She held out her hand. They were standing on the pavement now, in the light of a gas-lamp, and with the chauffeur close at hand. She was not in the least afraid but there was a lump in her throat. He looked so very common, so far away from those little memories with which she must grapple!
“Mr. Burton,” she said, “good-night! I want to thank you for this evening and I want to ask you to promise that if ever you are sorry because I persuaded you to sell those little beans, you will forgive me. It was a very wonderful thing, you know, and I didn’t understand. Perhaps I was wrong.”
“Don’t you worry,” he answered, cheerfully. “That’s all right, anyway. It’s jolly well the best thing I ever did in my life. Got my pockets full of money already, and I mean to have a thundering good time with it. No fear of my ever blaming you. Good-night, Miss Edith! My regards to the governor and tell him I am all on for Menatogen.”
He gave his hat a little twist and stepped back into the taxi.
“I will give my father your message,” she told him, as the door opened to receive her.
“Righto!” Burton replied. “Leicester Square, cabby!”
RICHES AND REPENTANCE
There was considerable excitement in Laurence Avenue when a few mornings later Mr. Alfred Burton, in a perfectly appointed motor-car, drew up before the door of Clematis Villa. In a very leisurely manner he descended and stood looking around him for a moment in the front garden.
“Poky little place,” he said half to himself, having completed a disparaging survey. “Hullo, Johnson! How are you?”
Mr. Johnson, who, with a little bag in his hand, had just trudged a mile to save a penny, looked with something like amazement at the apparition which confronted him. Mr. Alfred Burton was arrayed in town clothes of the most pronounced cut. His tail coat was exactly the right length; his trousers, although the pattern was a little loud, were exceedingly well cut. He wore patent boots with white gaiters, a carefully brushed silk hat, and he carried in his hand a pair of yellow kid gloves. He had a malacca cane with a gold top under his arm, and a cigar at the usual angle in the corner of his mouth. No wonder that Mr. Johnson, who was, it must be confessed, exceedingly shabby, took his pipe from his mouth and stared at his quondam friend in amazement.
“Hullo, Burton, you back again?” he exclaimed weakly.
“I am back again just to settle up here,” Mr. Burton explained, with a wave of the hand. “Just run down in the car to take the missis out a little way.”
Mr. Johnson held on to the railing tightly.
“My car,” Mr. Burton admitted, modestly. “Take you for a ride some day, if you like. How’s the wife?”
“First-class, thanks,” Mr. Johnson replied. “First-class, thank you, Mr. Burton.”