Wickersham looked at him with level eyes.
“You will do it, or I will sell you out,” he said coldly.
“You cannot. You promised to carry that stock for me till I could pay up the margins.”
“Write me that letter, or I will turn you out of your pulpit. You know what will happen if I tell what I know of you.”
The other man’s face turned white.
“You would not be so base.”
Wickersham rose and buttoned up his coat.
“It will be in the papers day after to-morrow.”
“Wait,” gasped Rimmon. “I will see what I can say.” He poured a drink out of the decanter, and gulped it down. Then he seized a pen and a sheet of paper and began to write. He wrote with care.
“Will this do?” he asked tremulously.
“You promise not to use it unless you have to?”
“And to carry the stock for me till it reacts and lets me out?”
“I will make no more promises.”
“But you did promise—,” began Mr. Rimmon.
Wickersham put the letter in his pocket, and taking up his hat, walked out without a word. But his eyes glinted with a curious light.
ALICE LANCASTER FINDS PHRONY
Mr. Rimmon was calling at Mrs. Lancaster’s a few days after his interview with Keith and the day following the interview with Wickersham. Mr. Rimmon called at Mrs. Lancaster’s quite frequently of late. They had known each other a long time, almost ever since Mr. Rimmon had been an acolyte at his uncle Dr. Little’s church, when the stout young man had first discovered the slim, straight figure and pretty face, with its blue eyes and rosy mouth, in one of the best pews, with a richly dressed lady beside her. He had soon learned that this was Miss Alice Yorke, the only daughter of one of the wealthiest men in town. Miss Alice was then very devout: just at the age and stage when she bent particularly low on all the occasions when such bowing is held seemly. And the mind of the young man was not unnaturally affected by her devoutness.
Since then Mr. Rimmon had never quite banished her from his mind, except, of course, during the brief interval when she had been a wife. When she became a widow she resumed her place with renewed power. And of late Mr. Rimmon had begun to have hope.
Now Mr. Rimmon was far from easy in his mind. He knew something of Keith’s attention to Mrs. Lancaster; but it had never occurred to him until lately that he might be successful. Wickersham he had feared at times; but Wickersham’s habits had reassured him. Mrs. Lancaster would hardly marry him. Now, however, he had an uneasy feeling that Keith might injure him, and he called partly to ascertain how the ground lay, and partly to forestall any possible injury Keith might do. To his relief, he found Mrs. Lancaster more cordial than usual. The line of conversation he adopted was quite spiritual, and he felt elevated by it. Mrs. Lancaster also was visibly impressed. Presently she said: “Mr. Rimmon, I want you to do me a favor.”