“Well, I suppose he thinks they’ll come in handy when you leave Port Agnew.”
“Well, I’m not going to leave Port Agnew, Andrew.”
“Your father instructed me to say to you that he would take it kindly of you to do so—for obvious reasons.”
“I appreciate his point of view, but since he has kicked me out he has no claim on my sympathies—at least not to the extent of forcing his point of view and causing me to abandon my own. Please say to my father that since I cannot have his forgiveness I do not want his bonds or his money. Tell him also, please, that I’m not going to leave Port Agnew, because that would predicate a sense of guilt on my part and lend some support to the popular assumption that my wife is not a virtuous woman. I could not possibly oblige my father on this point because to do so would be a violent discourtesy to my wife. I am not ashamed of her, you know.”
Mr. Daney gnawed his thumb nail furiously. “’The wicked flee when no man pursueth’,” he quoted. “However, Mr. Donald, you know as well as I do that if your father should forbid it, a dicky bird couldn’t make a living in this town.”
“There are no such restrictions in Darrow, Mr. Daney. The superintendent up there will give me a job on the river.”
Mr. Daney could not forbear an expression of horror. “Hector McKaye’s son a river hog!” he cried incredulously.
“Well, Donald McKaye’s father was a river hog, wasn’t he?”
“Oh, but times have changed since Hector was a pup, my boy. Why, this is dreadful.”
“No, Mr. Daney. Merely unusual.”
“Well, Donald, I think your father will raise the ante considerably in order to avoid that added disgrace and force you to listen to reason.”
“If he does, sir, please spare yourself the trouble of bearing his message. Neither Nan nor I is for sale, sir.”
“I told him you’d decline the bonds. However, Mr. Donald, there is no reason in life why you shouldn’t get money from me whenever you want it. Thanks to your father I’m worth more than a hundred thousand myself, although you’d never guess it. Your credit is A-1 with me.”
“I shall be your debtor for life because of that speech, Mr. Daney. Any news from my mother and the girls?”
“Well, I’ll stand by for results,” Donald assured him gravely.
“Do not expect any.”
Mr. Daney fidgeted and finally said he guessed he’d better be trotting along, and Donald and Nan, realizing it would be no kindness to him to be polite and assure him there was no need of hurry, permitted him to depart forthwith.
“I think, sweetheart,” Donald announced with a pained little smile, as he returned from seeing Mr. Daney to the front gate, “that it wouldn’t be a half bad idea for you to sit in at that old piano and play and sing for me. I think I’d like something light and lilting. What’s that Kipling thing that’s been set to music?”