“Are you going to take any of the money away with you?” she asked.
“No,” said I, “I don’t think so. It would considerably increase the risk if I were seen hanging about the bank; you know he’s got spies all over the place. Besides, what good would it do? I couldn’t stick to it, and I’m not inclined to run any more risks merely to save the bank’s pocket. The bank hasn’t treated me so well as all that. I propose to rely on your bounty till I’ve time to turn round.”
“Now, shall I come for you?” I asked her when we had arranged the other details.
“I think not,” she said. “I believe the colonel has one of my servants in his pay. I can slip out by myself, but I couldn’t manage so well if you were with me. The sight of you would excite curiosity. I will meet you at the bottom of Liberty Street.”
“At two o’clock in the morning exactly, please. Don’t come through the Piazza, and Liberty Street. Come round by the drive. [This was a sort of boulevard encircling the town, where the aristocracy was wont to ride and drive.] Things ought to be pretty busy about the bank by then, and no one will notice you. You have a revolver?”
“All right. Don’t hurt anyone if you can help it; but if you do, don’t leave him to linger in agony. Now I’m off,” I continued. “I suppose I’d better not come and see you again?”
“I’m afraid you mustn’t, Jack. You’ve been here two hours already.”
“I shall be in my rooms in the afternoon. If anything goes wrong, send your carriage down the street and have it stopped at the grocer’s. I shall take that for a sign.”
The signorina agreed, and we parted tenderly. My last words were:
“You’ll send that message to Whittingham at once?”
“This moment,” she said, as she waved me a kiss from the door of the room.
I WORK UPON HUMAN NATURE.
I was evidently in for another day as unpleasantly exciting as the one I had spent before the revolution, and I reflected sadly that if a man once goes in for things of that kind, it’s none so easy to pull up. Luckily, however, I had several things to occupy me, and was not left to fret the day away in idleness. First I turned my steps to the harbor. As I went I examined my pockets and found a sum total of $950. This was my all, for of late I had deemed it wise to carry my fortune on my person. Well, this was enough for the present; the future must take care of itself. So I thought to myself as I went along with a light heart, my triumph in love easily outweighing all the troubles and dangers that beset me. Only land me safe out of Aureataland with the signorina by my side, and I asked nothing more of fortune! Let the dead bury their dead, and the bank look after its dollars!
Thus musing, I came to the boat-house where my launch lay. She was a tidy little boat, and had the advantage of being workable by one man without any difficulty. All I had to arrange was how to embark in her unperceived. I summoned the boatman in charge, and questioned him closely about the probable state of the weather. He confidently assured me it would be fine but dark.