"No, my boy, we're going to stay right here, and you're going to stay here with us. There's lots of good times ahead for you and Elizabeth, and in the meantime, I want you to be mighty sweet to that mother of yours. She's the only mother you've got, boy. You don't know what it means for us old folks to be disappointed in our children. Now, don't disappoint me, lad. You be nice to that mother of yours, and keep on loving Elizabeth, and it will all come right, you see if it don't. If it don't come one way, it will come another; you can take my word for it." As if Dad knew anything about it. He thought then that every woman possessed a sweet mind and a loving heart; he thinks so now. But one glimpse of Blakely's mother was enough for me. She had a heart of stone; everything about her was militant, uncompromising; her eyes were of a piercing, steely blue; the gowns she wore were insolently elegant; she radiated a superb self-satisfaction. When she looked at you through her lorgnette, you felt as if you were on trial for your life. When she ceased looking, you knew you were sentenced to mount the social scaffold. If it hadn't been for Blakely and Dad, I should have died of rage during the first two weeks of our stay in Santa Barbara.
It was a cruel position for me, and it didn't make it easier that before we had been there three days the whole hotel was talking about it. Of course, every woman in the hotel who had been snubbed by Blakely's mother instantly took my part, and as there were only two women who hadn't been snubbed by her--Mrs. Tudor Carstairs and Mrs. Sanderson-Spear--I was simply overwhelmed with unsolicited advice and undesirable attention. Indeed, it was all I could do to steer a dignified course between that uncompromising Scylla, Blakely's mother, and the compromising Charybdis of my self-elected champions. But I managed it, somehow. Dad bought me a stunning big automobile in Los Angeles, and Blakely taught me how to run it; then, Blakely was awfully fond of golf; and we spent loads of time at the Country Club. And of course there was the palace on the hill to be inspected every little while.
Poor Blakely! How he did hate it all! Again and again he begged Dad to give his consent to our marrying at once. But Dad, as unconscious of what was going on round him as a two-months-old baby, would always insist that everything would come out all right.
"Give her time, my boy," he would say, "give her time. Your mother isn't used to our Western way of rushing things, and she wants a little time to get used to it."
"What if she never gets used to it?" Blakely would ask.
Then Dad would answer: "You're impatient, boy; all lovers are impatient. Don't I know?"
"But things can't go on this way forever."
"Of course they can't," Dad would agree. "When I think things have gone long enough, I'll have a little talk with your mother myself. She's a dashed fine-looking woman, your mother--a dashed fine- looking woman! Be patient with her, boy."