“That is not the girl’s fault,” Anderson rejoined, with sudden fire.
“No, I suppose not,” said Mrs. Anderson, with an anxious look at him. “Only, if she hasn’t been taught to think it doesn’t matter if debts are not paid.”
“Well, I don’t think that poor child is to be blamed,” Anderson said.
“Do they owe you?”
“She came in and paid me this morning.”
“Oh, I’m glad of that!” said his mother, and Anderson was conscious of intense guilt at his deception. Somehow half a lie had always seemed to him more ignoble than a whole one, and he had told a half one. He turned to leave the room, when there came a loud peal of the door-bell.
“Oh, dear, that will wake her up!” said his mother.
Anderson strode past her to the door, and there stood Eddy Carroll. He was breathless from running, and his pretty face was a uniform rose.
“Say,” he panted, “is my sister in here?”
“Hush!” said Anderson. “Yes, she is.”
“I chased you all the way,” said Eddy, “but I tumbled down and hurt my knee on an old stone, and then I couldn’t catch up.” Indeed, the left knee of Eddy’s little knickerbockers showed a rub and a red stain. “Where’s Charlotte?”
“She is lying down. She was frightened, and I brought her here, and she has had some wine and is lying down.”
“What frightened her, I’d like to know? First thing I saw you were lugging her off across the field. What frightened her?”
Eddy sniffed with utmost scorn. “Just like a girl,” said he, “to get scared of a man that was fast asleep, and wouldn’t have hurt her, anyway. Just like a girl. Say, you’d better keep her awhile.”
“We are going to,” said Mrs. Anderson.
“If she stays to supper, I might stay too, and then I could go home with her, and save you the trouble,” said Eddy to Anderson.
There had been a mutter as of coming storm in Wall Street for several weeks, and this had culminated in a small, and probably a sham, tempest, with more stage thunder and lightning than any real. However, it was on that very account just the sort of cataclysm to overwhelm phantom and illusory ships of fortune like Arthur Carrolls. That week he acknowledged to himself that his career in the City was over, that it was high time for him to shut up his office and to shake the dust of the City from his feet, for fear of worse to come. Arthur Carroll had a certain method in madness, a certain caution in the midst of recklessness, and he had also a considerable knowledge of law, and had essayed to keep within it. However, there were complications and quibbles, and nobody knew what might happen, so he retreated in as good order as possible, and even essayed to guard as well as might be his retreat. He told the pretty stenographers, with more urbanity than usual, and even smiling at