“I have tried to explain to him how it will needlessly embarrass the Senator and spoil his own future. He won’t believe me. He won’t believe your brother. Perhaps you can make it clear.”
At last Carolina nerved herself to speak.
“You had better not go to my father, Mr. Haines. It will do no good. He—is—in—the deal! You must believe me when I tell you so.”
The girl took her eyes from the secretary. He was plainly suffering.
CAROLINA LANGDON’S ADVICE
“Let me speak to Mr. Haines alone,” said Carolina to Norton and her brother.
Norton turned a triumphant grin at Randolph as he beckoned him out and whispered: “Leave him to her. It’s all right. That New York dude has been riding for a fall—he’s going to get it now.”
“I am sorry, so sorry this should have occurred, Mr. Haines,” Carolina said gently.
The secretary looked up slowly, his face drawn. It was an effort for him to speak.
“I can’t understand it,” he said. “I mightn’t have thought so much of this a month ago, but I have come to love the Senator almost as a son, and to think that he could be like the rest of that bunch is awful.”
“You are too much of an idealist, Mr. Haines,” said the girl.
“And you? What do you think of it?” he demanded.
The girl’s glance wavered.
“Don’t idealize me too much, either, Mr. Haines. I didn’t think it was much. Perhaps I don’t understand business any too well.”
“But you see now?” insisted the man.
The girl looked up at him sorrowfully.
“Yes; I see at least that you and father can never work together now.”
Haines nodded affirmatively.
“I suppose so. I’m thinking of that. How am I to leave him? We’ve been so close. I’ve been so fond of him. I don’t know how I could tell him.”
In girlish, friendly fashion Carolina rested her hand on his arm.
“Won’t you take my advice, Mr. Haines? Go away without seeing him. Just leave a note to say you have gone. He will understand. It will be easier for both that way—easier for him, easier for you.” She paused, looking at him appealingly as she ended very softly, “And easier for me, Mr. Haines.”
He looked at her thoughtfully.
“Easier for you?” he said. “Very well, I’ll do it that way.”
The secretary stepped slowly to his desk, sat down and started to write the note. Carolina watched him curiously.
“What will you do,” she asked, “now that you have given up this position?”
“Oh, I can always go back to newspaper work,” he answered without looking up.
The term “newspaper work” gave Carolina a shock. She had forgotten that this man had been a reporter. Here he was turned loose with the knowledge of this “deal,” which she knew would be popular material for newspapers to print. She must gain still another point, and she felt that she had enough power to win against him.