II. The request
IV. Dorothea and Mr. Laine
V. The Loss of his best friend
VI. A letter from Dorothea
VII. An afternoon call
VIII. The reception
IX. Dorothea asks questions
X. A Discovery
XI. A chance encounter
XII. Christmas shopping
XIII. Mr. Laine goes shopping alone
XIV. An informal visit
XV. The man who did not know
XVI. A change of plans
XVII. A visit to Virginia
XXI. A visit from Dorothea
Mr. Winthrop Laine threw his gloves on the table, his overcoat on a chair, put his hat on the desk, and then looked down at his shoes.
“Soaking wet,” he said, as if to them. “I swear this weather would ruin a Tapley temper! For two weeks rain and sleet and snow and steam heat to come home to. Hello, General! How are the legs tonight, old man?” Stooping, he patted softly the big, beautiful collie which was trying to welcome him, and gently he lifted the dog’s head and looked in the patient eyes.
“No better? Not even a little bit? I’d take half if I could, General, more than half. It’s hard luck, but it’s worse not to know what to do for you.” He turned his head from the beseeching eyes. “For the love of heaven don’t look at me like that, General, don’t make it—” His breath was drawn in sharply; then, as the dog made effort to bark, to raise his right paw in greeting as of old, he put it down carefully, rang the bell, walked over to the window, and for a moment looked out on the street below.
The gray dullness of a late November afternoon was in the air of New York, and the fast-falling snowflakes so thickened it that the people hurrying this way and that seemed twisted figures of fantastic shapes, wind-blown and bent, and with a shiver Laine came back and again stood by General’s side.
At the door Moses, his man, waited. Laine turned toward him. “Get out some dry clothes and see what’s the matter with the heat. A blind man coming in here would think he’d struck an ice-pond.” He looked around and then at the darkey in front of him. “The Lord gave you a head for the purpose of using it, Moses, but you mistake it at times for an ornament. Zero weather and windows down from the top twelve inches! Has General been in here to-day?”
“No, sir. He been in the kitchen ’most all day. You told me this morning to put fresh air in here and I put, but me and General ain’t been in here since I clean up. He’s been powerful poorly to-day, sir.”
“I see he has.” Laine’s hand went to the dog and rested a moment on his head. “Close up those windows and turn on the lights and see about the heat. This room is almost as cheerful as a morgue at daybreak.”