A day or two after, he met on Broadway the man whom of all others he would gladly have avoided.
“Aha, my friend, I am glad to meet you,” said Duval, for it was he.
Dawkins muttered something unintelligible, and would have hurried on, but Duval detained him.
“Why are you in such a hurry, my friend?” he said.
“Business,” returned Dawkins, shortly.
“That reminds me of the little business affair between us, mon ami. Have you got any money for me?”
“Not yet! It is three days since we saw each other. Could you not do something in three days?”
“I told you I required a week,” said Dawkins, roughly, “Let go my arm. I tell you I am in haste.”
“Very well, mon ami,” said Duval, slowly relinquishing his hold, “take care that you do not forget. There are four days more to the week.”
Dawkins hurried on feeling very uncomfortable. He was quite aware that four days hence he would be as unprepared to encounter the Frenchman as now. Still, something might happen.
Something, unfortunately, did happen.
The next day Mr. Danforth was counting a roll of bills which had been just paid in, when he was unexpectedly called out of the counting-room. He unguardedly left the bills upon his own desk. Dawkins saw them lying there. The thought flashed upon him, “There lies what will relieve me from all my embarrassment.”
Allowing himself scarcely a minute to think, he took from the roll four fifty dollar notes, thrust one into the pocket of Paul’s overcoat, which hung up in the office, drew off his right boot and slipped the other three into the bottom of it, and put it on again. He then nervously resumed his place at his desk. A moment afterwards, Paul, who had been to the post-office, entered with letters which he carried into the inner office and deposited on Mr. Danforth’s desk. He observed the roll of bills, and thought his employer careless in leaving so much money exposed, but said nothing on the subject to Dawkins, between whom and himself there was little communication.
Convicted of theft.
Half an hour later Mr. Danforth returned.
“Has any one been here?” he asked as he passed through the outer office.
“No, sir,” said Dawkins, with outward composure though his heart was beating rapidly.
While apparently intent upon his writing he listened attentively to what might be going on in the next room. One,—two,—three minutes passed. Mr. Danforth again showed himself.
“Did you say that no one has been here?” he demanded, abruptly.
“Have either of you been into my office since I have been out?”
“I have not, sir,” said Dawkins.
“I went in to carry your letters,” said Paul.
“Did you see a roll of bills lying on my desk?”