The patient turns away from Corkey. The oldest wounds sting like a hive of hornets.
“Well, you ought to see the office she give me! She rip and stave and tear! She talk of political slander, and libel, and disgrace, and all that. She rise up big right afore me, and come nigh swearing she would kill such a David Lockwin on sight. There wasn’t no such a David Lockwin at all. Her husband was a nobleman. She wished I was fit to black his boots—do you mind?—and you bet your sweet life I was gitting pretty hot myself!”
The thought of it sets Corkey coughing. A thousand wounds are piercing David Lockwin, yet he does not lose a word.
“Then she cool off a considerable, and ask me for to excuse her. ’Oh, it is all right,’ says I, a little tart. ‘That will be all right.’
“Then she fall right on her knees, and pray to David Lockwin to forgive her for even thinking he isn’t dead.
“Now it was only Wednesday that a duck in this town knocked me out at the primaries—played the identical West Side car-barn game on me! Yes, sir, fetched over 500 street-sweepers to my primaries—machine candidate and all that—oh! he’s a jim-dandy!”
“I’m sorry for you, Corkey,” the wretched husband says, and thus escapes for a moment from his own terror.
“Yes, it was bad medicine. So I wasn’t taking much off anybody. I gets up pretty stiff—this way, and says: ’Good day, Mrs. Lockwin. I guess I can’t be no more use to you, nohow.’ And just as I was pulling my hat off the peg there comes the very duck that knocked me out—right there! And she chipper to him as sweet as if David Lockwin had been dead twenty years. And he as sweet on her, and right before me! Ugh!”
“Weren’t you mistaken, Corkey!” feebly asks the man in the bandages.
“Wasn’t I mistaken? Oh, yes! I suppose I can’t tell a pair that wants to bite each other! She that was a giving me the limit a minute before was as cunning as a kitten to that rooster. Ugh! it makes me ill!”
“Who is he?” asks David Lockwin.
“He’s Mister George Harpwood,” cries Corkey bitterly, “and if he aint no snooker, then you needn’t tell me I ever see one!”
HAPPINESS AND PEACE
Esther Lockwin looks upon George Harpwood as her savior.
“I wanted to be happy,” she smiles. “I did not believe I could exist in that desolate state. You came to me! You came to me!”
“Emerson declares that all men honor love because it looks up, not down; aspires, not despairs,” says Harpwood. The friend of Esther’s widowhood has quoted to her nearly every consolatory remark of the philosophers.
“Shall we live here?” she asks, willing to go to Sahara.
“Certainly. Here I have the best future. You are a helpful soul, Esther. I shall rely upon you.”