“I’ll write you from Los Angeles,” said she, and became conscious that her last words had been overheard by Mr. Millard. He had seated himself at a table close by, and now glanced up with such an intelligent look that she was sure he had taken in something of the situation.
When the journey through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona was over, and the train slowed into the station at Los Angeles, she had cause to remember this incident, for Millard was on the car steps, just in front of her. He caught up the large dressing-bag which the porter had carried out of her stateroom, and, looking back, said:
“It’s my turn to help you a little now, Mrs. May, since your friend’s going on farther. You’re English, I guess; and if you haven’t got anybody to show you around here, you must let me make myself useful.”
“I would rather the porter took all my luggage, please,” replied Angela, glancing about for her black friend. But doubtless Mr. Millard had claimed authority, and “George” was giving his services to some one else.
“Porter isn’t here. You’d better let me look after you, and get a carriage,” said Millard, whose legitimate business it was to travel for a manufacturing firm.
The train stopped, and he jumped off with Angela’s dressing-bag, but only in time to have it taken in a business-like manner by Nick, who had swung down from his own car while the train was still in motion.
“It just occurred to me you might be giving yourself a little unnecessary trouble,” said he. “I’ll see to this lady.”
“I thought you were going on,” stammered the commercial traveller.
“Not just yet,” Nick spoke mildly, but his eyes looked dangerous, and Mr. Millard thought best to give up the point without further argument.
“I always have to thank you for something! It’s too bad!” laughed Angela, as Nick put her and Kate into a carriage which he had secured. “Good-bye; I suppose it’s fated that I must forgive you, as we shan’t see each other again.”
With this she put out her hand, half friendly, half reluctant, and as Nick shook it eagerly, the train moved away.
Angela gave a little cry. “Now I’ve made you miss your train! And your luggage!”
“I won’t howl about that,” said he. “I’ll wire. And I can get another train by and by—when I want it,” he added under his breath. Then he let the carriage drive away.
THE LAST ACT OF THE GOLD BAG COMEDY
“May I go out, ma’am, and see what they’ll be givin’ me for the gold bag?” Kate asked, when the unpacking—for a few days—was done at a Los Angeles hotel.
This was a sore subject with Angela. She believed that she disliked the bag; but also she disliked having it go out of her life beyond recall. “Think of the money he spent, and the trouble he took!” something seemed to moan in her mind. But with an impersonal air she gave Kate permission, dismissing the past as represented by the Hilliard incident, and plunging into the joy of arranging future motor-cars and trains—a future which was to concern her, and Kate, and Kate’s cat alone, not Mr. Hilliard.