The old countryman flamed out.
“Run who in?” he demanded. “Do you know who I am, young man?”
“No, I don’t, and I don’t keer a ——.”
“Well, I’m Squire Rawson of Ridgely, and I know more law than a hundred consarned blue-bellied thief-hiders like you. Whoever says I am drunk is a liar. But if I was drunk is that any reason for you to let a thief rob me? What is your name? I’ve a mind to arrest you and run you in myself. I’ve run many a better man in.”
It happened that the officer’s record was not quite clear enough to allow him to take the chance of a contest with so bold an antagonist as the squire of Ridgely. He did not know just who he was, or what he might be able to do. So he was willing to “break even,” and he walked off threatning, but leaving the squire master of the field.
The next day the old man applied to Keith, who placed the matter in Dave Dennison’s hands and persuaded the squire to return home.
Keith was very unhappy over the misunderstanding between Norman and himself. He wrote Norman a letter asking an interview as soon as he returned. But he received no reply. Then, having heard of his return, he went to his office one day to see him.
Yes, Mr. Wentworth was in. Some one was with him, but would Mr. Keith walk in? said the clerk, who knew of the friendship between the two. But Keith sent in his name.
The clerk came out with a surprised look on his face. Mr. Wentworth was “engaged.”
Keith went home and wrote a letter, but his letter was returned unopened, and on it was the indorsement, “Mr. Norman Wentworth declines to hold any communication with Mr. Gordon Keith.”
After this, Keith, growing angry, swore that he would take no further steps.
PHRONY TRIPPER AND THE REV. MR. RIMMON
As Keith stepped from his office one afternoon, he thought he heard his name called—called somewhat timidly. When, however, he turned and glanced around among the hurrying throng that filled the street, he saw no one whom he knew. Men and women were bustling along with that ceaseless haste that always struck him in New York—haste to go, haste to return, haste to hasten: the trade-mark of New York life: the hope of outstripping in the race.
A moment later he was conscious of a woman’s step close behind him. He turned as the woman came up beside him, and faced—Phrony Tripper. She was so worn and bedraggled and aged that for a moment he did not recognize her. Then, as she spoke, he knew her.
“Why, Phrony!” He held out his hand. She seized it almost hungrily.
“Oh, Mr. Keith! Is it really you? I hardly dared hope it was. I have not seen any one I knew for so long—so long!” Her face worked, and she began to whimper; but Keith soothed her.
He drew her away from the crowded thoroughfare into a side street.