“Yes, sir; but he’s free, white, and twenty-one, and he’s my superior. I prefer not to discuss his movements.”
“Andrew, I command you to.”
“I refuse to be commanded, sir.”
“That’s all I wanted to know. He visited the Brents, and you know it.” He saw by the flush on Daney’s old face that he had hit the mark. “Well, I’m obliged to you, Andrew. You’ve done your full duty; so we’ll not discuss the matter further. The situation will develop in time, and, meanwhile, I’ll not spy on my boy. I wonder if that Darrow gang will talk.”
“I imagine not, sir—that is, if Dirty Dan keeps his own counsel. They will fear prosecution if Dan dies; so they will be silent awaiting the outcome of his injuries. If he lives, they will still remain silent, awaiting his next move. Dan will probably admit having been jumped in the dark by three unknown men and that he defended himself vigorously; he can fail to identify the Greeks, and the Greeks cannot do less than fail to identify Dirty Dan, who can plead self-defense if the coroner’s jury delves too deeply into the mulatto’s death. I imagine they will not. At any rate, it’s up to Dan whether Donald figures in the case or not, and Dan will die before he’ll betray the confidence.”
“That’s comforting,” The Laird replied. “Will you be good enough to drive me home to The Dreamerie, Andrew?”
At The Dreamerie, old Hector discovered that his son had left the house early in the afternoon, saying he would not be home for dinner. So The Laird sat him down and smoked and gazed out across the Bight of Tyee until sunset, when, a vague curiosity possessing him, he looked down to the Sawdust Pile and observed that the flag still flew from the cupola. The night shadows gathered, but still the flag did not come down; and presently round The Laird’s grim mouth a little prescient smile appeared, with something of pain in it.
“Dining out at Brent’s,” he soliloquized, “and they’re so taken up with each other they’ve forgotten the flag. I do not remember that the Brent girl ever forgot it before. She loves him.”
Following his parting with Nan Brent on Saturday night, Donald McKaye went directly to the mill office, in front of which his car was parked, entered the car, and drove home to The Dreamerie, quite oblivious of the fact that he was not the only man in Port Agnew who had spent an interesting and exciting evening. So thoroughly mixed were his emotions that he was not quite certain whether he was profoundly happy or incurably wretched. When he gave way to rejoicing in his new-found love, straightway he was assailed by a realization of the barriers to his happiness—a truly masculine recognition of the terrible bar sinister to Nan’s perfect wifehood induced a veritable shriveling of his soul, a mental agony all the more intense because it was the first unhappiness he had ever experienced.