“I doubt that motive.”
“Never mind the motive. Do, man, do! and don’t puke. Leave Eugene to lounge through life. He does it nicely. You’re made for more.”
Stafford looked up at him as he laid a hand on his shoulder.
“It’s all misery,” he said.
“Now, yes. But not always.”
“And it’s not what I meant.”
“No, you meant to be a saint. Many of us do.”
“I feel what you mean, but I have scruples.”
Ayre looked at him curiously.
“You’re not a man of scruples really,” he said; “you’ll get over them.”
“Is that a compliment?”
“Depends on whom you ask. You’ll think of it? Think of what you might do and be. Now, I’m off.”
Stafford rose to show him out.
“I’m not sure whether I ought to thank you,” he said.
“You will think of it?”
“And you won’t kill yourself without seeing me again?”
“You were afraid of that?”
“Yes. Was I wrong?”
“You won’t, then, without seeing me again?”
“No; I promise.”
Ayre found his way downstairs, and into the street.
“It will work,” he said to himself. “If the Humane Society did its duty, I should have a gold medal. I have saved a life to-night—and a life worth saving.”
And Stafford, instead of going to bed, sat in his chair again, pondering the new things in his heart.
Some People are as Fortunate as They Deserve to be.
Eugene Lane had been rather puzzled by Claudia’s latest proceedings. On the morrow of her interview with Stafford he had received from her an incoherent note, in which she took great blame to herself for “this unhappy occurrence,” and intimated that it would be long before she could bear to discuss any question pending between herself and her correspondent. Eugene was not disposed to acquiesce in this decision. He had done as much as honor and friendship demanded, and saw no reason why his own happiness should be longer delayed; for he had little doubt that Stafford’s rebuff meant his own success. He could not, however, persist in seeking Claudia after her declaration of unwillingness to be sought; and he departed from Territon Park in some degree of dudgeon. All this sort of thing seemed to him to have a touch of the theater about it. But Claudia took it seriously; she did not forbid him to write to her, but she answered none of his letters, and Lord Rickmansworth, whom he encountered at one of the October race-meetings, gave him to understand that she was living a life of seclusion at Territon Park. Rickmansworth openly scoffed at this behavior, and Eugene did not know whether to be pleased at finding his views agreed with, or angry at hearing his mistress’s whims treated with fraternal disrespect. Ultimately, he found himself,