Windy McPherson's Son HTML version

Sue Rainey had long touched the fancy of the youths of Chicago society who, while
looking at her trim little figure and at the respectable size of the fortune behind it, were
yet puzzled and disconcerted by her attitude toward themselves. On the wide porches at
golf clubs, where young men in white trousers lounged and smoked cigarettes, and in the
down-town clubs, where the same young men spent winter afternoons playing Kelly pool,
they spoke of her, calling her an enigma. "She'll end by being an old maid," they
declared, and shook their heads at the thought of so good a connection dangling loosely
in the air just without their reach. From time to time, one of the young men tore himself
loose from the group that contemplated her, and, with an opening volley of books, candy,
flowers and invitations to theatres, charged down upon her, only to have the youthful
ardour of his attack cooled by her prolonged attitude of indifference. When she was
twenty-one, a young English cavalry officer, who came to Chicago to ride in the horse
show had, for some weeks, been seen much in her company and a report of their
engagement had been whispered through the town and talked of about the nineteenth hole
at the country clubs. The rumour proved to be without foundation, the attraction to the
cavalry officer having been a certain brand of rare old wine the colonel had stored in his
cellar and a feeling of brotherhood with the swaggering old gun maker, rather than the
colonel's quiet little daughter.
After the beginning of his acquaintanceship with her, and all during the days when he
stirred things up in the offices and shops of the gun company, tales of the assiduous and
often needy young men who were camped on her trail reached Sam's ears. They would be
in at the office to see and talk with the colonel, who had several times confided to Sam
that his daughter Sue was already past the age at which right-minded young women
should marry, and in the absence of the father two or three of them had formed a habit of
stopping for a word with Sam, whom they had met through the colonel or Jack Prince.
They declared that they were "squaring themselves with the colonel." Not a difficult thing
to do, Sam thought, as he drank the wine, smoked the cigars, and ate the dinners of all
without prejudice. Once, at luncheon, Colonel Tom discussed these young men with Sam,
pounding on a table so that the glasses jumped about, and calling them damned upstarts.
For his own part, Sam did not feel that he knew Sue Rainey, and although, after their first
meeting one evening at the Rainey house, he had been pricked by a mild curiosity
concerning her, no opportunity to satisfy it had presented itself. He knew that she was
athletic, travelled much, rode, shot, and sailed a boat; and he had heard Jack Prince speak
of her as a woman of brains, but, until the incident of the colonel and Luella London
threw them for the moment into the same enterprise and started him thinking of her with
real interest, he had seen and talked with her for but brief passing moments brought about
by their mutual interest in the affairs of her father.
After Janet Eberly's sudden death, and while he was yet in the midst of his grief at her
loss, Sam had his first long talk with Sue Rainey. It was in Colonel Tom's office, and
Sam, walking hurriedly in, found her sitting at the colonel's desk and staring out of the