THE TRUTH ABOUT SUSQUEHANNA
Jordan King, directing his car with necessary caution through the traffic of a small but crowded city, two hundred miles from home, suddenly threw out his clutch and jammed his brakes into urgent use. Beside him Aleck, flinging out a hasty arm to warn drivers pressing closely behind, gazed at his employer in wonder. There was absolutely nothing to stop them, and an autocratic crossing policeman just ahead was impatiently waving them forward.
But King, his eyes apparently following something or some one in the throng, which had just negotiated the crossing of the street at right angles to his own direction, spoke hurriedly: “Turn to the right here, Aleck, and wait for me at the first spot down that street where they’ll let you stop.”
He was out of the car and off at a dangerous slant through the procession of moving vehicles, dodging past great trucks and slipping by the noses of touring cars and coupes with apparent recklessness of consequences.
Aleck, sliding into the driver’s seat and forced to lose sight of King’s tall figure because of the urgency of the crowding mass behind, was moved to curious speculation. As he turned the designated corner, he was saying to himself with a chuckle: “He always was quick on the trigger, but I’ll be darned if that wasn’t about the hastiest move I ever saw him make. What’s he after, anyhow, in this town where he just told me he didn’t know a soul? Well, it’s some wait for me, I’ll bet.”
If he could have seen his master as that young man plunged along through the crowd Aleck would have found plenty to interest him. King was doing his best to pursue and catch up with a figure which he now and again lost sight of in the throng, so that he slowed his pace lest he go by it unawares. The fear that he might thus miss and lose it sharpened his gaze and gave to his face an intent look, so that many people stared at him as he passed them, wondering what the comely, dark-eyed young man was after that he was rushing at such a pace.
There came a moment when King paused, uncertain, his heart standing still with the certainty that he was off the track and that his quarry had unconsciously doubled and eluded him. An instant later he drew a quick breath of relief, his gaze following a slender black figure as it mounted the steps of an old church which stood, dingy but still dignified, close by the highway, its open doors indicating that it had remained in this downtown district for a purpose. King sprang up the steps, then paused in the great doorway, beyond which the darkness and quiet of an empty interior silently invited passers-by to rest and reflect. At that moment a deep organ note sounded far away upon the stillness, and King took a step inside, looking cautiously about him. The figure he pursued had vanished, and after a moment more he crossed the vestibule and stood, hat in hand, gazing into the dim depths beyond.