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credit on their owner both for wisdom and
policy.

" Then," pursued my sister, with evident
pleasure in the sensation she was creating,
" you are not to be depended upon. You flat
ter yourself that you are, but that is only an
other of your mistaken estimates of yourself.
Your best friends never know when you will
go all to pieces over some trifle. You have no
self control. You burst into tears in public
and disgrace Aubrey "

" Aubrey doesn t mind ! " I cried.

" And me," pursued Bee placidly, " in ways
a grown up married woman should scorn to
do. One night at a roof garden, the conver
sation turned on McKinley s death and you
cried. At least two years after he had
died."

" Well, "

" There is no excuse for such things. They
only embarrass the self-possessed. Of course
the public is not supposed to know that you
enjoy crying that you can cry one minute
and burst out laughing while the tears are
still pouring down your face."



42 The Concentrations of Bee

" I don t enjoy it! " I muttered.

" Yes, you do ! " cried Jimmie. " By Jove !
I believe you do! "

" She does not ! " said Mrs. Jimmie, throw
ing the bomb of a flat contradiction into our
devoted midst. " Faith is only very emotional,
far more quick to see the pity of a thing than
we. And as for trying to control herself, I
have seen her lip bleed from biting it ! "

At this sweet and unexpected defence of my
great weakness, I gave what Jimmie called
" an imitation of a lady weeping " with great
promptness.

" You see! " said Bee, calmly.

" Go on and geyser, Faith, if it does you any
good," said Jimmie with a grin.

" It s it s because what d-dear Mrs. Jim
mie said makes me f-feel so sorry for m-my-
self ! " I stammered.

" Spotlight ! " said Jimmie.

" Exactly! " said Bee. " You are so over
come by the dramatic qualities of your onion-
like capacity to weep at notice that you at once
feel sorry enough for yourself to cry. As I
have observed before, it affords exquisite dis
comfort to your friends."

" Go on ! " I said, dabbing my eyes dry.
" It is fascinating to hear you tell it."



From a Sister s Point of View 43

" Again. You pride yourself on your in
terest in and your generosity to your friends.
But the truth of the matter is that while you
do fairly wear yourself out for them, you ex
pect the same fervour from them in your own
times of need, and when you don t get it, you
are furious. You are either working like a
slave for your friends or crying out at their
rank ingratitude."

"Ha! ha!" laughed Jimmie, suddenly.

I glared at him, and even his wife looked a
reproof which is the most she ever does. If
Jimmie were my husband, I d throw him into
the river a dozen times a day. But Mrs. Jim
mie only looks at him in dear reproach.

" And just because your purse hangs open
all the time, you think others should be so too.
But other people keep their money."

This remark admitted of so many changes
being rung on it, from the point of view of
James, Lyddy, the Jimmies, and ourselves, that
we all indulged in a silent but sympathetic
smile before Bee proceeded.

" Most people hate the feeling of grati
tude "

" Not one in a million knows what it feels
like," I snapped out.

" They don t want to feel it. Personally



44 The Concentrations of Bee

I d rather never have a favour done for me
than suffer the strain of gratitude, so that
really you "

" You are making out that I am a nui
sance ! " I cried.

" Not at all," said Bee smoothly. " I am
simply trying to show you that you do not
understand yourself as we understand you."

" That is all very well," I said, hotly.
" But "

" But we don t all agree with dear Bee,
clever as she undoubtedly is," said Mrs. Jim-
mie quietly. " She doesn t mean what she
says. She adores Faith just as we all do, and
we wouldn t have her dear funny ways
changed any more than than Aubrey would,
even if we could. We love her just as she is.
Don t we, Jimmie?"

Jimmie crossed over and took his wife s
hand.

" I d hate to say under oath that I approve
of everything that Faith does and is, because
I might go to jail if it could be proved on
me. But I ll say it of you if you want me
to!"

"But Jimmie!" said his wife with pink
cheeks, half pushing him away. " I don t
want you to say it of me

" All right ! " said Jimmie reproachfully.



From a Sister s Point of View 45

" At least not in public! " she hastily added.

Jimmie s eye twitches. He doesn t exactly
wink.

" I feel that Bee ought to write novels, she
has such an admirable way of sketching our
characters," I said.

" Is that smile of yours intended to be bit
ter ? " asked Jimmie of me, with a great show
of anxiety. " Because if it is, you should never
go on the stage. You are grinning like a
chessy cat at Bee s description of you."

" I have no intention of going on the stage,"
I remarked.

" Perhaps not now you haven t," said Jim
mie. " It is now only a quarter to six. At
six you might decide to star as Othello."

" If I ever do," I said, " I should ittsist
upon your playing Desdemona, Jimmie. It
would be unmitigated joy for me to put a
pillow over your mouth and then sit on it."

" Fie, fie ! My dear ! What a temper you
have ! " said Jimmie gently.

At this critical juncture the Angel appeared,
and after we had all hailed his advent after
our various kinds, he rang for ice and a sy
phon, at which Jimmie drew a deep anticipa
tory sigh of bliss.

" Bee, dear, where are you staying? " asked
Mrs. Jimmie.



46 The Concentrations of Bee

Then Bee told the Jimmies what she had
just told me, and I leaned back while Jimmie
sat up.

I enjoy Jimmie when he is angry. He is
so sincere. But he finally talked himself into
a state of exhaustion, whereupon Bee said
abruptly :

" Hope Loring s wedding cards are out.
Did you know it, Faith? "

" Yes," I said. " Ours came yesterday."

" So did ours," said Jimmie. " Doesn t it
seem good to see John Loring on his feet
again! He is one of the finest men I ever
knew in all my life."

" Do you know the family well ? " asked
Bee.

"Fairly so!"

" Do you? " asked Bee, turning to Aubrey.

"So so!"

" All of them ? The cousins ? "

The Angel nodded.

We all looked expectantly at Bee, but she
said no more. But I knew there was some
thing behind her innocent question. I simply
waited.

It was Aubrey who broke the silence.

" I met one of them, Laflin Van Tassel, you
know. And he told me that the famous law
suit has finally been settled and his mother



From a Sister s Point of View 47

won. She sued the administrators of her
grandfather s estate for an accounting, and
will recover a million or more, so that Laflin at
once becomes an interesting figure in society."

" How nice ! " I said. " But isn t it true
that * them as has, gits. For Laflin has al
ready made a name for himself as an archi
tect and would have got on in his profession
without money. Do you know him, Jim-
mie?"

Jimmie nodded.

" Good looking chap."

" He s the handsomest thing I ever saw,"
I said frankly. " And to think of his getting
all that money. I never even saw a good
looking millionaire before. Most rich men s
looks are such that a compensating Providence
simply had to give them money to even things
up!"

Jimmie sat up, suddenly intelligent

:< You want to know, whether it s in cash
or not? And what bank it s in, Bee?" he
asked.

Bee looked annoyed.

" I don t even know him," she said dis
tantly. " I only know the Lorings."

" His uncle, John Loring, is devoted to
him," said Mrs. Jimmie, " which means a
great deal to me."



48 The Concentrations of Bee

Bee looked down. She never lets us see
into her eyes when she thinks things.

" None of you can guess who else has finally
made a ten strike not that any of you will
particularly care," said Aubrey.

"Who?"

" Bob Mygatt. His opera his magnus
opus has finally found a manager."

" It s only a feather-fingered musical com
edy," said Jimmie. " Opera indeed ! Does
he call it an opera? "

" He generally alludes to it as his chuff
duff, " I said. " He is so funny."

" He is a dear," said Bee, beaming. " I
am so glad to hear of his good luck."

" He is charming," said Mrs. Jimmie.

" Just listen," said Jimmie to Aubrey.
" Women always rave about a fellow like
that. What do you think of him, old man? "

" Do you want my private opinion of Bob
Mygatt?" asked Aubrey, in his quiet voice.

" I do."

" Well," said the Angel, quietly. " I think
he is more kinds of a damnfool than any other
person, male or female, that I ever have had
the pleasure of knowing."

Aubrey meets with the usual fate of those
who seldom use violent language. When he
does he prostrates his audience.



From a Sister s Point of View 49

" Lyddy has met him," said Bee softly.

"Already?"

" And she says he has the most delightful
manners of any man she ever knew. He
kissed her hand at parting."

Jimmie writhes so when he laughs, I love
to watch him.

" I think," said Bee, " that one reason
Lyddy was so willing to take that separate
apartment

" Bee, don t," shrieked Jimmie. " I can t
bear it!"

Even Aubrey grinned at Jimmie s joy.

" Was because I should not always be there
to see him take leave of her."

"He s engaged!"

Aubrey s bombshell had the desired effect.

" Engaged ! " cried Bee. She was so plainly
disconcerted that I looked at her in surprise.
She instantly recovered herself and added,
" How annoying ! The Bob Mygatts of this
world should never be engaged. They belong
to all of us."

" Anybody is welcome to my share of em,"
said Jimmie, cheerfully.

" Whom is he engaged to? " I demanded.

" A beautiful girl who is to sing the prin
cipal role in his piece," said Aubrey. " I ve
never seen her, but I ve heard her voice



50 The Concentrations of Bee

and it is a very fine one a clear, high so
prano."

" You must get to know her, Aubrey," said
Bee. "You could, couldn t you?"

" What for? " asked the Angel.

"Oh, just because! "

" Ask Mygatt to bring her to see you, Bee,"
said Jimmie. " That s the proper caper, isn t
it?"

True," said Bee, rising and shaking out
her mourning. It quite brought us to our
senses to see Bee in black. Even Jimmie
hastily gulped down the last of his drink and
choked on a piece of ice as he started to his
feet.

" When may we come to see you, Bee,
dear?" I cried almost dancing in my excite
ment. " Can t we come to-night? "

" If you don t mind sitting on boxes, come
by all means."

"Oh, what fun to have you living here! "
I cried, flinging my arms around her neck,
regardless of her " blacks."

" We are coming too, Bee," declared Jim
mie.

" Why, of course you are," she answered.
" Don t we all belong to the Happy Family? "

"Have you told her?" demanded Jimmie
with dropped jaw.



From a Sister s Point of View 51

" Certainly not," answered his wife, with a
surprised look at Bee. " Didn t I promise
not to?"

" Then," announced Jimmie, beaming with
importance, " I shall have something nice to
tell you all to-night ! "

And so saying, and in spite of our agonized
questions, Jimmie went out hurriedly, grin
ning with cheerful malice at our baffled curi
osity.



CHAPTER IV

BEE AND HER CELLARETTE

AS usual Bee had got exactly what she
wanted. This time it was an apart
ment, beautifully suited to her needs,
close to her best friend, Sallie Fitzhugh, and
with more little conveniences than any apart
ment I had ever seen.

" And I do believe it will be as quiet as one
can be in New York," said Aubrey wistfully.

" Possibly it will," said Bee, " just because
I don t care whether it is or not. The boy
next me at the hotel where I was, played a
drum."

She smiled at our horrified faces. But be
fore we could say more, the door was pushed
open and Bee s sister-in-law, Lyddy, made her
appearance.

Poor Lydia Lathrop! We always tried to
be pleasant at first, but we are easy going folk
and will not strive long to be good in any
direction. We follow the line of least resist
ance and only strive persistently to amuse
ourselves.

S*



Bee and Her Cellarette 53

Jimmie sums up the situation neatly when
he says :

" I suppose it really isn t Lyddy s fault that
her knuckles are red and shiny."

" What / object to," said Aubrey, " is the
general dampness of her personality. If you
shake hands with her, her hands are damp.
If you pick up her handkerchief it is always
damp. If you touch her gloves they are al
ways damp."

But what worried me was the dampness of
her personality. She always regarded our
chatter with each other as covert insults di
rected specifically at herself, and to be pierced
with Lyddy Lathrop s eye just as you were
saying something foolish, but which all the
others would love, was to feel as if an icicle
had dropped down your back.

" Well, Lyddy," I said nervously. I al
ways had to be the first to speak, because the
others wouldn t.

" Well, Faith ! " she retorted, as Jimmie
would say, " with rare wit."

Dear Mrs. Jimmie came to the rescue as
usual.

" I have not seen you since your poor
brother s death, to say how sorry I feel for you
in your grief," she said in her soft voice.

" You wrote all that was necessary," said



54 The Concentrations of Bee

Lyddy. Then seeing by our sudden silence
how enraged we were that the only decent one
among us had been so hatefully rebuffed, she
added :

" But I ve no doubt you mean well."

" Yes, we mean well," said Jimmie. " We
are just poor, simple folk who blunder in our
speech, that s all."

" But while we are not clever we can truth
fully call ourselves good natured and tidy, can
we not?" I added, looking around for en
couragement.

I was recalled to the sale of the Kokomo
land by Bee s peaceful rejoinder:

" Lyddy stayed at home and worked all the
time I was with you, so her apartment is
nearly settled. Don t you want to show it to
them, Lyddy?"

" I don t know that I want to show them,
but if they choose to go in and look at it, I
shall not prevent them."

" Such cordiality shall not go unrewarded,"
said Jimmie. " We accept your kind invita
tion, Miss Lathrop, with pleasure."

"Jimmie!" murmured his wife reproach
fully.

" I had to, love, or I should have hit her
under the ear with a hambone."



Bee and Her Cellarette 55

As we were all filing through the door,
Bee s telephone rang and she turned around
with a queer look after answering it.

"Whom do you think it is?" she said,
biting her lip.

" Who? " we demanded in a breath.

" Bob Mygatt. He says he went around
to see you, Faith, and they told him where
you were."

" That s strange," I said. " The hotel peo
ple didn t know where we were."

" He must have come to see Lyddy ! " said
Jimmie, as the broadest joke he could think
of at the time. But to our unbounded joy,
Lyddy fled for a mirror, where she nervously
put herself to rights.

We nearly suffocated trying not to let her
hear us.

Then, with a bang, the door flew open, and
Bob was in our midst.

Bob was almost good looking and, to most
of us, wholly amusing in his impudence; but
the Angel and Jimmie disliked him with a
wholesome fervour which almost partook of
athletics in the violence of its exertion.

When Lyddy came in, Bob called her his
" Dear Lady," and kissed her hand, Jimmie
watching him in fascinated silence. Then he



56 The Concentrations of Bee

sat down on the floor at her side, clasped his
knees and looked up into her face with the
adoring eyes of a faithful dog.

These two were so absorbed in each other
that they did not join our clamour to know
what Jimmie s secret was, but when we finally
got it out of him and found that he had bought
a glorious big touring car, Bobbie s ear was
suddenly cocked in our direction, and soon
afterward he deserted Lyddy and propelled
himself, still in that sitting posture, to my
side.

" Ah, ha ! I though you would remember
our existence when you heard the word auto
mobile," I said cruelly. But in reality it was
because I do not like to see an agreeable man
waste himself too long on another woman.
I am not jealous. I am only particular.

Bob looked at me reproachfully.

" That s mean," he said. " I am not after
the crumbs which fall from a rich man s table.
I am a rich man myself or at least I am
going to be, if the brutes handle my play as
they should."

" That is what we are always thinking
that we are going to be rich to-morrow. But
to-morrow never comes."

" It came once, but you blew it all in "

" Tell me about your " I began hastily.



Bee and Her Cellarette 57

" About my play?"

" No. About your engagement. I ve just
heard of it."

" Who told you ? " he said with a cloudy
face.

"Aubrey. Who is the girl?"

" She is a cousin of Mrs. Winthrop, and
her name is Ava Corliss."

"A cousin of Mrs. Gallup Winthrop!" I
cried. " That is a fine family. She must
have loads of money."

" Yes, but she doesn t belong to the rich
side of the family worse luck ! "

" Bob, are you mercenary?"

" No, but I m jolly well tired of being poor.
You can t call me mercenary when I am en
gaged to a poor girl."

" Is she really poor? "

" As Job s turkey. Has to support herself."

" Yes, you are mercenary, because you half
regret it. It s your Irish sentimentality which
made you fall in love with her."

" I showed good sense in falling in love
with her. She s just the girl to keep me
straight got a conscience that sticks out so
you bark your shins against it every time you
get near enough to her to shake hands, but
I was a fool to ask her to marry me, because
unless my play is 3 . sucess, it will be thirty or



58 The Concentrations of Bee

forty years before we can marry. Besides
that, she rakes up a man s past, with a "

" But everybody says your play is so fool
ish it is bound to be a success. Now York is
the home of musical silliness," I said cheer
fully. But my interruption did not stave off
his confidence. It only deferred it.

He looked up at me and grinned. Then he
sighed.

" I ll tell you all about it, sometime. I m in
a lot of trouble, but I can t talk about it here.
So long, I must get back to my lady love," he
said, as if I had begged him to confide.

And with that he resumed his place by
Lyddy and we heard him beseech her not to
send him away again.

But evidently Bee could stand this no
longer, for she rose and said :

" I didn t ask you all here to-night to spend
an evening in sweet idleness. Jimmie, won t
you and Aubrey hang pictures for me? "

Lyddy looked up with acid in her voice, as
she said :

" Why disturb things, Bee? "

" I have no intention of disturbing you and
Bob," began Bee.

" In fact, I think she suggested it out of
courtesy to leave you and Bob alone to
gether," I said.*



Bee and Her Cellarette 59

Lyddy smiled at me, and Bob cut in fer
vently :

" Oh, do leave us alone ! Go away all of
you ! I want to have my lady all to myself all
the rest of the evening! "

And he hitched himself nearer to her, and
resumed his adoring-dog glances.

Jimmie marched out without a backward
glance.

When we were all safely out of ear shot, he
turned to Bee and exploded :

" I don t know what your game is, but I tell
you right now, don t you ever invite that fool
to be one of any party you make up for the
automobile, for I won t stand it! Of all
the "

" Certainly not, Jimmie," said Bee sooth
ingly. "Have you named it yet? "

" Why, yes," said Jimmie, his brow smooth
ing under Bee s tact. " Didn t I tell you? In
honour of us all, I have named it * The
Happy Family.

" How many will it hold, Jimmie," I de
manded, visions of taking all my friends to
ride in it floating through my brain.

" Seven. I thought it was of no use to get
a smaller one when you and Bee are so hos
pitable."



60 The Concentrations of Bee

I giggled. And Mrs. Jimmie beamed with
happiness.

Suddenly Jimmie paused in his inspection
of Bee s apartment and exclaimed :

"What s this, Bee?"

"Open it and see!"

I knew from Bee s modest pride that she
had done something worthy of praise, and so
she had, for the thing was a cellarette and
such a cellarette that I was sure it had been
made to order.

As we opened it, a vision of good things
met our eye, all appetizingly packed and icy
cold.

Jimmie and the Angel hung over it fas
cinated.

" Lobster! " murmured Aubrey.

"Who is?" demanded Jimmie.

" You seem to be alive," I said. " Though
I have often felt that you could be spared ! "

" Beer ! " said the Angel. " And a jar of
mayonnaise already made! And Swiss cheese
and rye sandwiches! Bee, how did you man
age all this on moving day? "

Bee was satisfied by his tone of respectful
admiration. We sat back and watched the
Angel set the table.

" Why don t you help him, Faith ? " de
manded Jimmie.



Bee and Her Cellarette 6 1

I waved my hand.

" I ve trained him to do it and I don t want
to spoil him," I said. " Why don t you help
him yourself? I ve never regarded you as at
all ornamental, particularly in repose."

" I d drop things. Say, Bee, do we have
to call Lyddy?"

" Certainly, Jimmie. Our dear Lyddy will
be one at all our little gatherings in the fu
ture "

" After that death ! " said Aubrey. But
again we forgot how Bee works.

"Not in the motor?" demanded Jimmie
aghast.

" Certainly ! " said Bee, firmly.

" I d never have bought the thing if I d
known that ! " said Jimmie, fiercely, " I call
it a confounded shame, Bee, to make me! "

" Why, Jimmie," said his wife, deeply
shocked. " How can you be so outspoken ?
You might hurt dear Bee s feelings. He
didn t mean anything, Bee. Lyddy will be
always welcome whenever you care to bring
her. We know how tried you will be during
this coming year, and anything that anyone
of us can do to make this easier for you, we
will gladly do."

Bee bent over and kissed her. That was
all there was to do most of the time. Her



62 The Concentrations of Bee

heavenly sweetness, as Jimmie said, " always
knocked our eye out."

We made Jimmie call Lyddy and Bob and
we all gathered around Bee s tiny dining-
room table to partake of our first meal with
her.

We all had it in mind, but of course it was
poor old Jimmie who blurted into saying it.

"By Jove, Bee!" he cried. "This is the
first time we ever sat down to your table, isn t
it? Ouch!"

This last registered two swift kicks that he
got sub rosa, so to speak.

Lyddy fixed him with her eye and rose
manfully to the occasion.

"That is right, Mr. Jimmie! Remind me,
right to my face of my poor dead brother s
peculiarities and his domestic unhappiness!
It pleases both his widow and his sister to
have his unfortunate disposition remarked
upon ! Pray go on ! "

"Oh, I say!" gasped Jimmie, looking
wildly around for a sympathetic eye. But he
met Only a circle of flushed faces, partly con
cealed by friendly napkins.

" Don t suppose," pursued Lyddy relent
lessly, " that I am unaware of the outrageous
manner in which you, all of you, habitually
not only regarded my poor brother s eccentrici-



Bee and Her Cellarette 63

ties, but talked about them among yourselves!
/know!"

She drew in her chin bridling. Our conster
nation was so patent that Lyddy was enjoy
ing herself rarely. Emboldened by our lack
of spirit, she went on.

" My poor brother was in reality one of the
most unfortunately placed (with a glare at
Bee), most deliberately misunderstood, (with
a glare at me), disagreeably ridiculed (we
were all in on this) unkindly treated man who
ever lived. At heart he was "

Here Bobbie, whom we had all forgotten in
our fright, took a hand. My single lucid rec
ollection of the following speech is the way
a morsel of lobster trembled on my fork dur
ing the entire time.

" Dear lady," he said, covering Lyddy s
shiny knuckles with his hand. " Why bluff?
Why not admit the truth? 7 knew your
brother God rest his soul ! and a stin
gier, meaner, more warped old misanthrope
never breathed! Every time I look at you, I
wonder, I actually wonder how so gentle and
sweet a soul as yours was ever the twin of his !
Your brother did his best to kill the friendship
of everyone who ever felt kindly toward him,
and that his widow is alive to-day is largely
due to the fact that her family took her away



66 The Concentrations of Bee

Then we fell to and partook of Bee s dain
ties. But in addition to the usual condiments
they were seasoned by agitated thought and
mingled emotions.

" Come to our studio to-morrow night," I
commanded.

" That will be nice," said Mrs. Jimmie.
" We can go there after you have dined with
us at Claremont after our ride."

" Have you an automobile large enough to


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