Two days later the Farleys came home, and since Vincent went promptly into residence at Crestcliffe, the evenings with Norman were interrupted. But they had served their purpose; and when Vincent began to press for the naming of an early day in September for the wedding, Ardea found it quite feasible to be calmly indefinite. You see, she had still to tell him that it had become purely a matter of promise-keeping with her—a task easy only for the heartless.
It was in the third week in August, a full month, earlier than their original plans contemplated, that the Dabneys returned to Paradise and Deer Trace. Miss Euphrasia was led to believe that the Major had tired of the hotel and the mountain; and the Major thought the suggestion came first from Miss Euphrasia.
But the real reason for the sudden return lay in a brief note signed “Norman,” and conveyed privately to Ardea’s hands by a grimy-faced boy from the foundry.
“Mr. Tom was waylaid by two footpads at the Woodlawn gates Saturday night and half killed,” it read. “He is delirious and asks continually for you. Could you come?”
THE NET OF THE FOWLER
Which of the Cynic Fathers was it who defined virtue as an attitude of the mind toward externals? One may not always recall a pat quotation on the spur of the moment, but it sounds like Demonax or another of the later school, when the philosophy of cynicism had sunk to the level of a sneer at poor human nature.
To say that Mr. Duxbury Farley, returning to find Chiawassee Consolidated in some sense at the mercy of the new pipe plant, regarded himself as a benefactor whose confidence had been grossly abused, is only to take him at his word. What, pray tell us, was Caleb Gordon in the crude beginning of things?—a village blacksmith or little more, dabbling childishly in the back-wash of the great wave of industry and living poverty-stricken between four log walls. To whom did he owe the brick mansion on the Woodlawn knoll, the comforts and luxuries of civilized life, the higher education of his son?
In Mr. Farley’s Index Anathema, ingratitude ranked with crime. He had trusted these Gordons, and in return they had despoiled him; crippled a great and growing industry by segregating the profitable half of it; cast doubt on the good name of its founder by reversing his business methods. Chiawassee had been making iron by the hundreds of tons: where were the profits? The query answered itself. They were in the credit account of Gordon and Gordon, every dollar of which justly belonged to the parent company. Was not the pipe-making invention perfected by a Chiawassee stock-holder, who was also a Chiawassee employee, on Chiawassee time, and with Chiawassee materials? Then why, in the name of justice, was it not to be considered a legitimate Chiawassee asset?