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fugitives several miles, overtaking and killing a few whose

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"Whenever you say," I told him.

fugitives several miles, overtaking and killing a few whose

"Weather permitting, of course. But I hope that it will; for after that I suppose my time will not be quite so free."

fugitives several miles, overtaking and killing a few whose

After we had parted it struck me that this was the first reference to his approaching marriage that John had ever made in my hearing since that day long ago (it seemed long ago, at least) when he had come to the Exchange to order the wedding-cake, and Eliza La Heu had fallen in love with him at sight. That, in my opinion, looking back now with eyes at any rate partially opened, was what Eliza had done. Had John returned the compliment then, or since?

fugitives several miles, overtaking and killing a few whose

It was to me continuously a matter of satisfaction and of interest to see Hortense disturbed--whether for causes real or imaginary--about the security of her title to her lover John, nor can I say that my misinterpreted bunch of roses diminished this satisfaction. I should have been glad to know if the accomplished young woman had further probed that question and discovered the truth, but it seemed scarce likely that she could do this without the help of one of three persons, Eliza and myself who knew all, or John who knew nothing; for the up-country bride, and whatever other people in Kings Port there were to whom the bride might gayly recite the tale of my roses, were none of them likely to encounter Miss Rieppe; their paths and hers would not meet until they met in church at the wedding of Hortense and John. No, she could not have found out the truth; for never in the world would she, at this eleventh hour, risk a conversation with John upon a subject so full of well-packed explosives; and so she must be simply keeping on both him and Eliza an eye as watchful as lay in her power. As for Charley, what bait, what persuasion, what duress she had been able to find that took him at an hour so critical from her side to New York, I could not in the least conjecture. Had she said to the little banker, Go, because I must think it over alone? It did not seem strong enough. Or had she said, Go, and on your return you shall have my answer? Not adequate either, I thought. Or had it been, If you don't go, it shall be "no," to-day and forever? This last was better; but there was no telling, nor did Beverly Rodgers, to whom I propounded all my theories, have any notion of what was between Hortense and Charley. He only knew that Charley was quite aware of the existence of John, but had always been merely amused at the notion of him.

"So have you been merely amused," I reminded him.

"Not since that look I saw her give him, old chap. I know she wants him, only not why she wants him. And Charley, you know--well, of course, poor Charley's a banker, just a banker and no more; and a banker is merely the ace in the same pack where the drummer is the two-spot. Our American civilization should be called Drummer's Delight--and there's nothing in your fire-eater to delight a drummer: he's a gentleman, he'll be only so-so rich, and he's away back out of the lime-light, while poor old Charley's a bounder, and worth forty millions anyhow, and right in the centre of the glare. How should he see any danger in John?"

"I wonder if he hasn't begun to?"

"Well, perhaps. He and Hortense have been 'talking business'; I know that. Oh--and why do you think she said he must go to New York? To make a better deal for the fire-eater's phosphates than his fuddling old trustee here was going to close with. Charley said that could be arranged by telegram. But she made him go himself! She's extraordinary. He'll arrive in town to-morrow, he'll leave next day, he'll reach here by the Southern on Saturday night in time for our Sunday yacht picnic, and then something has got to happen, I should think."

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