His letters home were infrequent, for he found that his powers of invention were being rapidly depleted. It was difficult to write glowing accounts of the business success he was upon the point of achieving on the strength of any of the positions he so far had held, and doubly so during the far greater period that he had been jobless and hungry. But he had not been able to bring himself to the point of admitting to his family his long weeks of consistent and unrelieved failure.
Recently he had abandoned his futile attempts to obtain positions through the medium of the Help Wanted columns.
“It is no use,” he thought. “There must be something inherently wrong with me that in a city full of jobs I am unable to land anything without some sort of a pull and then only work that any unskilled laborer could perform.”
The truth of the matter was that Jimmy Torrance was slowly approaching that mental condition that is aptly described by the phrase, “losing your grip,” one of the symptoms of which was the fact that he was almost contented with his present job.
He had driven for about a week when, upon coming into the barn after completing his morning delivery, he was instructed to take a special order to a certain address on Lake Shore Drive. Although the address was not that of one of his regular customers he felt that there was something vaguely familiar about it, but when he finally arrived he realized that it was a residence at which he had never before called.
Driving up the alley Jimmy stopped in the rear of a large and pretentious home, and entering through a gateway in a high stone wall he saw that the walk to the rear entrance bordered a very delightful garden. He realized what a wonderfully pretty little spot it must be in the summer time, with its pool and fountain and tree-shaded benches, its vine-covered walls and artistically arranged shrubs, and it recalled to Jimmy with an accompanying sigh the homes in which he had visited in what seemed now a remote past, and also of his own home in the West.
On the alley in one corner of the property stood a garage and stable, in which Jimmy could see men working upon the owner’s cars and about the box-stalls of his saddle horses. At the sight of the horses Jimmy heaved another sigh as he continued his way to the rear entrance. As he stood waiting for a reply to his summons he glanced back at the stable to see that horses had just entered and that their riders were dismounting, evidently two of the women of the household, and then a houseman opened the door and Jimmy made his delivery and started to retrace his steps to his wagon.
Approaching him along the walk from the stable were the riders—two young women, laughing and talking as they approached the house, and suddenly Jimmy, in his neat white suit, carrying his little tray of milk-bottles, recognized them, and instantly there flashed into recollection the address that Harriet Holden had given him that night at Feinheimer’s.