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- Raspberry Jam - 4/45 -


"Hunting for details of your wild-goose chase?" asked Embury, as he paused on the way to his own chair to lean over Aunt Abby's shoulder.

"Yes, and there's almost nothing! Why do you take this paper?"

"You'll see it all to-day, so why do you want to read about it?" laughed a gay voice, and Eunice came in, all fluttering chiffon and ribbon ends.

She took the chair Ferdinand placed for her, and picked up a spoon as the attentive man set grapefruit at her plate. The waitress was allowed to serve the others, but Ferdinand reserved to himself the privilege of waiting on his beloved mistress.

"Still of a mind to go?" she said, smiling at her aunt.

"More than ever! It's a perfectly heavenly day, and we'll have a good ride, if nothing more."

"Good ride!" chaffed Embury. "Don't you fool yourself, Aunt Abby! The ride from this burg to Newark, N.J., is just about the most Godforsaken bit of scenery you ever passed through!"

"I don't mind that. Al Hendricks is good company, and, any way, I'd go through fire and water to see that Hanlon show. Eunice, can't you and Mr. Hendricks pick me up? I want to go to my Psychic Class this morning, and there's no use coming way back here again."

"Yes, certainly; we're going about noon, you know, and have lunch in Newark."

"In Newark!" and Embury looked his amazement.

"Yes; Alvord said so last night. He says that new hotel there is quite all right. We'll only have time for a bite, anyway."

"Well, bite where you like. By the way, my Tiger girl, you didn't get that information from our friend last evening."

"No, San, I couldn't, without making it too pointed. I thought I could bring it in more casually to-day--say, at luncheon."

"Yes; that's good. But find out, Eunice, just where the Merediths stand. They may swing the whole vote."

"What vote?" asked Aunt Abby, who was interested in everything.

"Our club, Auntie," and Embury explained. "You know Hendricks is president--has been for years--and we're trying to oust him in favor of yours truly."

"You, Sanford! Do you mean you want to put him out and put yourself in his place?"

"Exactly that, my lady."

"But-how queer! Does he know it?"

"Rather! Yes--even on calm second thought, I should say Hendricks knows it!"

"But I shouldn't think you two would be friends in such circumstances."

"That's the beauty of it, ma'am; we're bosom friends, as you know; and yet, we're fighting for that presidency like two cats of Kilkenny."

"The New York Athletic Club, is it?"

"Oh, no, ma'am! Not so, but far otherwise. The Metropolitan Athletic Club if you please."

"Yes, I know--I'd forgotten the name."

"Don't mix up the two--they're deadly rivals."

"Why do you want to be president, Sanford?"

"That's a long tale, but in a nutshell, purely and solely for the good of the club."

"And that's the truth," declared Eunice. "Sanford is getting himself disliked in some quarters, influential ones, too, and he's making life-long enemies--not Alvord, but others--and it is all because he has the real interests of the club at heart. Al Hendricks is running it into--into a mud-puddle! Isn't he, San?"

"Well, yes, though I shouldn't have thought of using that word. But, he is bringing its gray hairs in sorrow to the grave--or will, if he remains in office, instead of turning it over to a well-balanced man of good judgment and unerring taste--say, like one Sanford Embury."

"You certainly are not afflicted with false pride, Sanford," and Aunt Abby bit into her crisp toast with a decided snap.

"Why, thank you," and Embury smiled as he purposely misinterpreted her words. "I quite agree, Aunt, that my pride is by no means false. It is a just and righteous pride in my own merits, both natural and acquired."

He winked at Eunice across the table, and she smiled back appreciatively. Aunt Abby gave him what was meant to be a scathing glance, but which turned to a nod of admiration.

"That's so, Sanford," she admitted. "Al Hendricks is a nice man, but he falls down on some things. Hasn't he been a good president?"

"Until lately, Aunt Abby. Now, he's all mixed up with a crowd of intractables--sporty chaps, who want a lot of innovations that the more conservative element won't stand for."

"Why, they want prize-fights and a movie theatre-right in the club!" informed Eunice. "And it means too much expense, besides being a horrid, low-down--"

"There, there, Tiger," and Sanford shook his head at her. "Let us say those things are unpalatable to a lot of us old fogies--"

"Stop! I won't have you call yourself old--or fogyish, either! You're the farthest possible removed from that! Why, you're no older than Al Hendricks."

"You were all children together," said Aunt Abby, as if imparting a bit of new information; "you three, and Mason Elliott. Why, when you were ten or eleven, Eunice, those three boys were eternally camping out in the front yard, waiting for you to get your hair curled and go out to play. And later, they all hung around to take you to parties, and then, later still --not so much later, either--they all wanted to marry you."

"Why, Auntie, you're telling the 'whole story of my life and what's my real name!'--Sanford knows all this, and knows that he cut out the other two--though I'm not saying they wanted to marry me."

"It goes without saying," and her husband gave her a gallant bow. "But, great heavens, Eunice, if you'd married those other two--I mean one of 'em--either one--you'd have been decidedly out of your element. Hendricks, though a bully chap, is a man of impossible tastes, and Elliott is a prig--pure and simple! I, you see, strike a happy medium. And, speaking of such things, are your mediums always happy, Aunt Abby?"

"How you do rattle on, Sanford! A true medium is so absorbed in her endeavors, so wrapped up in her work, she is, of course, happy--I suppose. I never thought about it."

"Well, don't go out of your way to find out. It isn't of vital importance that I should know. May I be excused, Madam Wife? I'm called to the busy marts--and all that sort of thing." Embury rose from the table, a big, tall man, graceful in his every motion, as only a trained athlete can be. Devoted to athletics, he kept himself in the pink of condition physically, and this was no small aid to his vigorous mentality and splendid business acumen.

"Wait a minute, San," and for the first time that morning there was a note of timidity in Eunice's soft voice. "Please give me a little money, won't you?"

"Money, you grasping young person! What do you want it for?"

"Why--I'm going to Newark, you know--"

"Going to Newark! Yes, but you're going in Hendricks' car--that doesn't require a ticket, does it?"

"No--but I--I might want to give the chauffeur something when I get out--"

"Nonsense! Not Hendricks' chauffeur. That's all right when you're with formal friends or Comparative strangers--but it would be ridiculous to tip Hendricks' Gus!"

Embury swung into the light topcoat held by the faithful Ferdinand.

"But, dear," and Eunice rose, and stood by her husband, "I do want a little money," she fingered nervously the breakfast napkin she was still holding.

"What for?" was the repeated inquiry.

"Oh, you see--I might want to do a little shopping in Newark."

"Shop in Newark! That's a good one! Why, girlie, you never want to shop outside of little old New York, and you know it. Shop in Newark!"

Embury laughed at the very idea.

"But--I might see something in a window that's just what I want."


Raspberry Jam - 4/45

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