Ellsworth did not answer.
“He wants to make good, we’ll say,” went on Barkley. “He wants to go back East with a little roll. Now, we give him a chance to make good. We give him more money than he ever saw before in his life, and set him up as leading citizen, all that sort of thing. For the sake of going back and making a front before that girl, he’ll be willing to do a heap of things for us. You’ve seen it a thousand times yourself. A woman can do more than cash, in a real hard bit of work. Now, Ellsworth, you furnish the girl, and leave the rest to me. I’ll deliver Heart’s Desire in a hand-bag to you, if the man’s half as able as you seem to think he is.”
Porter Barkley never quite understood why Mr. Ellsworth arose suddenly and walked to the far end of the gallery, leaving him alone, crumbling his bits of bark in the sunshine.
BUSINESS AT HEART’S DESIRE
This Describing Porter Barkley’s Method with a Man, and Tom Osby’s Way with a Maid
Dan Anderson sat for a long time on his blanket roll, looking at the dribbling smoke from the ends of the charred pinon sticks. So deep was his preoccupation that he did not at first hear the shuffle of feet approaching over the carpet of pine needles; and when the sound came to his consciousness, he wondered merely how Tom Osby had gotten around the camp and come in on that side of the mountain. Then he looked up. It was to see the face that had dwelt in his dreams by night, his reveries by day, the face that he had seen but now—the “face that was the fairest”! He sat stupid, staring, conscious that Fate had chided him once more for his unreadiness. Then he sprang up and stared the harder—stared at Constance Ellsworth coming down the slope between her father and a well-groomed stranger.
The girl looked up, their eyes met; and in that moment Porter Barkley discovered that Constance Ellsworth could gaze with brightening eye and heightened color upon another man.
When Ellsworth and Barkley had started from the hotel in search of the engineer’s camp, Constance had joined them ostensibly for the sake of a walk in the morning’s sun. If it had been in her mind to discover the mystery of this man from Heart’s Desire, she had kept it to herself. But now as they approached the dying fire, she gained the secret of this stranger who had travelled a week by wagon to listen to a bedizened diva of the stage! The consciousness flashed upon her sharply. Despite her traitorous coloring, she greeted him but coolly.
Porter Barkley, noticing some things and suspecting others, drew a breath of sudden conviction. With swift jealousy he guessed that this could be none other than the man to whom Ellsworth had referred,—Anderson, the lawyer of Heart’s Desire. Why had not Ellsworth told him that Constance also knew him? Porter Barkley ran his eye over the tall strong figure, the clean brown jaw, the level eyes, sizing up his man with professional keenness. He instantly rated him as an enemy dangerous in more ways than one.