Kent fairly leaped upon him. “God bless you!” he cried huskily. “God bless you, Fingers! Look! Look at that!” He pulled Fingers to the little window, and together they looked out upon the river, shimmering gloriously under a sun-filled sky of blue. “Two thousand miles of it,” he breathed. “Two thousand miles of it, running straight through the heart of that world we both have known! No, you’re not old, Fingers. The things you used to know are calling you again, as they are calling me, for somewhere off there are the ghosts of Lost City, ghosts—and realities!”
“Ghosts—and hopes,” said Fingers.
“Hopes make life,” softly whispered Kent, as if to himself. And then, without turning from the window, his hand found Fingers’ and clasped it tight. “It may be that mine, like yours, will never come true. But they’re fine to think about, Fingers. Funny, isn’t it, that their names should be so strangely alike—Mary and Marette? I say, Fingers—”
Heavy footsteps sounded in the hall. Both turned from the window as Constable Pelly came to the door of the cell. They recognized this intimation that their time was up, and with his foot Fingers roused his sleeping dog.
It was a new Fingers who walked back to the river five minutes later, and it was an amazed and discomfited dog who followed at his heels, for at times the misshapen and flesh-ridden Togs was compelled to trot for a few steps to keep up. And Fingers did not sink into the chair on the shady porch when he reached his shack. He threw off his coat and waistcoat and rolled up his sleeves, and for hours after that he was buried deep in the accumulated masses of dust-covered legal treasures stored away in hidden corners of the Good Old Queen Bess.
That morning Kent had heard wild songs floating up from the river, and now he felt like shouting forth his own joy and exultation in song. He wondered if he could hide the truth from the eyes of others, and especially from Kedsty if he came to see him. It seemed that some glimmer of the hope blazing within him must surely reveal itself, no matter how he tried to hold it back. He felt the vital forces of that hope more powerful within him now than in the hour when he had crept from the hospital window with freedom in his face. For then he was not sure of himself. He had not tested his physical strength. And in the present moment, fanned by his unbounded optimism, the thought came to him that perhaps it was good luck and not bad that had thrown Mercer in his way. For with Fingers behind him now, his chances for a clean get-away were better. He would not be taking a hazardous leap chanced on the immediate smiles of fortune. He would be going deliberately, prepared.