“Thank you. I shall leave Port Agnew—forever. The loss of the Brutus makes my escape possible,” she added ironically.
“May I suggest that you give no intimation of your intention to surrender this property?” he suggested eagerly. “If word of your plan to abandon got abroad, it might create an opportunity for some person to jump the Sawdust Pile and defy us to dispossess him.”
Mr. Daney sought, by this subterfuge, to simulate an interest in the physical possession of the Sawdust Pile which he was far from feeling. He congratulated himself, however, that, all in all, he had carried off his mission wonderfully well, and departed with a promise to bring over the money himself that very afternoon. Indeed, so delighted was he that it was with difficulty that he restrained himself from unburdening to The Laird, when the latter dropped in at the mill office that afternoon, the news that before the week should be out Nan Brent would be but a memory in Port Agnew. Later, he wondered how far from Port Agnew she would settle for a new start in life and whether she would leave a forwarding address. He resolved to ask her, and he did, when he reappeared at the Sawdust Pile that afternoon with the money to reimburse Nan for the loss of the Brutus.
“I haven’t decided where I shall go, Mr. Daney,” Nan informed him truthfully, “except that I shall betake myself some distance from the Pacific Coast—some place where the opportunities for meeting people who know me are nebulous, to say the least. And I shall leave no forwarding address. When I leave Port Agnew”—she looked Mr. Daney squarely in the eyes as she said this—“I shall see to it that no man, woman, or child in Port Agnew—not even Don McKaye or The Laird, who have been most kind to me—shall know where I have gone.”
“I’m sorry matters have so shaped themselves in your life, poor girl, that you’re feeling bitter,” Mr. Daney replied, with genuine sympathy, notwithstanding the fact that he would have been distressed and puzzled had her bitterness been less genuine. In the realization that it was genuine, he had a wild impulse to leap in the air and crack his ankles together for very joy. “Will I be seeing you again, Nan, before you leave?”
“Not unless the spirit moves you, Mr. Daney,” she answered dryly. She had no dislike for Andrew Daney, but, since he was the husband of Mrs. Daney and under that person’s dominion, she distrusted him.
“Well then, I’ll bid you good-by now, Nan,” he announced. “I hope your lot will fall in pleasanter places than Port Agnew. Good-by, my dear girl, and good luck to you—always.”
“Good-by, Mr. Daney,” she replied. “Thank you for bringing the money over.”