“I’ll just run up and look,” said Bittridge, and he took the stairs two at a time, before Kenton could protest, when they came out into the hall together. “It’s all right,” he reported on his quick return. “I’ll just look round below here,” and he explored the ground-floor rooms in turn. “No, you hadn’t opened any other window,” he said, glancing finally into the library. “Shall I leave this paper on your table?”
“Yes, leave it there,” said Kenton, helplessly, and he let Bittridge close the front door after him, and lock it.
“I hope Miss Lottie is well,” he suggested in handing the key to Kenton. “And Boyne” he added, with the cordiality of an old family friend. “I hope Boyne has got reconciled to New York a little. He was rather anxious about his pigeons when he left, I understand. But I guess Dick’s man has looked after them. I’d have offered to take charge of the cocoons myself if I’d had a chance.” He walked, gayly chatting, across the intervening lawn with Kenton to his son’s door, where at sight of him bra. Richard Kenton evanesced into the interior so obviously that Bittridge could not offer to come in. “Well, I shall see you all when you come back in the fall, judge, and I hope you’ll have a pleasant voyage and a good time in Europe.”
“Thank you,” said Kenton, briefly.
“Remember me to the ladies!” and Bittridge took off his hat with his left hand, while he offered the judge his right. “Well, good-bye!”
Kenton made what response he could, and escaped in-doors, where his daughter-in-law appeared from the obscurity into which she had retired from Bittridge. “Well, that follow does beat all! How, in the world did he find you, father?”
“He came into the house,” said the judge, much abashed at his failure to deal adequately with Bittridge. He felt it the more in the presence of his son’s wife. “I couldn’t, seem to get rid of him in any way short of kicking him out.”
“No, there’s nothing equal to his impudence. I do believe he would have come in here, if he hadn’t seen me first. Did you tell him when you were going back, father? Because he’d be at the train to see you off, just as sure!”
“No, I didn’t tell him,” said Kenton, feeling move shaken now from the interview with Bittridge than he had realized before. He was ashamed to let Mary know that he had listened to Bittridge’s justification, which he now perceived was none, and he would have liked to pretend that he had not silently condoned his offences, but Mary did not drive him to these deceptions by any further allusions to Bittridge.
“Well, now, you must go into the sitting-room and lie down on the lounge; I promised Dick to make you. Or would you rather go up-stairs to your room?”
“I think I’ll go to my room,” said Kenton.
He was asleep there on the bed when Richard came home to dinner and looked softly in. He decided not to wake him, and Mary said the sleep would do him more good than the dinner. At table they talked him over, and she told her husband what she knew of the morning’s adventure.