"Very well," I said, "I'll read it."
"MY DEAR MOTHER: This will be handed to you at four o'clock. At that hour I shall be in Ventura, accompanied by the Grand Duke Alexander, and, as we are making the trip by automobile, it may be that we shall neither of us return in time for your dinner this evening."
"If, however, on reading this you will wire me at Ventura your full consent to my marriage with Miss Middleton, I think I can guarantee that your dinner party will be a success."
"I shall be in Ventura till half past four. Should I fail to hear from you by that time, we shall continue our journey toward Los Angeles as fast as our six-cylinders will take us."
"It grieves me more than I can tell you to employ this cavalier method against you, but my softer appeals have been in vain."
"While not a party to the plot, the duke, I find is something of a philosopher; I do not look for any resistance on his part. If he does resist, so much the worse for him."
"Your affectionate son, BLAKELY PORTER."
"P. S. Please do not think that Miss Middleton has any knowledge of this plan. She has not."