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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (July 27, 1913)
"There isn't any Walton in Massachusetts!"
"Arc you sure Kitty .'"
"Sun of i-oiiie I it in surf! I looked it up in
two different atlases. There arc fifteen Waltons, but
none of them in Massachusetts, anil it was written
quite plain M-u-s-s."
"My Ueorgo," exclaimed, "it (loos look black,
docs n't it !"
"It could n't bo worso, Hartley it simply
"It was foolish of you not to liavo had it out
with Viola not to have nipped it in tho bud tho
moment you suspected this fellow."
JITTV is a soft, round, helpless littlo person,
1 and she looked softer, rounder and more help
less than ever as I reproached her.
"I I tried to," she quavered.
"Vet you allowed this man to come up with you on
"I 1 could n't help that," she whimpered, with
suffusing eyes. "I could n't slop him buying a tichet,
"You ought to have asserted yourself. Any woman
any mother - with the slightest sense ami knowl
edge of the world, would have asserted herself."
"I I tried to," she wailed.
"Kveu a chicken will light for its young," I went
on angrily. "Kven a worm will light for its worm
lets; yet you meekly tolerated this scamp, this valet
may-he, this possible bigamist and scoundrel, and
could n't think of doing anything more than wring
ing your hands."
"I I was afraid of Viola," she gasped out
through her sobs. "She acts as though she were
engaged to him and does n't allow me to open my
mouth. It 's nil very well to talk about c-e-eliickcns,
but what could I do?"
1 thought for a while in silence, pulling hard at
"He is at the Fourth Avenue Hotel," I said at
last. "J '11 drop in on Mr. Cobb tomorrow and then
wo '11 sec what he has to sav to the man of the
Kitty looked up gratefully.
"Ob, what a comfort you are, Hartley," she ex
claimed. "I was trying to nerve myself all the time
1 taw Viol coming toward me ahead of the stream of paiteniert
to scud for you. but 1 just could n't. Yes, that 's
the best thing for jou to see him, and take that
attitude--tho man of the family and all that. 1
can't help thinking he is some dreadful kind of
"I'll know for sure tomorrow," 1 said. "I'll
know tomorrow if I have to stand him on his head."
1 judged it wiser not to telephone beforehand.
Forewarning such an ambiguous young man might
result in his keeping out of my way. 1 got to tho
hotel a little after midday, and made up my mind
to remain there until 1 had cornered Mr. Cobb. On
going to the desk to inquire for the number of his
room the clerk stopped me smilingly before I was
"Oh, if it s Mr. Cobb you want," he said, "he is
right over there in that chair."
Sure enough there was my man, with his long legs
stretched out, and a neglected morning paper in his
lap. Kveu in his careless attitude he looked a very
presentable young fellow, and I noticed the excellent
cut of his dollies, as well as his pleasant, uncon
cerned expression. 1 had a sudden misgiving that
I might be making a fool of myself, and rapidly
edited (he remarks with which I bad intended open
ing the engagement. Hut before going over to him,
I asked to have a glance at the register, and sud
denly bristled with renewed suspicion as I read tho
entry: Montgomery J. Cobb, Wall on, Muss. I had
already confirmed tho fact that there was no Walton,
"1 bog your pardon," I began, as suavely as I
was able, "I am Mr. Ilartloy Williams Mrs.
TrutlelPs brother whom perhaps you will recall
meeting last night."
MH. COMH sprang up and shook hands with the
most unruilled assurance. Indeed, assurance
was evidently this young man's long suit. It was
only in his eyes those blue, rather protuberant
eyes that 1 could detect the least hint of dis
composure. "1 am a business man," 1 said, "and you will ex
cuse mo if i conic to the point without any preambles
or beating about the bush?"
Ho nodded amiably.
"Circumstances demand that I
should know something about
you," 1 continued. "A frank un
derstanding between us would
"Help what?" ho inquired.
The subdued impertinence of
the remark nettled me, but
1 managed to restrain my
"You havo been paying
cry pronounced attention
to my niece," I said. "As
her uncle and guardian,
and as much as I dislike this
unpleasant task it is my
(1 u t y to 1 o a r n
"Miss Trndell is
n most charming
young lady," ho
observed, " a n d
while it is truo I
a d in i r e her 1
scarcely think you
n r o .instilled in
calling my utten
tionspronouiicod." "J have it from
hor mother," 1
"Mrs. Tnnlell is
a most charming
lady," he went on
with tho same ex
noss. "1 would not
for anything in
the world cast tho
on Mrs. Tru.loll,
whom I admiro
and respect ; but
in holding mo up
in this fashion
"W.body is hold
ing you up," I
interrupted warmly. "1 simply mean that a con
tinued acquaintance is impossible unless you inform
us who you are and where you come from. If you
are a gentleman you can have no possible reason
for withholding such information, which you ought
not to put us in the position of insisting' upon."
"The word insist is a very disagreeable one," he
said, as iinportiubably as ever, shaking the ash from
"So is the word adventurer." I retorted, now quite
angry. "A man whoso only address is a non-existent
town in Massachusetts has only himself to thank if
he inspires a certain suspicion."
"I am forced to agree with you," he remarked,
with an air of sharing my point of view, and looking
long and earnestly at his brilliantly polished shoos.
"I am forced to agree with you; I admit it frankly."
"And is this bow the matter is going to rest" I
demanded, after a considerable pause.
"It can rest any way it pleases," be replied,
awakening from a sort of brown study. "My private
a f Tairs are my own business, and if you can not
bring yourself to take mo on trust am afraid our
brief acquaintance will have to end."
"All our acquaintance will havo to cud," 1 said,
with a marked stress on the first word. "Even my
niece, I think, will appreciate the need of that."
T TI10l'(!HT his smile wavered for a moment as bis
shoos again engrossed his entire attention; lie was
plainly loss easy than he would have me believe.
"It 's too bad," he remarked finally in an aggrieved
voice. "If I could explain I would only the truth
is I can't."
"Then you will kindly keep away from my family
until you can," 1 said. "A man "can do without a
toothbrush, and ho can do without socks, but he has
to have antecedents."
"Well, 1 '11 agree to one thing," he said, recovering
his smiling effrontery. "1 '11 agree to keep away
from you all you like."
I swallowed tho insult in silence, though inwardly
I was boiling. Then I rose quietly, and without rais
ing my voice or departing from an ordinary conver
sational tone, said: "You have told me very little,
but I have learned all I want to know. You are
evidently a sharper and a rascal, and if you continue
this impudent courtship of my niece, 1 shall take
some very effectual means to squelch you. Good day,
sir, good day!"
With that 1 turned on my heel and left him, with
a disconcerting sense of having got the worst of it.
That fooling increased during the next few days
when I heard he was a constant caller at Kitty's
apartment, and that Viola and he were going out
together almost every afternoon or evening. Pro
testing to Kitty seemed absolutely useless; she would
agree to everything 1 said, and then do nothing; 1
would put words into hor mouth to say to Mr. Cobb,
and then, when ho came, she dared not say them.
I gathered, however, that sho had had some violent
passages with Viola in private, with no results save
sullonness and resentment.
Viola, who knew mighty well what 1 thought about
it all, showed a remarkable adroitness in eluding
me. Sho was always just going out, or having a
letter to write, or a pressing engagement with Isobel
Latimer whenever I tried to pin her down for that
lecture she was so plainly dreading. One day,
after a week had gone by in this manner, 1 lost
all patience with her. As sho was about to flutter
away in a whirlwind of animation and excuses, I
put my back to the door and smilingly held her
"Wo havo to have a talk about Mr. Cobb," I said,
"and wo are going to have it right now."
"Oh, but Uncle Hartley," she pleaded, I can't, I
can't ! 1 have n't a moment to spare truly
1 havo n't. 1 have a dress-fitting at Estelle's, and I
am already ten minutes late."
"I am a week late," I said. "A week late trying
to sco you, and always getting put off. For once
your engagements will havo to give way to the
claims of a wild and woolly uncle. 1 've got a lot
to say, and you 'e got a lot to hear."
Al'lMlECIATINO that 1 was in earnest, she sat
down, hut with a flash of her eyes and a muti
nous tightening of her lips that boded ill for my
long-deferred interview. Sho was a pretty girl in
her way, with masses of fair hair and a trim, nice
figure; I had always credited her with an affection
ate disposition as well until 1 ventured to lay bauds
on Mr. Cobb.
"Let 's get it over with," she snid, fldgetting in
her scat. "As my uncle (Continual on I'ayv b)
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