Keith returned home that night. He now and then thought of Lancaster with a little misgiving. It was apparent that Mrs. Yorke was his friend; but, after all, Alice would never think of marrying a gray-haired man. She could not do it.
His father’s pleasure when he told him of the stand he had taken with Mr. Wickersham reassured him.
“You did exactly right, sir; as a gentleman should have done,” he said, as his face lighted up with pride and affection. “Go back and make your own way. Owe no man anything.”
Gordon went back to his little office filled with a determination to succeed. He had now a double motive: he would win Alice Yorke, and he would show Mr. Wickersham who he was. A visit from Squire Rawson not long after he returned gave him new hope. The old man chuckled as he told him that he had had an indirect offer from Wickersham for his land, much larger than he had expected. It had only confirmed him in his determination to hold on.
“If it’s worth that to him,” he said, “it’s worth that to me. We’ll hold on awhile, and let him open a track for us. You look up the lines and keep your eye on ’em. Draw me some pictures of the lands. I reckon Phrony will have a pretty good patrimony before I’m through.” He gave Keith a shrewd glance which, however, that young man did not see.
Not long afterwards Gordon received an invitation to Norman’s wedding. He was to marry Miss Caldwell.
When Gordon read the account of the wedding, with the church “banked with flowers,” and the bridal couple preceded by choristers, chanting, he was as interested as if it had been his brother’s marriage. He tried to picture Alice Yorke in her bridesmaid’s dress, “with the old lace draped over it and the rosebuds festooned about her.”
He glanced around his little room with grim amusement as he thought of the difference it might make to him if he had what Mrs. Yorke had called “an establishment.” He would yet be Keith of Elphinstone.
One fact related disturbed him. Ferdy Wickersham was one of the ushers, and it was stated that he and Miss Yorke made a handsome couple.
Norman had long ago forgotten Ferdy’s unfriendly action at college, and wishing to bury all animosities and start his new life at peace with the whole world, he invited Ferdy to be one of his ushers, and Ferdy, for his own reasons, accepted. Ferdy Wickersham was now one of the most talked-of young men in New York. He had fulfilled the promise of his youth at least in one way, for he was one of the handsomest men in the State. Mrs. Wickersham, in whose heart defeat rankled, vowed that she would never bow so low as to be an usher at that wedding. But her son was of a deeper nature. He declared that he was “abundantly able to manage his own affairs.”