At three o’clock the elevator made another trip to the top floor and Ellis rushed over to the unfriendly doorbell. This time there was stubborn determination in his face. The singing ceased and a roar of laughter followed the hush of a moment or two.
“Come in!” called a hearty voice, and Ellis strode firmly into the studio.
“You are just in time for a ‘night-cap,’ Ellis,” cried Harrison, rushing to the footman’s side. Ellis, stolidly facing the young man, lifted his hand.
“No, thank you, sir,” he said, respectfully. “Mr. Montgomery, if you’ll excuse me for breaking in, I’d like to give you three messages I’ve brought here to-night.”
“You’re a faithful old chap,” said Subway Smith, thickly. “Hanged if I’d do A.D.T. work till three A.M. for anybody.”
“I came at ten, Mr. Montgomery, with a message from Mr. Brewster, wishing you many happy returns of the day, and with a check from him for one thousand dollars. Here’s the check, sir. I’ll give my messages in the order I received them, sir, if you please. At twelve-thirty o’clock, I came with a message from Dr. Gower, sir, who had been called in—”
“Called in?” gasped Montgomery, turning white.
“Yes, sir, Mr. Brewster had a sudden heart attack at half-past eleven, sir. The doctor sent word by me, sir, that he was at the point of death. My last message—”
“This time I bring a message from Rawles, the butler, asking you to come to Mr. Brewster’s house at once—if you can, sir—I mean, if you will, sir,” Ellis interjected apologetically. Then, with his gaze directed steadily over the heads of the subdued “Sons,” he added, impressively:
“Mr. Brewster is dead, sir.”
SHADES OF ALADDIN
Montgomery Brewster no longer had “prospects.” People could not now point him out with the remark that some day he would come into a million or two. He had “realized,” as Oliver Harrison would have put it. Two days after his grandfather’s funeral a final will and testament was read, and, as was expected, the old banker atoned for the hardships Robert Brewster and his wife had endured by bequeathing one million dollars to their son Montgomery. It was his without a restriction, without an admonition, without an incumbrance. There was not a suggestion as to how it should be handled by the heir. The business training the old man had given him was synonymous with conditions not expressed in the will. The dead man believed that he had drilled into the youth an unmistakable conception of what was expected of him in life; if he failed in these expectations the misfortune would be his alone to bear; a road had been carved out for him and behind him stretched a long line of guide-posts whose laconic instructions might be ignored but never forgotten. Edwin Peter Brewster evidently made his will with the sensible conviction that it was necessary for him to die before anybody else could possess his money, and that, once dead, it would be folly for him to worry over the way in which beneficiaries might choose to manage their own affairs.