“Off ’is wot?” said Mr. Brimberly, fumbling for his whisker.
“Holy Gee!” exclaimed Spike, “can’t you understand English? Say, is your brother as smart as you?”
“The honly brother as ever I ’ad was a infant as died and—but wot was you saying about a winder?”
“Come, speak up, you young vagabone—” began Mr. Brimberly, his whiskers suddenly fierce and threatening, but just then, fortunately for Spike, the door swung, open, and Mr. Ravenslee entered.
And lo! what a change was here! The battered hat, the faded muffler and shabby clothes seemed only to show off all the hitherto hidden strength and vigour of the powerful limbs below; indeed it almost seemed that with his elegant garments he had laid aside his lassitude also and taken on a new air of resolution, for his eyes were sleepy no longer, and his every gesture was lithe and quick. So great was the change that Spike stared speechless, and Mr. Brimberly gaped with whiskers a-droop.
“Well, shall I do?” enquired Mr. Ravenslee, tightening his faded neckerchief.
“Do?” repeated Spike, “say—you look all to d’ mustard, Geoff! You—you look as if you could—do things, now!”
“Strangely enough, Spike, I rather feel that way too!” So saying, Mr. Ravenslee took a pipe from the rack, filled it with quick, energetic fingers, and proceeded to light it, watched in dumb amaze by the gaping Brimberly.
“Brimberly,” said he, “I shall probably return to-morrow.”
“Yes, sir,” said he faintly.
“Or the day after.”
“Or the day after.”
“Or the day after that; anyhow, I shall probably return. Should any one call—business or otherwise—tell ’em to call again; say I’m out of town—you understand?”
“Out of town—certingly, sir.”
“Referring to—to the matter we talked of to-night, Brimberly—”
“Meaning the hobject, sir?”
“Precisely! Don’t trouble yourself about it.”
“No, Brimberly—I’m going to try and find one for myself.”
“Ho—very good, sir!”
“And now,” said the new Mr. Ravenslee, laying one white, ringless hand on Spike’s shoulder and pointing toward the open door with the other, “lead on—young Destiny!”
TELLING HOW HE CAME TO HELL’S KITCHEN AT PEEP O’ DAY
It was past three o’clock and dawn was at hand as, by devious ways, Spike piloted his companion through that section of New York City which is known to the initiated as “Hell’s Kitchen.” By dismal streets they went, past silent, squalid houses and tall tenements looming grim and ghostly in the faint light; crossing broad avenues very silent and deserted at this hour, on and on until, dark and vague and mysterious, the great river flowed before them only to be lost again as they plunged into a