
Drusilla, following him to the edge of the bluff;
“and they’re singing, too, as they row!”
From far below, wafted across the
sparkling waters of Oyster Bay, Mr. Carr’s rich
and mellifluous voice was wafted shoreward:
“I der-reamt that I dwelt in ma-arble h-a-l-ls.”
The sunlight fell on the maid’s
coquettish cap and apron, and sparkled upon the buckle
of one dainty shoe. It also glittered across the
monocle of Mr. Carr.
“Pa-pah!” cried Flavilla.
Far away her parent waved a careless
greeting to his offspring, then resumed his oars and
“How extraordinary!” said
Flavilla. “Why do you suppose that Pa-pah
is rowing somebody’s maid around the bay, and
singing that way to her?”
“Perhaps it’s one of our
maids,” said Drusilla; “but that would
be rather odd, too, wouldn’t it, Mr. Yates?”
“A little,” he admitted.
And his heart sank.
Flavilla had started down the sandy face of the bluff.
“I’m going to see whose maid it is,”
she called back.
Drusilla seated herself in the sun-dried grass and
watched her sister.
Yates stood beside her in bitter dejection.
So this was the result!
His unfortunate future father-in-law was done for.
What a diabolical machine! What a terrible, swift,
relentless answer had been returned when, out of space,
this misguided gentleman had, by mistake, summoned
his own affinity! And what an affinity!
A saucy soubrette who might easily have just stepped
from the coulisse of a Parisian theater!
Yates looked at Drusilla. What
an awful blow was impending! She never could
have suspected it, but there, in that boat, sat her
future stepmother in cap and apron! his
own future stepmother-in-law!
And in the misery of that moment’s
realization John Chillingham Yates showed the material
of which he was constructed.
“Dear,” he said gently.
“Do you mean me?” asked Drusilla, looking
up in frank surprise.
And at the same time she saw on his
face a look which she had never before encountered
there. It was the shadow of trouble; and it drew
her to her feet instinctively.
“What is it, Jack?” she asked.
She had never before called him anything but Mr. Yates.
“What is it?” she repeated,
turning away beside him along the leafy path; and
with every word another year seemed, somehow, to be
added to her youth. “Has anything happened,
Jack? Are you unhappy or ill?”
He did not speak; she walked beside him, regarding
him with wistful eyes.
So there was more of love than happiness,
after all; she began to half understand it in a vague
way as she watched his somber face. There certainly
was more of love than a mere lazy happiness; there
was solicitude and warm concern, and desire to comfort,
“Jack,” she said tremulously.
He turned and took her unresisting
hands. A quick thrill shot through her.
Yes, there was more to love than she had expected.
“Are you unhappy?” she
asked. “Tell me. I can’t bear
to see you this way. I I never did before.”
“Will you love me; Drusilla?”
“Yes yes, I will, Jack.”
“I do dearly.”
The first blush that ever tinted her cheek spread and
“Will you marry me, Drusilla?”
“Yes.... You frighten me.”
She trembled, suddenly, in his arms.
Surely there were more things to love than she had
dreamed of in her philosophy. She looked up as
he bent nearer, understanding that she was to be kissed,
awaiting the event which suddenly loomed up freighted
with terrific significance.
There was a silence, a sob.
“Jack darling I I
love you so!”
Flavilla was sketching on her camp-stool when they
“I’m horridly hungry,”
she said. “It’s luncheon time, isn’t
it? And, by the way, it’s all right about
that maid. She was on her way to serve in the
tea pavilion at Mrs. Magnelius Grandcourt’s bazaar,
and her runabout broke down and nearly blew up.”
“What on earth are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about Mrs.
Magnelius Grandcourt’s younger sister from Philadelphia,
who looks perfectly sweet as a lady’s maid.
Tea,” she added, “is to be a dollar a
cup, and three if you take sugar. And,”
she continued, “if you and I are to sell flowers
there this afternoon we’d better go home and
dress.... What are you smiling at, Mr. Yates?”
Drusilla naturally supposed she could answer that
“Dearest little sister,”
she said shyly and tenderly, “we have something
very wonderful to tell you.”
“What is it?” asked Flavilla.
“We we are engaged,”
whispered Drusilla, radiant.
“Why, I knew that already!” said Flavilla.
“Did you?” sighed her
sister, turning to look at her tall, young lover.
“I didn’t.... Being in love is a much
more complicated matter than you and I imagined, Flavilla.
Is it not, Jack?”