His grandfather tipped his head back into his clasped hands, his characteristic attitude. He squinted out across the hills.
“Bub,” he said, “I had the first real blow of my life the other day. A man pointed me out on the train and told another man, loud enough so that I overheard him, that I was Harlan Thornton’s grandfather—’and I forget his first name,’ he said, ‘it begins with T.’”
They ate supper together in the old mess-hall, back on their former footing. Word by word it came out of the Duke—his admiration for this boy who had made his own way. Every blow he had dealt his grandfather’s personal pride had brought the reactionary glow of appreciation of this scion who could hit so hard and so surely.
He watched him saddle his horse after supper. He did not ask where he was going.
Harlan did not know. His longing drew him down the long street and across the big bridge, his horse walking slowly.
ONE PROBLEM SOLVED
The dusk was cool and soft. Below him the current gurgled against the piers with sounds as though the river’s fairies laughed there in the gloom. Doves nestled against the rafters of the bridge above, stirring with tired murmurings.
When he came out under the stars he saw the red eyes of Dennis Kavanagh’s house. The sight of them put the peace of the sky and fields out of his heart. He spurred his horse and galloped up the hill.
Even as Thelismer Thornton found true haven on his porch in the summer evening, so Dennis Kavanagh had his solace in his own domain, smoking his pipe. He sat there when Harlan swung close to the steps.
“Mr. Kavanagh,” said the young man, sternly, “I am Harlan Thornton. Do you know any ill of me?”
“I know that you’re old Land-Grabber Thornton’s grandson! I also know that you have shaken him in politics until his old teeth rattled. And I’m much obliged to you!”
“I’m not here to talk about politics or my grandfather. I’m here on my own account. You know where your own daughter is. I’ve come to ask you honorably and fairly where she is. Will you tell me?”
Mr. Kavanagh was silent a long time. He seemed to be struggling with some kind of surprise.
“No, I’ll not tell you,” he declared at last.
“Then I want to tell you something, sir. I love your daughter. I love her so honestly—so devotedly that I propose to search for her through this world. And when I find her—” he hesitated.
“If you find her?”
“I stopped because I do not want to threaten or boast. But I will say, Mr. Kavanagh, that when I find her I’ll beg of her to be my wife, and if she consents I promise you that no two sour old men are going to spoil our happiness! I want a fair understanding with you.”
“Queer notions you have of a fair understanding,” retorted Mr. Kavanagh. “You’d call it a fair understanding, would you, to come here and tell me to get off my own doorstep because you claimed the place?”