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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (July 27, 1913)
CORNERING MR. COBB
IN THE MAZES O
Illustrations by R. Schabelitz
IIKE THE DKVOTKD HHOTHKIi and nf-
fectionnte old bachelor undo that I am, I
was naturally at hand to meet my sister
and niece on their return from St. Augus
tine. They had been away a long time
three or four mouths and 1 had missed
them as much as might an old dog who had
been left at home with the servants. They were all the
family 1 had, and when a man is past forty and is begin
ning to get a little bald and gray, such ties mean more
and more to him, and no acquaintance, however wide, can
exactly replace them.
That Kitty had been a widow for many years bad
helped, I suppose, to draw us closer together than is usu
ally the case with middle-aged brothers anil sisters, and if
1 had had a daughter 1 could scarcely have loved her more
than I did my only niece. When 1 saw Kitty and Viola
coming toward me ahead of the stream of passengers, both
so pretty in their deferent ways, and both so animated
and charming, 1 suddenly, realized how very lonely I had
been without them and what a joy it was to get them back.
In the confused kissing that followed, with an impatient
porter loaded down with grips, mutely urging us to expe
dition, 1 became conscious of a very tall, thin young man,
whose embarrassed smile and arrested manner seemed to
imply he belonged to our party.
''Mr. Cobb," said Kitty, introducing us.
"My uncle, Mr. Williams," added Viola, in what seemed
to me a kinder tone than her mother's.
1 shook hands with Mr. Cobb, who murmured politely
that he was delighted to meet me, though his eyes all the
while were on Viola's face and any transports my ac
quaintance may have occasioned him were somewhat con
cealed by the eager conversation he continued to carry on
with her. 1 caught vaguely that he would be at the Fourth
Avenue Hotel; that he would telephone at nine; that bo
would secure the opera seats as soon as he could get them;
then, raising his bat, he suddenly departed in a long
legged way after his own. porter, who was piling his
things into a cab. I was about to ask who he was when
Kit tv touched me sharplv with her elbow, and gave me a
warning look to avoid the subject of Mr. Cobb before Viola.
Later, in the taxi, when Viola happened to mention his name, I was stupid
enough to repeat my question, and get a second dig in the ribs that recalled
my happy infancy, in which the pokes of an elder little sister contributed so
largely to my upbringing:
"A delightful young man we met at the hotel in St. Augustine," said Viola,
who, fortunately, had not detected her mother's signal to me. "Oh, Cnde
Hartley, I am just crazy about Mr. Cobb, and so's Mumsey! Aren't you,
"Oh, yes!" exclaimed Mumsey doodums, with what I thought a certain eva
siveness, and an ensuing jump for a fresh topic that hurried us past Mr. Cobb
and left him abandoned and forgotten conversationally. After an absence
of four months this was not dillicult, especially as for these two it was a home
coining, with arrears of domestic history to be brought up to date including
the re-covering of the Sheraton sofa, Mary Ann's embroilment with the janitor,
the missing vacuum nozzle, the tire next door, and other items of palpitating
interest. Dinner was awaiting us in the cozy little dining-room of III apart
ment, and here there was more kissing and enthusiasm and general rapture at
being once more under their own roof-tree.
AETEHWARD, when Viola left us to run upstairs and see her chum, Isohel
Latimer, who had been telephoning down repeatedly, and whoso impatient
ringing and ringing I had found not a little irritating, I lit a cigar and drew
up a chair beside that dear sister of mine.
"It s mighty good to see you back, Kitty," 1 said.
"Dear old boy," she murmured, reaching out a plump hand and ylving mine
a squeeze. "It's been n long time, hasn't it?"
"Yes, indeed it has," I said, gazing at her affectionately.
"Hartley," she broke out suddenly. "I am dreadfully worried,"
"Worried?" I repeated, much concerned.
"It 's this Mr. Cobb," she explained, coloring faintly.
"The young man who was with you at the, station?"
"Who is he?"
Kitty sat up.
"That 's what I would give anything to know," she exclaimed. "lie's a man
of mystery an enigma."
"My experience with men of mystery," I observed, "is that they usually end
by letting you in for their club bills or something equally expensive or dis-
iiin w r n iwt r 1 1 in i ii i i 1,7 ,i aim:, w-' '.iirasii m
MiM miMiiiii mifi mi mm
1 know who you are," 1 thundered
"Get out of here, you cur, set out!"
agreeable. M aduce, as a bald-headed brother who has had considerable experi
ence in this wile of tears would be to put a large piece of distance between
yourself and this enigmatic Mr. Cobb."
"You don't understand," said Kitty helplessly. "Viola is awfully taken with
bjin, and it would not surprise me any moment to hear that they were engaged."
"Engaged! To a man who has no antecedents why, Kitty, what are you
"That 's why I am so worried. Hartley, it 's dreadful."
"Mill is she satislied to know nothing about him? a level-headed, clear
sighted girl like Viola to take up with a perfect stranger who mav be some
body's valet ."
"She's in love; they are all lunatics when they are in love; I was no better
myself at her age."
"Tell me all about it," I demanded. "Wight from the beginning, Kitty."
"Well, there he was at the hotel, with a big yellow motor of bis own, and
every appearance of being a most correct and eligible young man and when
Viola made his acquaintance at a dance and seemed to lake to him tremendously,
1 folded my bauds and thought: 'Mless you, my children.' Viola is twenty-live,
and of course it must happen sooner or later, must n't it.' After that they
played out together all the time. At first, quite innocently, I asked him a few
questions about himself, and only realized by degrees how cleverly he slipped out
of answering them. Then, when I pressed Viola about him, she flared up as
girls do and almost bit my head off. They are all tiger-cats if they think you
are trying to take away their young man."
"Mut surely she understood your natural feeling of responsibility?" 1 said.
"MHLS in love never understand anything," she replied with conviction.
-"They pay about as much attention to fathers and mothers as a runaway
horse does to a shrieking driver the more you yell tlm faster they run."
"If I had been yon I would have traced down the person who vouched for him
in the first place."
"That 's precisely what I did; a Mrs. Gilbert introduced him, and she referred
me back to her husband, who referred mo back to ono of tho hotel clerks! Then
I looked over the register and found ho enmo from Walton, Massachusetts."
"Well, that's all right. It will only take me two days to get a line on him; T
will ask our credit man to "
"Hut, listen, Hartley, listen."
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