“Put it where you like but don’t consume any more of my time.”
“But you’ll have to hear me say that I don’t think you’re honest.”
“I have heard you,” Davis answered calmly.
Samson withdrew and went to the home of Mrs. Kelso. He found her with Bim’s boy in her lap—a handsome little lad, then a bit over two years old,—at the house on La Salle Street. The good woman gave Samson an account of the year filled with tearful praise of the part Mr. Davis had played in it. Samson told of the failure of Bim’s letter to reach him and of his offer to return the money which Davis had paid for their relief.
“I don’t like the man and I don’t want you to be under obligation to him,” said Samson. “The story of Harry’s death was false and I think that he is responsible for it. He wanted her to marry him right away after that—of course. And she went to the plague settlement to avoid marriage. I know her better than you do. She has read him right. Her soul has looked into his soul and it keeps her away from him.”
But Mrs. Kelso could believe no evil of her benefactor, nor would she promise to cease depending on his bounty.
Samson was a little disheartened by the visit. He Went to see John Wentworth, the editor of The Democrat, of whose extreme length Mr. Lincoln had humorously spoken in his presence. The young New Englander was seven feet tall. He welcomed the broad-shouldered man from Sangamon County and began at once to question him about Honest Abe and “Steve” Douglas and O.H. Browning and E.D. Baker and all the able men of the middle counties. Then he wanted to know of the condition of the people since the collapse of the land boom. The farmer’s humorous comment and sane views delighted the young editor. At the first opportunity Samson came to the business of his call—the mischievous lie regarding Harry’s death which had appeared in The Democrat. Mr. Wentworth went to the proof room and found the manuscript of the article.
“We kept it because we didn’t know and do not now know the writer,” said Wentworth.
Samson told of the evil it had wrought and conveyed his suspicions to the editor.
“Davis is rather unscrupulous,” said Wentworth. “We know a lot about him in this office.”
Samson looked at the article and presently said: “Here is a note that he gave to a friend of mine. It looks to me as if the note and the article were written by the same hand.”
Mr. Wentworth compared the two and said: “You are right. The same person wrote them. But it was not Davis.”
When Samson left the office of The Democrat he had accomplished little save the confirmation of his suspicions. There was nothing he could do about it.
He went to Eli Fredenberg. Eli, having sold out at the height of the boom in Springfield, had been back to Germany to visit his friends.
“I haf money—plendy money,” said Eli. “In de ol’ country I vas rich. I thought maybe I stay dere an’ make myself happy. It vas one big job. Mein frients dey hate me becos I haf succeed so much. De odders hate me becos de butcher haf mein fadder been. Dey laugh at my good close. Nobody likes me not. I come avay. Dey don’t blame you here becos you vos born.”