“Lucky for us that we waited,” he said. “It was Marion who called. She is at the Congress, and she wants me to take her home. She came down-town with her brother to meet the Dixes from Omaha, and that worthless pup has gone off and left her. She knew that I was here to-night, and ’phoned, hoping to catch me. We will pass around by the hotel and take her back with us.”
When the friends came out, Michael was standing with his hand on the knob of the big limousine’s door. “I am sorry if I made you wait, sir,” he said. “I had a fainting spell in the church and could not get away sooner. A doctor said it was a little heart attack; but I am all right now.”
Orville answered kindly. “I am sorry you were ill, Michael, but we are glad enough that you were late. That ill wind for you blew good to us, for we have Miss Fayall home with us. If you had been on time we would have missed her. Go around to the Congress first.”
The car glided down Michigan avenue to the hotel, where Marion was already waiting in the ladies’ lobby. She looked just what she was, the pampered and petted daughter of a rich man. Tonight her cheeks were flushed and her hand was very unsteady. Orville noticed both when she entered the car. He was startled, for Marion was his fiancee. He knew that she was usually full of life and spirit; but this midnight gaiety worried him, and all the more that he loved the girl sincerely.
Marion talked fast and furiously, railing continually at her brother; but she averted her face from Orville as much as possible and spoke to Thornton. Orville said nothing after he had greeted her.
The car sped on, passed the club again and down toward the bridge at the foot of the avenue. Marion was scolding at Thornton as they approached the bridge at a good rate of speed. Orville was staring straight ahead, so only he saw Michael’s hand make a quick movement toward the controller, and another movement, at the same time, as if his foot were trying to press on the brake; but both movements seemed to fall short and Michael’s head dropped on his breast. Alarmed, Orville looked up. He had a swift glimpse of a flashing red light. A chain snapped like a pistol shot. He heard an oath from Thornton, and a scream from Marion. Then, in an instant, he felt the great weight falling, and a flood of cold water poured through the open window of the car. He tried to open the door, but the weight of water against it made this impossible. The car filled and the door moved. He was pushed out. He thought of saving Marion; but all was dark around him. He tried to call, but the water choked him. He could only think a prayer, before he seemed to be falling asleep. Everything was fading away before him, in a strange feeling of dreamy satisfaction; so only vaguely did he realize the tragedy that had fallen upon him.