“They talk about the sin of selling negroes,” he said; “that is as very a sale as ever took place at a slave-auction.”
For a time he plunged into the gayest life that Gumbolt offered. He even began to visit Terpsichore. But this was not for long. Mr. Plume’s congratulations were too distasteful to him for him to stomach them; and Terpy began to show her partiality too plainly for him to take advantage of it. Besides, after all, though Alice Yorke had failed him, it was treason to the ideal he had so long carried in his heart. This still remained to him.
He went back to his work, resolved to tear from his heart all memory of Alice Yorke. She was married and forever beyond his dreams. If he had worked before with enthusiasm, he now worked with fury. Mr. Lancaster, as wealthy as he was, as completely equipped with all that success could give, lacked one thing that Keith possessed: he lacked the promise of the Future. Keith would show these Yorkes who he was.
KEITH VISITS NEW YORK, AND MRS. LANCASTER SEES A GHOST
For the next year or two the tide set in very strong toward the mountains, and New Leeds advanced with giant strides. What had been a straggling village a year or two before was now a town, and was beginning to put on the airs of a city. Brick buildings quite as pretentious as the town were springing up where a year before there were unsightly frame boxes; the roads where hogs had wallowed in mire not wholly of their own kneading were becoming well-paved streets. Out on the heights, where had been a forest, were sprinkled sightly dwellings in pretty yards. The smoke of panting engines rose where but a few years back old Tim Gilsey drew rein over his steaming horses. Pretty girls and well-dressed women began to parade the sidewalks where formerly Terpsichore’s skirts were the only feminine attire seen. And “Gordon Keith, civil and mining engineer,” with his straight figure and tanned, manly face, was not ignored by them. But locked in his heart was the memory of the girl he had found in the Spring woods. She was forever beyond him; but he still clung to the picture he had enshrined there.
When he saw Dr. Balsam, no reference was made to the verification of the latter’s prophecy; but the young man knew from the kind tone in the older man’s voice that he had heard of it. Meantime Keith had not been idle. Surveys and plats had been made, and everything done to facilitate placing the Rawson properties on the market.
When old man Rawson came to New Leeds now, he made Keith’s little office his headquarters, and much quaint philosophy Keith learned from him.
“I reckon it’s about time to try our cattle in the New York market,” he said at length to Keith. It was a joke he never gave up. “You go up there and look around, and if you have any trouble send for me.”