He had it now! It dated back to his boyhood days. A crawling terror which, having escaped from a menagerie, had taken refuge in a pool, and there fixed its grip upon an unfortunate calf, and dragged—dragged—dragged the shrieking creature, until it went under. A crocodile.
His reverie was broken by the irruption of Russell Edmonds. An inch of the stem of the veteran’s dainty little pipe was clenched firmly between his teeth; but there was no bowl.
“Where’s the rest of your pipe?” asked Banneker, stupefied by this phenomenon.
“I’ve resigned,” said Edmonds.
“God! I wish I could,” muttered Banneker.
Explanations were now due to two people, Io and Willis Enderby. As to Io, Banneker felt an inner conviction of strength. Hopeless though he was of making his course appear in any other light than that of surrender, nevertheless he could tell himself that it was really done for her, to protect her name. But he could not tell her this. He knew too well what the answer of that high and proud spirit of hers would be; that if their anomalous relationship was hampering his freedom, dividing his conscience, the only course of honor was for them to stop seeing each other at no matter what cost of suffering; let Banneker resign, if that were his rightful course, and tell The Searchlight to do its worst. Yes; such would be Io’s idea of playing the game. He could not force it. He must argue with her, if at all, on the plea of expediency. And to her forthright and uncompromising fearlessness, expediency was in itself the poorest of expedients. At the last, there was her love for him to appeal to. But would Io love where she could not trust?... He turned from that thought.
As an alternative subject for consideration, Willis Enderby was hardly more assuring and even more perplexing. True, Banneker owed no explanation to him; but for his own satisfaction of mind he must have it out with the lawyer. He had a profound admiration for Enderby and knew that this was in a measure reciprocated by a patent and almost wistful liking, curious in a person as reserved as Enderby. He cherished a vague impression that somehow Enderby would understand. Or, at least, that he would want to understand. Consequently he was not surprised when the lawyer called him up and asked him to come that evening to the Enderby house. He went at once to the point.
“Banneker, do you know anything of an advertisement by the striking garment-workers, which The Patriot first accepted and afterward refused to print?”
“Are you at liberty to tell me why?”
“That is implied.”
“Mr. Marrineal ordered it killed.”
“Ah! It was Marrineal himself. The advocate of the Common People! The friend of Labor!”
“Admirable campaign material,” observed Banneker composedly, “if it were possible to use it.”