Father had read on a Blotter somewhere that Absence makes the Heart grow fonder, so he played his System with the Reverse English.
He arranged a nice long trip by Land and Water and took the male Sweetheart along, so that the Doting Pair could be together at Breakfast.
His cunning had now become diabolical. He was getting ready to apply the Supreme Test.
Every Morning, when Bernice looked over her Baked Apple she saw nothing in this wide World except Kenneth, still reeking of Witch Hazel and spotted with Talcum Powder, and not very long on Sparkling Conversation.
When he was propped up in the cold Dawn, with his eyes partially open, he did not resemble a Royal Personage nearly as much as he had in some of his earlier Photographs.
Father would order soft-boiled Eggs to be Eaten from the Shell. When Kenneth got around to these, he would cease to be a Romantic Figure for at least a few Minutes. Bernice would turn away in dread and look out at the swaying Trees and long to see some of her Girl Friends back home.
After Kenneth had been served to her, three meals a day, for two Weeks and they had ridden together for Ages and Ages, in Pullman Compartments, she made certain horrible Discoveries.
One of his Ears was larger than the other.
He made a funny noise with his Adam’s Apple when drinking Hot Coffee.
When he was annoyed, he bit his nails.
When suffering from a Cold, he was Sniffy.
The first time she became aware of the slight discrepancy in Ears, she suffered only a slight Annoyance. It handed her a tiny Pang to find a Flaw in a Piece of Work that she had regarded as Perfect.
After she had seen nothing else but those Ears for many, many Days, it became evident to her that if Kenneth truly loved her, he would go and have them fixed.
Likewise, every time her Heart’s Delight lifted the Cup to his Ruby Lips, she would grip the Table Cloth with both Hands, and whisper to herself, “Now we get the Funny Noise.”
Kenneth, in the mean while, had found out that her Hair did not always look the same, but one who is striving to get a Meal Ticket for Life cannot be over-fastidious.
He was Game and stood ready to obey all Orders in order to pull down the Capital Prize.
He had been such a Hit in the Maple-Sundae Set that he could not conceive the possibility of any Female becoming satiated with his Society.
The poor Loon never stopped to figure out that the only way to keep a Girl sitting up and interested is to stay away once in a while and give her a Vacation.
Father was right on the Job to see that Bernice had no Vacation. He framed it up to give her a Foretaste of Matrimony every Day in the Week.
If the Future Husband wandered more than thirty feet from her side, Father would nail him and Sic him on to her again.
She would look up and say: “Oh, Fury! Look who’s here again!”
This was no way for a true-hearted Maiden to speak of her Soul Mate.
Father put the Cap Sheaf on his big Experiment by accepting an invitation to go Yachting.
He put them side by side on Deck and told them to comfort each other, in case anything happened.
They never could have been quite the same to each other after that Day.
Bernice wanted to get back on Shore and hunt her Room and peel down to a Kimono and refuse any Callers for a Month.
Even the accepted Swain was beginning to slow up. He could remember the time when he used to sit around with members of his own Sex.
Father had no Mercy. He took the two Invalids back to Land and rounded them up for Breakfast next morning.
When Kenneth appeared, he was slightly greenish in Color.
One Ear was three times as large as the other. He had caught a Sniffy Cold.
In partaking of his Coffee he made Sounds similar to those coming through the Partition when the People in the adjoining Flat have trouble with the Plumbing.
He saw Bernice glaring at him and bit his Nails in Embarrassment.
Father felt the Crisis impending and laid on the last Straw.
“I was trying to recall that Story,” said he–“the One about the German and the Dog.”
Bernice gave one Shriek and then dashed from the Room, making hysterical Outcries along the Corridor.
Father told Kenneth to check all the Trunks for Home and then catch an early Train.
Bernice was squirming about on the Hotel Sofa when Father entered the Room.
She threw herself into his Arms and passionately demanded, “Why, oh, why are you trying to force me into marrying that Creature?”
MORAL: Don’t get acquainted too soon.