As he swung north and westward, day by day, on the long hike toward Niagara, the memory of the girl went with him, and hour by hour bore him company.
He was not forgetting. Could he forget? Strive as he might, to thrust her out of his heart and soul, she still indwelt there.
Not all his philosophy, nor all his realization that this woman he had saved, this woman who had lain in his two arms and mingled her breath with his, belonged to another and an alien class, could banish her.
And as he strode along, swinging his knotted stick at the daisies and pondering on all that might have been and now could never be, a sudden, passionate longing burst over him, as a long sea-roller, hurled against a cliff, flings upward in vast tourbillions of spume.
Raising his face to the summer sky, his bare head high with emotion and his eyes wide with the thought of strange possibilities that shook and intoxicated him, he cried:
“Oh—would God she were an orphan and an outcast! Would God she had no penny in this world to call her own!”
FLINT AND WALDRON PLAN.
“Tiger” Waldron’s interview with old man Flint, regarding Catherine’s breaking of the engagement, was particularly electric. Promptly at the appointed hour, Waldron appeared, shook hands with the older man, sat down and lighted a cigar, then proceeded to business.
“Flint,” said he, without any ado, “I’ve come here to tell you some very unpleasant news and to ask your help. Can you stand the one, and give me the other?”
The Billionaire looked at him through his pince-nez, poised on that vulture-beak, with some astonishment. Then he smiled nervously, showing his gleaming tooth of gold, and answered:
“Yes, I guess so. What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong? Everything! Catherine has broken our engagement!”
For a moment old Flint sat there motionless and staring. Then, moving his head forward with a peculiar, pecking twitch that still further enhanced his likeness to a buzzard, he stammered:
“I mean just what I say. Your daughter has severed the betrothal. Haven’t you noticed my ring was gone from her finger?”
“Gone? Bless my soul, no—that is, yes—maybe. I don’t know. But—but at any rate, I thought nothing of it. So then, you say—she’s broken it off? But, why? And when? And—and tell me, Wally, what’s it all about?”
“Listen, and I will tell you,” Tiger answered. “And I’ll give it to you straight. I’m partly at fault. Mostly so, it may be. Let me assume all the blame, at any rate. I’m not sparing myself and have no intention of doing so. My conduct, I admit, was beastly. No excuses offered. All I want to do, now, is to make the amende honorable, be forgiven, and have the former status resumed.”