Esther Wandrell, of Chicago, will be worth millions of dollars.
It is a thought that inspires the young men of all the city with momentous ambitions. Why does she wait so long? Whom does she favor?
To-night the carriages are trolling and rumbling to the great mansion of the Wandrells on Prairie Avenue. The women are positive in their exclamations of reunion, and this undoubted feminine joy exhilarates, and entertains the men. The lights are brilliant, the music is far away and clever, the flowers and decorations are novel.
If you look in the faces of the guests you shall see that the affair cannot fail. Everybody has personally assured the success of the evening.
Many times has this hospitable home opened to its companies of selected men, and women. Often has the beautiful Esther Wandrell smiled upon the young men—upon rich and poor alike. Why is she, at twenty-seven years of age, rich, magnificent and unmarried?
Ask her mother, who married at fifteen. Ask the father, who for ten years worried to think his only child might go away from him at any day.
“I tell you,” says Dr. Tarpion, “Harpwood will get her, and get her to-night. That is what this party is for. I’ve seen them together, and I know what’s in the air.”
“Is that so?” says David Lockwin.
“Yes, it is so, and you know you don’t like Harpwood any too well since he got your primary in the Eleventh.”
“I should say I didn’t!” says Lockwin, half to himself.
At a distance, Esther Wandrell passes on Harpwood’s arm.
“Who is Harpwood?” asks Lockwin.
“I’m blessed if I know,” answers Dr. Tarpion.
“How long has he been in town?”
“Not over two years.”
“Do you know anybody who knows him?”
“He owes me a bill.”
“What was he sick of?”
The man and woman repass. The woman looks toward Lockwin and his dear friend the renowned Dr. Irenaeus Tarpion. Guests speak of Harpwood. His suit is bold. The lady is apparently interested.
“I should not think you would like that?” says the doctor.
“Why should I care, after all?” asks Lockwin.
“Well, if ever I have seen two men whose destinies are hostile, it seems to me that you and Harpwood fill the condition. If he gets into Wandrell’s family you might as well give up politics.”
“Perhaps I might do that anyhow.”
“Well, you are an odd man. I’ll not dispute that. What you will do at any given time I’ll not try to prophesy.”
The twain separate. However, of any two men in Chicago, perhaps David Lockwin and Dr. Tarpion are most agreeable to each other. From boyhood they have been familiar. If one has said to the other, “Do that!” it has been done.