She had experienced sharp alternations of pity and apprehension in this brief walk. He was a prominent man; almost, it might be said, a notorious character. The instinct of self-protection was strong in her; what might lie behind his confidences, his blunt confessions, and his offer of help, she did not know. They had reached Elizabeth House, and she paused on the broad steps under the shelter of the veranda. With her back toward the door she looked down upon him as he stood on the sidewalk, his umbrella deeply shadowing his head and shoulders. She stood before him like a vestal guarding her temple from desecration. She was conscious of a sharp revulsion of feeling, and a sudden fierce anger burned in her heart. She spoke with a quick, passionate utterance.
“There is something you can do for me, Mr. Bassett. I’m going to bring Rose Farrell back to this house. I want you to let her alone!”
He stood dumbly staring at the door as it closed upon her. He lingered a moment, the rain beating down upon him, and then walked slowly homeward.
“Is it possible? Is it possible!”
Colonel Ramsay’s entrances were frequently a bit theatrical, and on a particular afternoon in April, as he opened the door of Dan Harwood’s new office in the Law Building, the sight of Miss Farrell at the typewriter moved him to characteristic demonstrations. Carefully closing the door and advancing, hat in hand, with every appearance of deepest humility, he gazed upon the young woman with a mockery of astonishment.
“Verily, it is possible,” he solemnly ejaculated. “And what is it that our own poet says:—
comes home again! A thousand ways
I fashion to myself the tenderness
Of my glad welcome: I shall tremble—yes—’”
“Stop trembling, Colonel, and try one of our new office chairs, warranted to hold anybody but Brother Ike Pettit without fading away.”
The Colonel bent over Miss Farrell’s hand reverently and sat down.
“I’ve been trying to earn an honest living practicing law down at home and this is the first chance I’ve had to come up and see what the late lamented legislature left of the proud old Hoosier State. Is Dan locked up inside there with some lucrative client?”
“I regret to say that I don’t believe there’s a cent in his present caller.”
“Hark!” At this moment a roar was heard from the inner room on which “private” was printed in discreet letters. The Colonel was at once alert.
no more; the moon may draw the sea’
But Isaac Pettit’s jokes shall shake the land,—
with apologies to the late Laureate. So the boys are finding their way up here, are they? I’ll wait an hour or two till that compendium of American humor has talked Dan to sleep. So you and Dan left your Uncle Morton all alone in gloomy splendor in the Boordman Building!”