“I’ve got it bad, Peggy,” he replied, staring hard at the floor. She could not understand the cold, gray tone that suddenly enveloped the room. The strange sense of loneliness that came over her was inexplicable. The little something that rose in her throat would not be dislodged, nor could she throw off the weight that seemed pressing down upon her. He saw the odd look in her eyes and the drawn, uncertain smile on her lips, but he attributed them to wonder and incredulity. Somehow, after all these years, he was transformed before her very eyes; she was looking upon a new personality. He was no longer Montgomery, the brother, but she could not explain how and when the change crept over her. What did it all mean? “I am very glad if it will make you happy, Monty,” she said slowly, the gray in her lips giving way to red once more. “Does she know?”
“I haven’t told her in so many words, Peggy, but—but I’m going to this evening,” he announced, lamely.
“I can’t wait,” Monty said as he rose to go. “I’m glad you’re pleased, Peggy; I need your good wishes. And, Peggy,” he continued, with a touch of boyish wistfulness, “do you think there’s a chance for a fellow? I’ve had the very deuce of a time over that Englishman.”
It was not quite easy for her to say, “Monty, you are the best in the world. Go in and win.”
From the window she watched him swing off down the street, wondering if he would turn to wave his hand to her, his custom for years. But the broad back was straight and uncompromising. His long strides carried him swiftly out of sight, but it was many minutes before she turned her eyes, which were smarting a little, from the point where he was lost in the crowd. The room looked ashen to her as she brought her mind back to it, and somehow things had grown difficult.
When Montgomery reached home he found this telegram from Mr. Jones:
New York City.
Stick to your knitting, you damned fool.
LOVE AND A PRIZE-FIGHT
It is best not to repeat the expressions Brewster used regarding one S. Jones, after reading his telegram. But he felt considerably relieved after he had uttered them. He fell to reading accounts of the big prize-fight which was to take place in San Francisco that evening. He revelled in the descriptions of “upper cuts” and “left hooks,” and learned incidentally that the affair was to be quite one-sided. A local amateur was to box a champion. Quick to see an opportunity, and cajoling himself into the belief that Swearengen Jones could not object to such a display of sportsmanship, Brewster made Harrison book several good wagers on the result. He intimated that he had reason to believe that the favorite would lose. Harrison soon placed three thousand dollars on his man. The young financier felt so sure of the result that he entered the bets on the profit side of his ledger the moment he received Harrison’s report.