“He has something to do with The Patriot,” she answered steadily.
“How could The Patriot know of my coming here?’
“I don’t know,” said Io. She was deadly pale with a surmise too monstrous for utterance.
He put it into words for her.
“Io, did you tell Errol Banneker that you were sending for me?”
Even in the midst of the ruin which he saw closing in upon his career—that career upon which Camilla Van Arsdale had newly built her last pride and hope and happiness—he could feel for the agony of the girl before him.
“He couldn’t have betrayed me!” cried Io: but, as she spoke, the memory of other treacheries overwhelmed her.
The train rumbled in. Enderby stooped and kissed her forehead.
“My dear,” he said gently, “I’m afraid you’ve trusted him once too often.”
Among his various amiable capacities, Ely Ives included that of ceremonial arranger. Festivities were his delight; he was ever on the lookout for occasions of celebration: any excuse for a gratulatory function sufficed him. Before leaving on his chase to Manzanita, he had conceived the festal notion of a dinner in honor of Banneker, not that he cherished any love for him since the episode of the bet with Delavan Eyre, but because his shrewd foresight perceived in it a closer binding of the editor to the wheels of the victorious Patriot. Also it might indirectly redound to the political advantage of Marrineal. Put thus to that astute and aspiring public servant, it enlisted his prompt support. He himself would give the feast: no, on better thought, The Patriot should give it. It would be choice rather than large: a hundred guests or so; mainly journalistic, the flower of Park Row, with a sprinkling of important politicians and financiers. The occasion? Why, the occasion was pat to hand! The thousandth Banneker editorial to be published in The Patriot, the date of which came early in the following month.
Had Ives himself come to Banneker with any such project, it would have been curtly rejected. Ives kept in the background. The proposal came from Marrineal, and in such form that for the recipient of the honor to refuse it would have appeared impossibly churlish. Little though he desired or liked such a function, Banneker accepted with a good grace, and set himself to write an editorial, special to the event. Its title was, “What Does Your Newspaper Mean to You?” headed with the quotation from the Areopagitica: and he compressed into a single column all his dreams and idealities of what a newspaper might be and mean to the public which it sincerely served. Specially typed and embossed, it was arranged as the dinner souvenir.
As the day drew near, Banneker had less and less taste for the ovation. Forebodings had laid hold on his mind. Enderby had been back for five days, and had taken no part whatever in the current political activity. Conflicting rumors were in the air. The anti-Marrineal group was obviously in a state of confusion and doubt: Marrineal’s friends were excited, uncertain, expectant.