22. Chapter XXII.
A party for the Blenkers--the Blenkers?"
Mr. Welland laid down his knife and fork and
looked anxiously and incredulously across the luncheon-table at his wife, who, adjusting her gold eye-glasses,
read aloud, in the tone of high comedy: "Professor and
Mrs. Emerson Sillerton request the pleasure of Mr. and
Mrs. Welland's company at the meeting of the Wednesday
Afternoon Club on August 25th at 3 o'clock
punctually. To meet Mrs. and the Misses Blenker.
"Red Gables, Catherine Street. R. S. V. P."
"Good gracious--" Mr. Welland gasped, as if a second
reading had been necessary to bring the monstrous
absurdity of the thing home to him.
"Poor Amy Sillerton--you never can tell what her
husband will do next," Mrs. Welland sighed. "I suppose
he's just discovered the Blenkers."
Professor Emerson Sillerton was a thorn in the side
of Newport society; and a thorn that could not be
plucked out, for it grew on a venerable and venerated
family tree. He was, as people said, a man who had
had "every advantage." His father was Sillerton Jackson's
uncle, his mother a Pennilow of Boston; on each
side there was wealth and position, and mutual
suitability. Nothing--as Mrs. Welland had often remarked--
nothing on earth obliged Emerson Sillerton to be an
archaeologist, or indeed a Professor of any sort, or to
live in Newport in winter, or do any of the other
revolutionary things that he did. But at least, if he was
going to break with tradition and flout society in the
face, he need not have married poor Amy Dagonet,
who had a right to expect "something different," and
money enough to keep her own carriage.
No one in the Mingott set could understand why
Amy Sillerton had submitted so tamely to the eccentricities
of a husband who filled the house with long-haired men and short-haired women, and, when he
travelled, took her to explore tombs in Yucatan instead
of going to Paris or Italy. But there they were, set in
their ways, and apparently unaware that they were
different from other people; and when they gave one of
their dreary annual garden-parties every family on the
Cliffs, because of the Sillerton-Pennilow-Dagonet
connection, had to draw lots and send an unwilling