“Then we will leave it to fate,” said Quincy. He tore a sheet of paper into six pieces and passed three, with a book and pencil, to Alice. “Now you write,” said he, “three Christian names that please you, and I will write three surnames that please me; then we will put the pieces in my hat, and you will select two and what you select shall be the name.”
“That’s a capital idea,” said Alice, “it is harder to select a name than it was to write the story.”
The slips were written, placed in the hat, shaken up, and Alice selected two, which she held up for Quincy to read.
“This is not fair,” said Quincy. “I never thought. Both of the slips are mine. We must try again.”
“No,” said Alice, “it is ‘Kismet.’ What are the names?” she asked.
“Bruce Douglas, or Douglas Bruce, as you prefer,” said Quincy.
“I like Bruce Douglas best,” replied Alice.
“I am so glad,” said Quincy, “that’s the name I should have selected myself.”
“Then I will bear your name in future,” said Alice, and Quincy thought to himself that he wished she had said those words in response to a question that was in his mind, but which he had decided it was not yet time to ask her. He was too much of a gentleman to refer in a joking manner to the words which Alice had spoken and which had been uttered with no thought or idea that they bore a double meaning.
Quincy wrote the selected name in the blank space in Leopold’s letter, sealed it and took his mail out to the carriage driver, who was seated in the kitchen enjoying a piece of mince pie and a mug of cider which Mandy had given him.
As Quincy entered the kitchen he heard Mandy say, “How is ’Bias nowadays?”
“Oh, dad’s all right,” said the young man; “he is going to run Wallace Stackpole again for tax collector against Obadiah Strout.”
“Is your name Smith?” asked Quincy, advancing with the letters in his hand.
“Yes,” replied the young man, “my name is Abbott Smith. My dad’s name is ’Bias; he is pretty well known ’round these parts.”
“I have heard of him,” said Quincy, “and I wish to see him and Mr. Stackpole together. Can you come over for me next Wednesday morning and bring Mr. Stackpole with you? I can talk to him going back, and I want you to drive us over to your father’s place. Don’t say anything about it except to Mr. Stackpole and your father, but I am going to take a hand in town politics this year.”
The young man laughed and said, “I will be over here by eight o’clock next Wednesday.”
“I wish you would have these letters weighed at the post office, and if any more stamps are needed please put them on. Take what is left for your trouble,” and Quincy passed Abbott a half dollar.
He heard the retreating carriage wheels as he went upstairs to his room. He made an entry in his pocket diary, and then ran his eye over several others that preceded and followed it.