“Did you enjoy your trip to Boston yesterday, Miss Putnam?”
“Oh, yes,” replied Lindy, “I must tell you all about it.”
“There is no need to, Miss Putnam, I am acquainted with the most important events of your trip already.”
“Why, how?” asked Lindy. “Oh, I see,” said she, “you had a letter from your father.”
“No,” said Quincy. “I had the pleasure of a conversation with my father yesterday afternoon in Boston.”
“Is that so?” exclaimed Lindy.
“Yes,” said Quincy, “but I might have learned all the principal facts without leaving Mason’s Corner. In fact, I did learn them in a somewhat distorted shape late last evening.”
Lindy colored until her forehead was as red as her cheeks.
“I do not understand you, Mr. Sawyer,” she remarked.
“It is easily explained,” said Quincy. “Mr. Stiles forgot to mention that it was my father who was your escort and not myself. Of course he would offer the similarity in names as his excuse.”
“And so,” said Lindy, recovering herself, “you have come here to scold me because Abner Stiles didn’t tell the truth. I told you he was a wonderful story teller.”
“No, Miss Putnam,” said Quincy, “I did not come here for any such purpose. I made you a promise yesterday and I have come to keep it. I know who is to inherit your mother’s money. She did not intend to tell me, but the name escaped her unintentionally.”
“Did she ask you not to tell me?” asked Lindy.
“No,” replied Quincy, “not in so many words.”
“Then you must tell me,” cried Lindy eagerly.
“Well, I don’t know,” said Quincy. “Your mother said you would give a thousand dollars to know the name of the person. This fixes the condition on which I shall divulge the name.”
“And if I did give you a thousand dollars,” inquired Lindy, “what would you do with the money?”
“I should give it to your mother,” said Quincy. “She fixed the price of the secret, not I.”
Lindy walked to the window and looked out. She wished to know the name. She had her suspicions, but she could not bear to give up a thousand dollars of her own money, for she knew that this, too, would go to the unknown heiress. She knew Alice Pettengill was in town and at her brother’s house. She had been there for a whole day and parts of two others. She would save her money and at the same time learn the truth.
Turning to Quincy she said, “I cannot afford to pay you, or rather my mother, a thousand dollars for the secret. It is not worth it. I will not ask you again for her name, but if you will answer me one simple question I will absolve you from your promise.”
Quincy reflected. He knew that Lindy was deep and that she was plotting something while she stood at the window. But he wished this matter over, he was tired of it, so he replied, “I will answer your simple question, Miss Putnam, on one condition. It is that you will not deem me guilty of any intentional discourtesy if, after replying to it, I at once take my leave.”