He leaned toward her, but she waved him away.
“No!” she said, “I am not reminding you of that because I want anything from you, but listen. Supposing I could help you out again? Supposing I could give you something for your paper which would produce the greatest sensation which New York has ever known? Would you promise to realize at any loss, and give it up? Leave America altogether and go to Europe?”
“Yes!” he said, “I think I would promise that.”
She rose to her feet. He approached her a little hesitatingly, but she waved him back.
“No, don’t kiss me, Norris,” she said.
He protested, but she still drew herself away.
“My dear Norris,” she said, “please do not think because I show some interest in your affairs, that you are forced to offer me this sort of payment. There, don’t say anything, because I don’t want to be angry with you. If you knew more about women, you would know that there is nothing one resents so much in the world as affection that is offered in the way that you were offering me your kiss just then. Please come and put me in the elevator. I am going now. You will hear from me in a day or two. I shall write and ask myself to dinner.”
He took her outside and rang the bell for the elevator. They stood for a moment in front of the steel gate.
“I am afraid,” he said quietly, “that in your heart you must think me an ungrateful beast.”
“Yes!” she answered, “I suppose I do! But then all men are ungrateful, and there are worse things even than ingratitude.”
The lift shot up and the door was swung back. There was no time for any further adieux. Norris Vine walked slowly back into his office, with his hands clasped behind his back.
MR. LITTLESON, FLATTERER
Once more a little luncheon was in progress at the corner table in the millionaires’ club. This time Littleson also was of the party. He had been describing his luncheon of the day before to his friends.
“I am dead sure of one thing,” he declared. “She is on our side, and I honestly believe that she means getting that paper.”
“But she hasn’t even the entree to the house now,” Weiss objected.
“There are plenty of the servants there,” Littleson answered, “whom she must know very well, and through whom she could get in, especially if Phineas is really up in his room. I tell you fellows, I truly believe we’ll have that wretched document in our hands by this time to-morrow.”
“The day I see it in ashes,” Bardsley muttered, “I’ll stand you fellows a magnum of Pommery ’92.”
“I wonder,” Weiss remarked, “what sort of terms she is on with her cousin, the little girl with the big eyes.”
“I wish to Heaven one of you could make friends with that child!” Bardsley exclaimed. “I’d give a tidy lot to know whether Phineas Duge lies there on his bed, or whether his hand is on the telephone half the time. You are sure, Littleson, that Dick Losting is in Europe?”