ment came over an especially pretty representing a bunch of grapes and two face.

cupids. 'Is n't he bright?' she thought. I “My God!' muttered Mr. Pinkham, never heard of anything so original. 'it's Whitehouse's umbrella. What 'll How Mabel will scream when I tell I do next?' her about it.'

This agonized query was not easy to 'You seem awfully interested in answer. Certain it was that Mr. Pinkumbrellas.'

ham did not cut an especially dignified 'Oh, I am!' protested Mr. Pinkham figure as he swayed in the aisle grasping eagerly.

a big umbrella and gazing intently at 'Do you collect umbrellas?'

the handle. 'Why no, you see I have a friend who 'I've been awfully interested in has an umbrella —'.

umbrellas,' he said, breaking the mo'Indeed!'

mentary silence, because my friend 'Yes, it's a corker. It's awfully old. lost his and I've been trying to help My friend inherited it. He died in 1890. him find it. I mean my friend's great uncle did. The look of amusement faded from He left it as an only bequest. Fifty the face of the umbrella's attractive years old.'

owner. She said coldly, 'So you suspect “Who is fifty years old, your friend's that my umbrella is stolen property?' uncle?'

“No, oh no! 'No, no, the umbrella.'

"I'll trouble you for it. I'm willThe girl laughed. Anybody would ing to allow that umbrella to be adhave laughed. Mr. Pinkham never mired — if anybody wants to admire looked funnier.

an umbrella — but that does n't mean ‘You see,' Mr. Pinkham floundered identification as stolen property. on, 'my friend was awfully attached Saying which, the young woman laid to his uncle — I mean his uncle's the umbrella on the floor by the steam umbrella – almost like a son to pipe, and turned her chair toward the him.'

window. 'His uncle was like a son to your Mr. Pinkham realized he was up friend?'

against a large, man-sized crisis. He "No, no, the umbrella was!

realized also that his only hope of fol*Your friend must have a very af- lowing the Whitehouse relic further fectionate disposition if he treats his was to change his tactics, and at umbrella like a member of the family.' once. She laughed again. Mr. Pinkham 'I have a confession to make,' said laughed, though rather more nervously Mr. Pinkham meekly. 'Please don't than Mr. Pinkham usually laughed. refuse to hear it.'

The young lady arose and extracted The girl made no reply, but she her umbrella from the rack. With wheeled her chair around and faced the evident amusement she handed it to umbrella sleuth. this excruciating man. How would he ‘Nothing to it.' ‘land' from such an absurd excuse onto ‘Your uncle, you mean?' solid ground?

“Yes, my friend, his uncle, the Mr. Pinkham forgot his attractive umbrella, and all the dope. Nothing to neighbor. The umbrella was large - it.' altogether too large for a girl. Black There was a slight twinkle in a most silk. It had a richly tinted ivory handle attractive pair of brown eyes, but no

of the mos

change of expression. 'Is n't he per- 'Don't you want to know my name? fectly killing?' was the girl's amused Don't you want ever to see me again?' thought. 'Did you ever see such a fool? asked Mr. Pinkham plaintively. He's awfully bright. I never would 'I've told you my first name. What have thought he could get down to is yours?' earth so cleverly. And funny! Some- 'Eddie.' how I never saw anything so funny 'Fine. That's all I need. An eddy before!'

goes round in a circle. You ’ve cut 'You mean there was n't any truth several circles this morning.' in anything you said?

'I'd like to tell you my last name 'Absolutely no truth whatever. I and give you my address. Please let's just had to get acquainted with you. exchange, Natalie,' pleaded Mr. PinkI was desperate. I could n't offer any ham, though rather hurriedly. The little assistance, not even a magazine or porter was intimating that Portsmouth paper. I could n't see a ghost of a show was near at hand. of rescuing you from bandits or vio- 'Oh no, not your last name. I . lence — certainly not before I get to could n't stand it. I know so many Portsmouth. Time was short. It's Eddies now that I almost cut circles shorter still now. Please forgive me. myself. Where I live there are more I really was desperate,' stammered men than anything else. Cheer up, we Mr. Pinkham with a timid, ingratiating can't exchange addresses.' smile. He permitted the sway of the The train stopped as Mr. Pinkham car to lurch him a little nearer the was fervidly protesting his enjoyment adjoining vacant seat.

of the morning's experience. The selfThe owner of the umbrella laughed. possessed Natalie smiled again. Again It was not due altogether to a sudden she could n't help it. With furtive relenting on her part. This was one of glance at the projecting ferule of D. the rare instances in Mr. Pinkham's Pringle Whitehouse's umbrella, Mr. career in which the involuntary mirth Pinkham turned reluctantly to depart. which he inspired was fortunate. Evidently Miss Natalie noticed his

During the agreeable hour which glance. followed, Mr. Pinkham exerted himself 'Remember me to your great uncle, feverishly to secure some information Eddie!' she said and turned to the concerning his companion, but in vain. window. With unusual skill she avoided giving Mr. Pinkham had not been entirely him any clue to her identity. She was idle, however. In his pocket he had going to Portland. That was easy. a very dainty Madeira handkerchief. Where did she come from? Who was On the platform he hastily examined she? Portsmouth was fast approaching. it. In one corner were the initials ‘N. Mr. Pinkham was getting desperate. G.' 'I think you might tell me your

IV name,' he pleaded. 'Natalie.'

For some unexplained reason, Mr. “What else?'

Edward Withers Pinkham was in an 'It's not of the least consequence to especially cheerful mood when he you. Select any nice name from the sought repose that evening in a Ports'phone book that will go well with the mouth hotel. first one. Schermerhorn or Munion, for 'I'm near the end of the trail — example, would be excellent.'

trail — trail!' chanted Mr. Pinkham

Whitehouse umbrella episode. When

sonorously, beginning low and ending high, as he hung his necktie on the chandelier and airily did an imaginary fox trot. Possibly the day's experience had had something to do with his good humor, or perhaps — and, at that, a more likely perhaps — it all arose from the letter he had written to Professor Dawson Graham, Williamstown, Mass. DEAR PROFESSOR GRAHAM, —

I am in a peck of trouble. I promised to bring back from Bretton Woods for D. Pringle Whitehouse of Jersey City, a big black silk umbrella with ivory handle representing a bunch of grapes and two cupids. I was prevented from returning directly and persuaded Randall to bring the umbrella back. Randall put the job off on someone else – he forgets who — thought it was Cobb of Pittsburgh. Cobb denied it and suggested Hotchkiss of New Haven. Hotchkiss also said no, and suggested Penfield of Baltimore. Penfield telegraphs me you are the man.

Meantime Whitehouse is getting very troublesome, and I am much concerned — so much so that I am going to stay here in Portsmouth a few days and, while here, try to locate that umbrella. It's pretty valuable, old as the hills, heirloom, and all that. Please help me out. I do hope you have the thing or can tell me where it is so I can go at once and get it.

Yours sincerely,

Asst.-Secretary. 'It's that last sentence. It 'll do the trick. I see the gates of Paradise gaily gleaming — gaily gleaming,' sang Mr. Pinkham as he dived into bed.

Nearly a week elapsed before a letter bearing the Williamstown postmark reached the hand of the troubled and somewhat overwrought Assistant-Secretary. It read: —

go directly to New York, so I offered to take that umbrella with me. On reaching Greenfield I decided to go home for a few days and then on to New York. One thing after another has delayed the trip, and the Whitehouse umbrella stood — as I supposed – safely in the household umbrella stand. When your letter came I prepared to wrap it securely and express it to you, but it was not to be found. I have searched everywhere, and made inquiries about town, but in vain.

Mrs. Graham suggests that perhaps our daughter, Natalie, took it with her when she left home last week on a trip to Boston and Portland. She was starting without an umbrella, but it may be that after her mother's comments the Whitehouse umbrella appealed to my daughter's sense of humor and that she took the heirloom with her. I can think of no other way to account for its disappearance, and wrote at once to my daughter asking her to reply by return mail and also to write direct to you if she had the umbrella. A letter was received from her to-day but she forgets to make any reference to the umbrella, so all I can do is to send you the facts with deep regret.

You are near Portland. If you have the time and it is worth while, you might make personal inquiry. My daughter is visiting a classmate and will remain another week at least. I enclose a card with the Portland address. You may have heard from her already.

I am really most upset over this, and shall keep searching. With much regret,

Sincerely yours,

Dawson GRAHAM. Mr. Pinkham folded up the letter. 'Have you a time-table of trains between Portsmouth and Portland ?' he inquired of the hotel clerk most politely.


I regret to tell you that you have at last located the guilty party in the

There was quite another state of Portland, but said nothing about the affairs in Portland.

Whitehouse umbrella — because there Miss Natalie Graham had arrived was nothing to say. safely, bag and baggage, and had been met and demonstratively greeted by Miss Mabel Parkhurst, and thereafter, with beautiful weather and much doing It was about five-thirty on a warm day and evening, a week was slipping bright summer afternoon when Mr. by when a letter from Williamstown Edward Withers Pinkham ascended seemed to disturb Miss Parkhurst's the broad verandah-steps of a spacious attractive guest.

old-fashioned house in Portland and It was in the forenoon. The two inquired for Miss Graham. girls were sitting on the broad verandah Mr. Pinkham was blissfully ignorant together. Natalie's face became grave of the hurried conference that was held and perplexed.

upstairs when his card and Professor 'Mabel,' she demanded, 'where is Graham's introduction were presented that umbrella?'

to Natalie. What umbrella?'

'What shall I do?' she exclaimed 'You know that absurd man I told distractedly. “If we could only be sure you about and his clever excuses. The of hearing from that Lost and Found umbrella — the one I had. My dear, tracer by to-morrow, somehow I could where is it?'

put him off a day. 'I thought he took it.'

‘Nat, you 're too mild. I 'll help you "Took it? Of course not. I must have see this through. It will not be toleft it in the Pullman. I have n't given morrow. Prepare for the worst. You the awful thing a thought since that don't know railroads. They 'll take a man got off the car at Portsmouth. I week at least. This man seems all right was a fool to take it. It was six feet to take on, and we'll rush him off his long and weighed a ton. Nobody needs feet. We 'll kill all his umbrella longan umbrella, but Mother insisted and ings. You vamp him and I'll crowd so I took along a monstrosity, and the social end.' first that man grabbed at it, and now Nothing in the demure, rather subit's lost and father writes for it.' dued appearance of Natalie Graham,

'The man who scraped acquaintance looking wondrously attractive that with you stole it,' said Miss Parkhurst warm summer afternoon in a gown of tranquilly.

filmiest shell-pink voile, remotely sug'He did nothing of the sort. He was gested a vamp. She greeted the slightly a dear. He was no thief,' retorted embarrassed Mr. Pinkham very corNatalie.

dially. There was a hint of penitence in 'He has it.'

her manner (perhaps partly genuine if 'Let's go to the station and see if the the tracer could be ignored). umbrella was turned in.'

'It was n't necessary to give you Half an hour later began a vigorous my address, as you asked me to do, search for the Whitehouse umbrella, and I did n't need yours because my with tracer papers started to the Pull- father supplied it several days ago. man and to the porter, who, meantime, You see, it was all neatly attended to had been transferred.

for us.' And so it happened that Natalie 'It was a plain case of Providence,' wrote an enthusiastic letter home about put in Mr. Pinkham eagerly. "I'm

umbalf an ho the Whitehead to the

to a prul. Didd, Mabes

dreadfully sorry you have been so The week which followed was not annoyed over that wretched old um- calculated to encourage meditations brella.' The Assistant Secretary was on umbrellas. Mr. Edward Withers now serenely tranquil over the White Pinkham was no anchorite. He was a house relic. Had he not reached the lively, gregarious soul, and he had proend of the trail? And had the trail not gressed so far in the malady of love that led to a wonderful girl? Blessings on he gave no thought to the empty chair Whitehouse! Hail ivory grapes and on the seventeenth floor of the Engicupids!

neering Building, New York, and a pos'Let's go out on the verandah. sibly irate employer. Natalie was so There's a delightful one at the side of absorbing, so wonderful! Somehow her the house.' And Natalie led the way to manner toward him had distinctly a vine-protected corner where several changed. Mr. Pinkham could not big chairs invited to conversation. know that even the Lost and Found

'I don't suppose,' added Miss Gra- Bureau at the Boston Terminal had ham daringly, 'that you want that been appealed to by telephone in vain horrible old umbrella to caress while and that the approaching necessity for you talk?

a tragic accounting was weighing ‘Forget it,' said Mr. Pinkham. 'I hourly more and more heavily. feel now as though I never wanted to The worst of it for Natalie was that see that umbrella again. And yet,' he there was something awfully attractive added, the natural Pinkham beginning about Eddie. Of course he was a perto appear, 'I ought to be more than fect scream. One wanted to laugh grateful. Did not those ivory cupids — " every time one looked at him, but he

‘My friend, Mabel Parkhurst, Mr. was certainly a peach — so well-bred, Eddie Pinkham.'

so thoughtful of her, so devoted — and Miss Parkhurst laughed. Miss Gra- she just knew he cared. ham laughed. Everybody always did laugh when introduced to Mr. Pinkham. On this occasion Mr. Pinkham laughed.

'I heard you say you were grateful,' This was the general state of affairs said Mabel Parkhurst. 'It's too early in Portland, Maine, on a bright August for that, because you are going to stay Tuesday morning when Mr. Pinkham to supper, then we'll take you over to came down rather late to breakfast bridge at the Robinson's and a little after a most delightful outing the evedance at the end. No excuse.'

ning before. A night letter awaited him. 'I planned to spend the night at the hotel here in Portland, anyway,' ad


AROUND PORTLAND STOP WHITEmitted Mr. Pinkham, and so the White

HOUSE HAS THAT OLD UMBRELLA house umbrella was forgotten a second

YOU KEEP YAPPING ABOUT STOP time. The first time Mr. Pinkham

YOUR EXCUSE ABSURD STOP CUT airily assumed it was traveling to New York on the arm of Randall, the kindly


JOB STOP BE AT DESK WEDNESDAY helper. It was n't. The second time, he assumed just as airily that the


J. C. grapes and cupids were reposing in Natalie's room. They were not. The The staggering effect of this message Lord only knew where they were repos- on Mr. Edward Withers Pinkham was ing just at that moment.

no greater than that produced in the


« ElőzőTovább »