“If ye plase, ma’am!” It was the cook.
“What is it?” Miss Van Rolsen spoke sharply.
“If ye plase, I think, ma’am, this Mr. Heatherbloom has taken lave av his senses.”
“Why, what has he been doing?”
“He has, faith, just jumped over the fence into our neighbor’s yard on the corner, and—”
The man on the steps did not wait to hear more; with something that sounded like an imprecation he sprang quickly down to the sidewalk and ran toward the corner.
WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS
As Mr. Heatherbloom prepared to issue from his neighbor’s gate opening on the side street, the feminine voice of one of the servants in the rear of the corner house called out in alarm at sight of the strange figure speeding across their metropolitan imitation of a back yard. If anything were needed to stimulate the fugitive’s footsteps, it was the sound of that voice. He stayed not on the order of his going, but pushing back the heavy bolt—fortunately his egress was not barred by a locked door—he tore open the gate and sprang to the sidewalk. Then without stopping, he ran on, away from the fashionable avenue. The street he traversed like many thoroughfares of its kind was comparatively deserted most of the time; nobody impeded his progress, though one or two people gazed after him from their windows.
He had gone about three-quarters of a block when the window spectators discerned a heavier built figure come lumbering around the corner, apparently in hot pursuit. Mr. Heatherbloom, glancing over his shoulder, also observed this person; his capture and subsequent incarceration seemed inevitable. Already the fugitive was drawing near to busier Fourth Avenue; there he would be obliged to relax his pace; he could not sprint down that thoroughfare without attracting undue attention. Behind, the pursuer called out; he was, however, too short of breath for compelling vocal effect.
Mr. Heatherbloom, on the contrary, had good control of his breathing and was, moreover, yet fresh and physically capable. Which fact made it the more difficult for him to settle down to a forced, albeit sharp walk as he approached the corner, when his gait suddenly accelerated once more.
A street-car had just started not very far from him and Mr. Heatherbloom ran after it. A fine pretext for speed was offered him; as he “let himself go” in the way he had once gone somewhere in the past in a hundred-yards’ dash, he felt joyously conscious both of covering space quickly and that he did so without making himself particularly prominent. Fools who ran after street-cars were born every moment; he was happy to be relegated to that idiotic class by any onlookers. He caught the car while it was going; he didn’t want it to stop for him.