“Well, I hardly know. Have you had any callers?”
“Yes. I suppose you met them. They made a very long call.”
“You mean the Egglestons?”
“Yes, Miss Josie and little Agnes Eggleston and Mrs. Monroe. They stayed here over an hour. I thought you would meet them.”
“Yes, I met them just as I turned from Main Street,” replied Randolph, soberly, but he was inwardly amused. He understood his mother. But there was something which he did not tell her concerning his experience with the new-comers, the Carrolls. Shortly, she went out to give some directions about tea, and Randolph, sitting beside a window in the parlor with an evening paper, drew from his pocket a letter just received in the mail, and examined it again. It was from a city bank, and it contained a repudiated check for ten dollars, made out by Captain Arthur Carroll, and which Anderson had cashed a few days previous at the request of the pretty young girl in the carriage, who to-night had sat there looking at him and did not speak, either because she had forgotten his face as he did her the little favor, or because he was so far away from her social scale that she was innocently unaware of any necessity for it.
Randolph Anderson had a large contempt for money used otherwise than for its material ends. A dollar never meant anything to him except its equivalent in the filling of a need. Generosity and the impulse of giving were in his blood, yet it had gone hard several times with people who had tried to overreach him even to a trifling extent. But now he submitted without a word to losing ten dollars through cashing Arthur Carroll’s worthless check. He himself was rather bewildered at his tame submission. One thing was certain, although it seemed paradoxical; if he had not had suspicions as to Arthur Carroll’s perfect trustworthiness, he would at once have gone to him with the check.
“I dare say he overdrew his account without knowing it, as many an honest man does,” he reasoned, when trying to apologize to himself for his unbusiness-like conduct, but always he knew subconsciously that if he had been perfectly sure of that view of it he would not have hesitated to put it to the proof. For some reason, probably unconfessed rather than actually hidden from himself, he shrank from a possible discovery to Arthur Carroll’s discredit. When a man of Randolph Anderson’s kind replies to a question concerning the beauty of a young girl that he does not know, the assumption is warranted that he has given the matter consideration. A man usually leaps to a decision of that kind, and if he has no ulterior motive for concealment, he would as lief proclaim it to the house-tops.