“I’ll burn that female wipe right now!” he says.
The stove is for soft coal and stands open. Corkey advances to toss the handkerchief in the fire.
His eyes meet the crooked and quizzical orbs of the mascot.
“You mourning-colored moke!”
There is a huge threat in the deliverance.
The hook-like finger tears the black tobacco out of the choking mouth. The great quid is thrown in the fire. The proposed motion is made, and the handkerchief is not burned. Down it goes in the hip pocket beside Corkey’s revolver, out of harm’s way.
Corkey started to throw something in the fire, and has kept to his purpose.
“Yessah!” says the mascot, sagaciously.
“Bet your black life!” vows Corkey, as if great things hung by it.
He looks with renewed affection on his protege. “I git you into the league nine, sure, Noey!”
It is plain that the mascot will preserve an admirable reticence.
“TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD.—This sum of money will be paid for the recovery of the body of the Hon. David Lockwin, lost in Georgian Bay the morning of Oct. 17. When last seen the body was afloat in the yawl of the propeller Africa, off Cape Croker. For full particulars and suggestions, address H. M. H. Wandrell, Chicago, Ill.”
This advertisement may be seen everywhere. It increases the public excitement attending the death of the people’s idol. There is a ferment of the whole body politic.
Of all the popular pastors who turn the catastrophe to their account the famous preacher at Esther Lockwin’s church makes the most of it. To a vast gathering of the devout and the curious he dwells upon the uncertainties of life. Here, indeed, was a Chicagoan who but yesterday was almost certain to be President of the United States.
“Now his beloved body, my dear brethren and fellow-citizens, lies buried in the sands of an unfrequented sea.”
There is suppressed emotion.
“And as for man,” chants the harmonious choir, “his days are as grass.”
“As a flower of the field,” sounds the bass.
“So he flourisheth,” answers the soft alto.
“For the wind passeth over it,” sings the tenor.
“And it is gone,” proclaims the treble.
“And the place thereof shall know it no more,” breathes the full choir, preparing to shout that the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him.
It is found that Lockwin had hosts of friends. There is so much inquiry on account of that strange journey to Owen Sound that the political boss is grievously disturbed.
Corkey is not blind to this general uneasiness. He reads the posters and the advertisements. He whistles. It is a sum of money worthy of deep consideration.