“That I will do!” the man at last declares. He is maddened. He cares nothing for reputation. He cannot bear the thought that Dr. Tarpion, an old friend, should day by day burn the epistles that evinced so much scholarship, charity and sympathy. The lover is not poor. No man with $7,000 in his pocket is poor. He is not driven back to Esther by want, as it was before. That stings the man to recall it. No, he has means. But if he were poor, he would work for the dear lady who loved him so secretly. He gloats over the letter of Esther. It is worn in pieces now, like so many cards. The train from New York enters the city of Chicago.
“That is the new David Lockwin Hospital,” says a passenger.
“Why did I blunder in on this road?” the lover asks. He had not thought his situation so terrible as it seemed just now.
“I am doubtless the sorriest knave that ever lived here,” he mourns, but it only increases his determination to go directly to Esther.
“I guess Dr. Tarpion will not throw me in the waste-basket! Seven thousand dollars!”
David Lockwin feels as rich as Corkey.
It is a mad thing he is doing, this pulling of the door-bell at the old home. The balcony is overhead. Never mind little Davy! We can live without him, but we cannot live without Esther. Ah that Tarpion! that base Tarpion! Probably he intends to marry her! It is none too soon to pull this bell. Now David Lockwin will enter, never to be driven forth. He will enter among his books. Never mind his books. It is she, SHE, SHE! Till death part them SHE is his. It is the seven thousand dollars that gives him this lion-like courage. Esther needs him. He has come.
The door opens. A pleasant-faced lady appears.
“Call Mrs. Lockwin, please.”
“Mrs. Lockwin? Oh, yes. I believe she did live here. I do not know where she lives now, but it is on Prairie avenue. After her father died she went home to live.”
Is Judge Wandrell dead? The caller is adding together the mills, pineries, elevators, hotels, steamers, steel mills, quarries and railroads that Judge Wandrell owned on the great lakes.
The pleasant-faced lady thinks her caller ought to go.
He is angry at her. He shows it. He blames her as much as he does Tarpion. He retreats reluctantly. A stranger is in possession of the home of David Lockwin.
He was foolhardy a moment before. He is timid now.
He was rich. He has seven thousand. Esther is rich. She has five millions.
A GOOD SCHEME
The absence of love ruined David Lockwin. Love built Chicago. Love erected the David Lockwin Hospital. Love supports David Lockwin. He is a man to be pitied from the depths of the heart. Love makes him happy.