Only three lines, with the fewest words: not another word, line, mark, or figure on any side of it. The hand was bold and free, and entirely unknown to him. The paper was fine-tinted note, and Bart seemed to catch a faint odor of violets as he opened it; a circumstance which reminded him that a few days before he had found on the grave of his brother, a faded bouquet of flowers. There was perhaps, no connection between them, but they associated themselves in his mind. Some maiden, unknown to him, had cherished the memory of his brother, may have loved him; and had secretly laid this offering on his resting-place. How sweet was the thought to him! Who was she? Would he ever know? She had heard something of this Greer—there was something bad or wrong about him; Henry may have spoken to her about the man; and she may have seen or known of Greer’s taking him home, and had written him this note of warning. The hand was like that of a man, but no man in Ohio would use such paper, scented with violets. How queer and strange it was! and how the mind of the imaginative youth worked and worried, but not unpleasantly, over it! Of course, if the note was from a woman, she must have written because he was Henry’s brother; and it was, in a way, from him, and to be heeded, although Henry had himself been favorably impressed by Greer. The warning was not lost upon him, although it may not have been necessary.
A few days later, the elegant and leisurely Greer made his appearance; and after complimenting Bart upon his success in an easy, roundabout way, approached the subject of his call; and Bart was duly impressed that it arose from considerations of favor and regard to him, that Greer now sought him. The visitor referred to the rule among gentlemen, which Bart must understand, of course, that what he might communicate, as well as their whole interview, must be purely confidential. The agents, he said, were selected with the utmost care, and were usually asked to subscribe articles, and sworn to secrecy; but that he had so much confidence in Bart, that this would not be necessary. Bart, who listened impassively, said that he understood the rule of implied confidence extended only to communications in themselves right and honorable; and that of course Mr. Greer could have no other to make to him. Greer inquired what he meant. Bart said that if a man approached, with or without exacting a pledge of confidence, and made him a proposition strictly honorable, he should of course regard it as sacred; but if he proposed to him to unite in a robbery, house-burning, or to pass counterfeit money, or commit any breach of morality, he should certainly hold himself at liberty to disclose it, if he deemed it necessary. “If I am, in advance, asked to regard a proposed communication as confidential, I should understand, of course, that the proposer impliedly pledged that it should be of a character that a man of honor could listen to and entertain; of course, Mr. Greer, you can have no other to make to me, and you know I would not listen to any other.”