“Gabriel Grimsby! I cannot believe this of you. I always considered you a man above such things. Are you willing to take money for keeping silent? Would you not be afraid to use it?”
“Afraid! Of what, pray?”
“Of what might happen. Money obtained in such a way never does any good.”
“Are you speaking from experience, madame? It was not so in your case, I believe.”
Mrs. Hampton made no reply. Her eyes dropped, and, her face flushed. Grimsby knew that the thrust had gone home, and he again smiled.
“You understand, I see,” he continued. “That is the only thing, madame, which will cause me to keep your secret.”
“And if I don’t give you anything?”
“You will have to take the consequences. Are you willing to do that?”
“No, no! This must never be known. How much do you want? Tell me quick, and let us get through with this terrible business.”
“I am quite as anxious as you are, madame. The amount depends upon how much you are prepared to give.”
“You want me to mortgage this place, I suppose. You will not be satisfied with a small amount.”
“Indeed I shall. Surely you must have some money on hand now. That will be sufficient for the present. Then, when you sell your mine, you might remember your benefactor.”
“Benefactor! Robber you should say,” Mrs. Hampton indignantly retorted. “To think that I should be held up by such a person as you. But it cannot be helped, I suppose. Will one hundred dollars satisfy you? It is all I have.”
Grimsby bowed, and waved his hand in an eloquent manner.
“It will be very acceptable to me just now. One hundred dollars! It seems like a fortune to me. It will do nicely.”
Mrs. Hampton rose to her feet, and remained for a few seconds thoughtfully silent. Then she turned toward Grimsby.
“If I give you this money, Gabriel, how can I trust you to keep this secret?”
“I give you my word of honour, madame. Bring the Bible, and I shall swear by it.”
Mrs. Hampton gave a deep sigh as she turned toward the door of the house. “I am afraid, Gabriel, that your word of honour isn’t worth much, and that the Bible wouldn’t make any difference. However, I suppose I shall have to trust you. Just wait a minute.”
Grimsby was greatly pleased with himself now. His eyes were turned toward the river, fixed upon the white sail which was much nearer. He had accomplished his object easier than he had expected. In a short time Mrs. Hampton returned, and handed him a roll of bills.
“There, you will find the full amount,” she quietly told him. “It is all I have in the house. I hope you are satisfied.”
Grimsby was about to speak, when a raucous toot of an auto down the road caused Mrs. Hampton to turn suddenly. At once her face went very white, and she laid her hand heavily upon the man’s arm.