Robert Tronge 26

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robert tronge
Robert Tronge

"Yes; most unjustly, most unjustly." His brows contracted, and then relaxed at a happy memory. "It's the long, low build of the car. It looks so powerful that the police won't give you a chance. It was nosing through the park--" "At about thirty miles an hour," said Farron. "Well, not a bit over thirty-five. A lovely morning, no one in sight, I may have let her out a little. All of a sudden one of these mounted fellows jumped out from the bushes along the bridle-path. They're a fine-looking lot, Vincent." Farron asked who the judge was, and, Mr. Lanley named him--named him slightly wrong, and Farron corrected him. "I'll get you off," he said. Adelaide looked up at her husband admiringly. This was the aspect of him that she loved best. It seemed to her like magic what Vincent could do. Her father, she thought, took it very calmly. What would have happened to him if she had not brought Farron into the family to rescue and protect? The visiting boy, she noticed, was properly impressed. She saw him give Farron quite a dog-like look as he took his departure. To Mathilde he only bowed. No arrangements had been made for a future meeting. Mathilde tried to convey to him in a prolonged look that if he would wait only five minutes all would be well, that her grandfather never paid long visits; but the door closed behind him. She became immediately overwhelmed by the fear, which had an element of desire in it, too, that her family would fall to discussing him, would question her as to how long she had known him, and why she liked him, and what they talked about, and whether she had been expecting a visit, sitting there in her best dress. Then slowly she took in the fact that they were going to talk about nothing but Mr. Lanley's arrest. She marveled at the obtuseness of older people--to have stood at the red-hot center of youth and love and not even to know it! She drew her shoulders together, feeling very lonely and strong. As they talked, she allowed her eyes to rest first on one speaker and then on the other, as if she were following each word of the discussion. As a matter of fact she was rehearsing with an inner voice the tone of Wayne's voice when he had said that he loved her. Then suddenly she decided that she would be much happier alone in her own room. She rose, patted her grandfather on the shoulder, and prepared to escape. He, not wishing to be interrupted at the moment, patted her hand in return. "Hello!" he exclaimed. "Hands are cold, my dear." She caught Farron's cool, black eyes, and surprised herself by answering: "Yes; but, then, they always are." This was quite untrue, but every one was perfectly satisfied with it. As she left the room Mr. Lanley was saying: "Yes, I don't want to go to Blackwell's Island. Lovely spot, of course. My grandfather used to tell me he remembered it when the Blackwell family still lived there. But I shouldn't care to wear stripes--except for the pleasure of telling Alberta about it. It would give her a year's occupation, her suffering over my disgrace, wouldn't it, Adelaide?" "She'd scold me," said Adelaide, looking beautifully martyred. Then turning to her husband, she asked. "Will it be very difficult, Vincent, getting papa off?" She wanted it to be difficult, she wanted him to give her material out of which she could form a picture of him as a savior; but he only shook his head and said: "That young man is in love with Mathilde." "O Vin! Those children?" Mr. Lanley pricked up his ears like a terrier. "In love?" he exclaimed. "And who is he? Not one of the East Sussex Waynes, I hope. Vulgar people. They always were; began life as auctioneers in my father's time. Is he one of those, Adelaide?" "I have no idea who he is, if any one," said Adelaide. "I never saw or heard of him before this afternoon." "And may I ask," said her father, "if you intend to let your daughter become engaged to a young man of whom you know nothing whatsoever?" Adelaide looked extremely languid, one of her methods of showing annoyance. "Really, Papa," she said, "the fact that he has come once to pay an afternoon visit to Mathilde does not, it seems to me, make an engagement inevitable. My child is not absolutely repellent, you know, and a good many young men come to the house." Then suddenly remembering that her oracle had already spoken on this subject, she asked more humbly, "What was it made you say he was in love, Vin?" "Just an impression," said Farron. Mr. Lanley had been thinking it over. "It was not the custom in my day," he began, and then remembering that this was one of his sister Alberta's favorite openings, he changed the form of his sentence. "I never allowed you to see stray young men--" His daughter interrupted him. "But I always saw them, Papa. I used to let them come early in the afternoon before you came in." In his heart Mr. Lanley doubted that this had been a regular custom, but he knew it would be unwise to argue the point; so he started fresh. "When a young man is attentive to a girl like Mathilde--" "But he isn't," said Adelaide. "At least not what I should have called attentive when I was a girl." "Your experience was not long, my dear. You were married at Mathilde's age." "You may be sure of one thing, Papa, that I don't desire an early marriage for my daughter." "Very likely," returned her father, getting up, and buttoning the last button of his coat; "but you may have noticed that we can't always get just what we most desire for our children."