“Easy, easy,” said Pryor, soothingly. “I’ve just told you I don’t want to come in at all.”
“Then what do you want?”
“I came to tell you just one thing: to go easy up there at Mr. Madison’s house.”
Corliss laughed contemptuously. “It’s my house. I own it. That’s the property I came here to sell.”
“Oh, I know,” responded Pryor. “That part of it’s all right. But I’ve seen you several times with that young lady, and you looked pretty thick, to me. You know you haven’t got any business doing such things, Corliss. I know your record from Buda Pesth to Copenhagen and——”
“See here, my friend,” said the younger man, angrily, “you may be a tiptop spotter for the government when it comes to running down some poor old lady that’s bought a string of pearls in the Rue de la Paix——”
“I’ve been in the service twenty-eight years,” remarked Pryor, mildly.
“All right,” said the other with a gesture of impatience; “and you got me once, all right. Well, that’s over, isn’t it? Have I tried anything since?”
“Not in that line,” said Pryor.
“Well, what business have you with any other line?” demanded Corliss angrily. “Who made you general supervisor of public morals? I want to know——”
“Now, what’s the use your getting excited? I’m just here to tell you that I’m going to keep an eye on you. I don’t know many people here, and I haven’t taken any particular pains to look you up. For all I know, you’re only here to sell your house, as you say. But I know old man Madison a little, and I kind of took a fancy to him; he’s a mighty nice old man, and he’s got a nice family. He’s sick and it won’t do to trouble him; but—honest, Corliss—if you don’t slack off in that neighbourhood a little, I’ll have to have a talk with the young lady herself.”
A derisory light showed faintly in the younger man’s eyes as he inquired, softly: “That all, Mr. Pryor?”
“No. Don’t try anything on out here. Not in any of your lines.”
“I don’t mean to.”
“That’s right. Sell your house and clear out. You’ll find it healthy.” He went to the door. “So far as I can see,” he observed, ruminatively, “you haven’t brought any of that Moliterno crowd you used to work with over to this side with you.”
“I haven’t seen Moliterno for two years,” said Corliss, sharply.
“Well, I’ve said my say.” Pryor gave him a last word as he went out. “You keep away from that little girl.”
“Ass!” exclaimed Corliss, as the door closed. He exhaled a deep breath sharply, and broke into a laugh. Then he went quickly into his bedroom and began to throw the things out of his trunk.