I saw her. I flung into the station, saw that it was empty—empty, for she was not there. Then I hurried back to the gates. She was there, a familiar figure in blue, the very gown in which I always thought of her, the one she had worn when, Heaven help me—I had kissed her, at the Carter farm. And she was not alone. Bending over her, talking earnestly, with all his boyish heart in his face, was Richey.
They did not see me, and I was glad of it. After all, it had been McKnight’s game first. I turned on my heel and made my way blindly out of the station. Before I lost them I turned once and looked toward them, standing apart from the crowd, absorbed in each other. They were the only two people on earth that I cared about, and I left them there together. Then I went back miserably to the office and awaited arrest.
ON TO RICHMOND
Strangely enough, I was not disturbed that day. McKnight did not appear at all. I sat at my desk and transacted routine business all afternoon, working with feverish energy. Like a man on the verge of a critical illness or a hazardous journey, I cleared up my correspondence, paid bills until I had writer’s cramp from signing checks, read over my will, and paid up my life insurance, made to the benefit of an elderly sister of my mother’s. I no longer dreaded arrest. After that morning in the station, I felt that anything would be a relief from the tension. I went home with perfect openness, courting the warrant that I knew was waiting, but I was not molested. The delay puzzled me. The early part of the evening was uneventful. I read until late, with occasional lapses, when my book lay at my elbow, and I smoked and thought. Mrs. Klopton closed the house with ostentatious caution, about eleven, and hung around waiting to enlarge on the outrageousness of the police search. I did not encourage her.
“One would think,” she concluded pompously, one foot in the hall, “that you were something you oughtn’t to be, Mr. Lawrence. They acted as though you had committed a crime.”
“I’m not sure that I didn’t, Mrs. Klopton,” I said wearily. “Somebody did, the general verdict seems to point my way.”
She stared at me in speechless indignation. Then she flounced out. She came back once to say that the paper predicted cooler weather, and that she had put a blanket on my bed, but, to her disappointment, I refused to reopen the subject.
At half past eleven McKnight and Hotchkiss came in. Richey has a habit of stopping his car in front of the house and honking until some one comes out. He has a code of signals with the horn, which I never remember. Two long and a short blast mean, I believe, “Send out a box of cigarettes,” and six short blasts, which sound like a police call, mean “Can you lend me some money?” To-night I knew something was up, for he got out and rang the door-bell like a Christian.