“Yes, I am quite satisfied with the job,” said Oscar.
“And after you have reached the place and settled yourself you will tell the postmaster and telegraph operator who you are and where you may be found, so that messages may reach you promptly. If you get an unsigned message advising you of—let me consider—a shipment of steers, you may expect me any hour. On the other hand, you may not see me at all. We’ll consider that our agreement lasts until the first snow flies next winter. You are a soldier. There need be no further discussion of this matter, Oscar.”
The man nodded gravely.
“And it is well for you not to reappear in this hotel. If you should be questioned on leaving here—”
“I have not been, here—is it not?”
“It is,” replied Armitage, smiling. “You read and write English?”
“Yes; one must, to serve in the army.”
“If you should see a big Servian with a neck like a bull and a head the size of a pea, who speaks very bad German, you will do well to keep out of his way,—unless you find a good place to tie him up. I advise you not to commit murder without special orders,—do you understand?”
“It is the custom of the country,” assented Oscar, in a tone of deep regret.
“To be sure,” laughed Armitage; “and now I am going to give you money enough to carry out the project I have indicated.”
He took from his trunk a long bill-book, counted out twenty new one-hundred-dollar bills and threw them on the table.
“It is much money,” observed Oscar, counting the bills laboriously.
“It will be enough for your purposes. You can’t spend much money up there if you try. Bacon—perhaps eggs; a cow may be necessary,—who can tell without trying it? Don’t write me any letters or telegrams, and forget that you have seen me if you don’t hear from me again.”
He went to the elevator and rode down to the office with Oscar and dismissed him carelessly. Then John Armitage bought an armful of magazines and newspapers and returned to his room, quite like any traveler taking the comforts of his inn.
THE TOSS OF A NAPKIN
As music and splendor
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
The heart’s echoes render
No song when the spirit is mute—
No songs but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruined cell,
Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman’s knell.
Captain Richard Claiborne gave a supper at the Army and Navy Club for ten men in honor of the newly-arrived military attache of the Spanish legation. He had drawn his guests largely from his foreign acquaintances in Washington because the Spaniard spoke little English; and Dick knew Washington well enough to understand that while a girl and a man who speak different languages may sit comfortably together at table, men in like