“Number one eighty-five Madison Avenue, Noo Yorrk City,” Dirty Dan replied promptly. “More I do not know. Am I on the pay-roll agin?”
“You bet! I’ll pick out a good job for you as soon as I find time to think about it.”
“Could I have a dollar or two in advance—” the wanderer began, as Daney hastened toward the door.
“Certainly.” The door slammed, and Dirty Dan could hear the general manager shouting in the general office. “Dirty Dan is back. Give him some money.”
Mr. O’Leary sighed contentedly.
“Oh-ho, ’tis the great life we live,” he murmured, and hastened outside to present himself at the cashier’s window, while Andrew Daney continued on to the Tyee Lumber Company’s hospital, tiptoed down the corridor to the room where the young Laird of Port Agnew lay dying, and rapped lightly on the door. A nurse came out and closed the door after her.
“Well?” Daney demanded.
“No change. His temperature fell two degrees during the night and he slept a little, but the fever is up again this morning, and he’s raving again. Any news at your end?”
“Yes. I have the girl’s address. She’s in New York. Is his father inside?”
“Ask him to step into the reception room for a few minutes, please.”
The Laird appeared promptly in response to this message, and the two men walked slowly down the hall to the reception-room. Daney closed the door and resolutely faced The Laird.
“The doctors and the nurses tell me things, sir, they’re afraid to tell you,” he began. “Ordinarily, the boy should be able to fight this thing through successfully, for he has a splendid body and a lot of resistance, but the fact of the matter is, he isn’t trying. He doesn’t want to get well.”
The Laird’s face went white.
“They believe this?” he cried sharply.
“They do. His subconscious mind clings to the memory of his loss. He keeps calling for her in his delirium, doesn’t he? Now that he is assured she has dropped out of his life forever, he doesn’t give a snap whether school keeps or not—and the doctors cannot cure him. If the girl were here—well, she might. Her very presence would bring about a strong mental and physical reaction—” He paused a moment. Then, “I know where she can be found.”
The Laird raised his haggard face and though his stern gray eyes were dull with agony, yet Daney saw in them the light of an unfaltering resolution.
“I have left my son’s honor and his life in the hands of God Almighty. I have made my bed and I’ll lie in it,” he panted.
“But if the boy should die—”
“Rather that than—than—”
“But you’re not going to take a chance on his pulling through, in the face of the advice of the doctors that only the girl’s presence can stimulate him to a desire to live. I tell you, Hector McKaye, man, he’s dying because he is not interested in living.”