“If you make any pretense at all of being my friend,” roared Kenny in a flash of temper, “will you do me the favor of assuming that I’m serious? I’m not drunk. I’m not insane. I’ve slept the night through. And I’m tired and terribly in earnest.”
“You did say your ward.”
“I did. Mr. Craig—the uncle, you remember, an invalid—died. And he’s made me the guardian of his niece—”
“The poor boob.” Garry’s voice was sad and sincere.
“Garry! Are you or are you not my friend?”
“Then listen. Next I want you to ask Max Kreiling for the name and address of the French woman he knows who teaches music—”
“Just a minute, Kenny, old man. Let me say this all after you. I am to cash your check for four thousand dollars in old bills. Ragged if possible. I am to send it registered and special delivery to Craig Farm. I am to call up Ann and tell her about your—your ward. And I’m to ask Max for the name of the French woman who teaches music.”
“Right. Garry, has Brian been back?”
“No. John Whitaker may have heard from him. I don’t know. I haven’t seen him. Oh, by the way, Kenny, Joe Curtis was in here blazing up and down my studio. Said you promised to paint his wife’s portrait. What’ll I tell him?”
“Tell him,” said Kenny, “to go to—No, never mind. I’ll be needing to work. Tell him I’ll be back in New York positively by the end of next week.”
He was passionately glad in the week that followed that Fate, prodigal in her gifts to him, had made him too an actor with a genius for convincing. For he had to go on digging dots, feigning wild excitement when his heart was cold within him. He hated spades. He hated dirt. He almost hated Hughie, who went from dot to dot upon the chart with unflagging zeal and system. Kenny himself dug anywhere at any time and moodily escaped when he could to write letters. He was getting his plans in line for departure.
He had settled the problem of the doctor, after an interval of bitter struggle, with a combination of fact and fancy. He said truthfully that the doctor had rejected all notions of buried money with his usual air of weariness. He added untruthfully—and with set teeth he challenged the Angel Gabriel to settle the tormenting problem in any other way—that the doctor had conceded the probability of Adam’s burying money though he had had but a few thousand dollars at best to bury.
“That,” said Hughie, “is enough to dig for!” And he went on with his digging.
The need was desperate and Kenny did his best. Of the doctor’s story of Adam and Cordelia Craig he told enough. And he kept on talking miser’s gold when he hated the name of it. His air of excitement, said Hughie who talked endlessly of dots, dug and dreamed them, kept them all upon their toes.