But in the morning, something he read in the paper concerning a vast enterprise, involving the control of the new radium mines in Southern California, startled him into trying to recollect what he had heard of Yo Espero and the Cascade Development and Securities Company. Tainting its title the sinister name of Moebus seemed to reoccur persistently in his confused imagination. Dysart’s name, too, figured in it. And, somehow, he conceived an idea that his father once received some mining engineer’s reports covering the matter; he even seemed to remember that Guy Wilton had been called into consultation.
Whatever associations he had for the name of the Cascade Development and Securities Company must have originated in Paris the year before his father returned to America. It seemed to him that Wilton had been in Spain that year examining the recent and marvellously rich radium find; and that his father and Wilton exchanged telegrams very frequently concerning a mine in Southern California known as Yo Espero.
His father breakfasted in his room that morning, but when he appeared in the library Duane was relieved to notice that his step was firmer and he held himself more erect, although his extreme pallor had not changed to a healthier colour.
“You know,” said Duane, “you’ve simply got to get out of town for a while. It’s all bally rot, your doing this sort of thing.”
“I may go West for a few weeks,” said his father absently.
“Are you going down-town?”
“No.... And, Duane, if you don’t mind letting me have the house to myself this morning——”
He hesitated, glancing from his son to the telephone.
“Of course not,” said Duane heartily. “I’m off to the studio——”
“I don’t mean to throw you out,” murmured his father with a painful attempt to smile, “but there’s a stenographer coming from my office and several—business acquaintances.”
The young fellow rose, patted his father’s shoulder lightly:
“What is really of any importance,” he said, “is that you keep your health and spirits. What I said last night covers my sentiments. If I can do anything in the world for you, tell me.”
His father took the outstretched hand, lifted his faded eyes with a strange dumb look; and so they parted.
On Fifth Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street, Duane, swinging along at a good pace, turned westward, and half-way to Sixth Avenue encountered Guy Wilton going east, a packet under one arm, stick and hat in the other hand, the summer wind blowing the thick curly hair from his temples.
“Ah,” observed Wilton, “early bird and worm, I suppose? Don’t try to bolt me, Duane; I’m full of tough and undigested—er—problems, myself. Besides, I’m fermenting. Did you ever silently ferment while listening politely to a man you wanted to assault?”
Duane laughed, then his eye by accident, caught a superscription on the packet of papers under Wilton’s arm: Yo Espero! His glance reverted in a flash to Wilton’s face.