“I know,” said Laura, sighing. “I know.”
“Laura”—Cora spoke with sudden gravity—“did you ever know anybody like me? I’m almost getting superstitious about it, because it seems to me I always get just what I set out to get. I believe I could have anything in the world if I tried for it.”
“I hope so, if you tried for something good for you,” said Laura sadly. “Cora, dear, you will—you will be a little easy on Hedrick, won’t you?”
Cora leaned against the newel and laughed till she was exhausted.
Mr. Trumble’s offices were heralded by a neat blazon upon the principal door, “Wade J. Trumble, Mortgages and Loans”; and the gentleman thus comfortably, proclaimed, emerging from that door upon a September noontide, burlesqued a start of surprise at sight of a figure unlocking an opposite door which exhibited the name, “Ray Vilas,” and below it, the cryptic phrase, “Probate Law.”
“Water!” murmured Mr. Trumble, affecting to faint. “You ain’t going in there, are you, Ray?” He followed the other into the office, and stood leaning against a bookcase, with his hands in his pockets, while Vilas raised the two windows, which were obscured by a film of smoke-deposit: there was a thin coat of fine sifted dust over everything. “Better not sit down, Ray,” continued Trumble, warningly. “You’ll spoil your clothes and you might get a client. That word `Probate’ on the door ain’t going to keep ’em out forever. You recognize the old place, I s’pose? You must have been here at least twice since you moved in. What’s the matter? Dick Lindley hasn’t missionaried you into any idea of working, has he? Oh, no, I see: the Richfield Hotel bar has closed—you’ve managed to drink it all at last!”
“Have you heard how old man Madison is to-day?” asked Ray, dusting his fingers with a handkerchief.
“Somebody told me yesterday he was about the same. He’s not going to get well.”
“How do you know?” Ray spoke quickly.
“Stroke too severe. People never recover——”
“Oh, yes, they do, too.”
Trumble began hotly: “I beg to dif——” but checked himself, manifesting a slight confusion. “That is, I know they don’t. Old Madison may live a while, if you call that getting well; but he’ll never be the same man he was. Doctor Sloane says it was a bad stroke. Says it was `induced by heat prostration and excitement.’ `Excitement!’” he repeated with a sour laugh. “Yep, I expect a man could get all the excitement he wanted in that house, especially if he was her daddy. Poor old man, I don’t believe he’s got five thousand dollars in the world, and look how she dresses!”