“Mr. Appleby occupies a similar position on the ‘Montrose Messenger’ to the one that I hold on the ‘Eastborough Express,’” said Sylvester, by way of explanation to Quincy. “We exchange items; that is, he supplies me with items relating to Montrose that are supposed to be interesting to the inhabitants of Eastborough, and I return the compliment. Here are your items,” said Sylvester, passing an envelope to Mr. Appleby.
Mr. Appleby seemed to be in great haste, and with a short “Good morning” left the office.
“He is a great friend of Professor Strout’s,” remarked Sylvester.
“You speak as though you were not,” said Quincy.
“Well,” replied Sylvester, “I used to think a good deal more of him at one time than I do now, not on account of anything that he has done to me, but I do not think he has treated one of my dearest friends just right. Did you hear anything, Mr. Sawyer, about his being engaged or likely to be engaged to Deacon Mason’s daughter, Huldy?”
Quincy looked at Sylvester and then laughed outright.
“No, I haven’t heard of any such thing,” he replied, “and considering certain information that I have in my mind and which I know to be correct, I do not think I ever shall.”
“Will you tell me what that information is?” asked Sylvester.
“Well, perhaps I will,” said Quincy, “if you will inform me why you wish to know.”
“Well, the fact is,” remarked Sylvester, “that for quite a while Professor Strout and my sister Bessie, whom you saw last night at the party and with whom you danced, kept company together, and everybody over here to the Centre thought that they would be engaged and get married one of these days; but since that concert at the Town Hall, where you sang, a change of mind seems to have come over the Professor, and he has not seen my sister except when they met by accident. She thinks a good deal of him still, and although the man has done me no harm personally, of course I do not feel very good toward the fellow who makes my sister feel unhappy.”
“Now,” said Quincy, “what I am going to say I am going to tell you for your personal benefit and not for publication. I happen to know that Miss Huldy Mason is engaged definitely to Mr. Ezekiel Pettengill, and has been for some time. Now, promise me not to put that in your paper.”
“I promise,” said Sylvester, “unless I obtain the same information from some other source.”
“All right,” rejoined Quincy, and shaking hands with the young man he crossed the passageway and went into the bank.
He presented his certified check, and the five hundred dollars in bills were passed to him, and he placed them in his inside coat pocket. He was turning to leave the bank when he met Deacon Mason just entering.
“Ah, Deacon,” said he, “have you come to draw some money? I think I have just taken all the bank bills they have on hand.”