No one was surprised when in the autumn he resigned from his firm. There had been friction between the partners for some time. Soon afterward he and Rose sailed for Italy, where they have lived ever since. He had scarcely any income except that which he made in his profession; his capital had gone to Anne. He probably thought that what he had would go further abroad.
I do not know just how Anne took his departure, except that I am sure she was wonderful about it. I had ceased to see her. She has, however, any number of new friends, whose fresh interest in her story keeps it continually alive. She has given up her ugly flat and taken a nice little house, and in summer I notice she has red geraniums in the window boxes. I often see a nice little motor standing before her door—the result doubtless of a year’s economy.
Whenever her friends congratulate her on the improvement in her finances she says she owes it all to me—I am such an excellent man of business.
“I admire Walter so much,” I am told she says, “though I’m afraid I have lost him as a friend. But then, in the last few years I have lost so much.” And she smiles that brave sad smile of hers.
BY WILLIAM DUDLEY PELLEY
From The Red Book
At nine o’clock this morning Sheriff Crumpett entered our New England town post-office for his mail. From his box he extracted his monthly Grand Army paper and a letter in a long yellow envelope. This envelope bore the return-stamp of a prominent Boston lumber-company. The old man crossed the lobby to the writing-shelf under the Western Union clock, hooked black-rimmed glasses on a big nose and tore a generous inch from the end of the envelope.
The first inclosure which met his eyes was a check. It was heavy and pink and crisp, and was attached to the single sheet of letter-paper with a clip. Impressed into the fabric of the safety-paper were the indelible figures of a protector: Not over Five Thousand ($5000) Dollars.
The sheriff read the name of the person to whom it was payable and gulped. His gnarled old hand trembled with excitement as he glanced over the clipped letter and then went through it again.
November 10, 1919.
MY DEAR SHERIFF:
Enclosed please find my personal check
for five thousand dollars.
It is made out to Mrs. McBride. Never having known the lady
and because you have evidently represented her with the authorities,
I am sending it to you for proper delivery. I feel, from your
enthusiastic account of her recent experience, that it will give
pleasure to present it to her.