He turned away and hurried to the foot of the steps of the Mellicite Club.
He had no time to ponder on the nature of that mystery which he had uncovered in the shabby cottage in Rose Alley nor to wonder what sort of persecution it was that could enlist a mother’s aid in that grotesque fashion against her own daughter.
He had not time even to frame a plan of campaign against the man whom the patient waiters in Union Hall were expecting him to capture.
The bell in the tower was booming its nine strokes and the Honorable Archer Converse was coming down the steps from his club, erect, crisp, immaculate, dignified—tapping his cane against the stones.
CORRALING A CONVERT
Mr. Converse bestowed only a careless glance at the stranger who was waiting at the foot of the club-house steps.
The young man accosted him, not obsequiously, but frankly.
“I know you always take a turn in the park at this hour, Mr. Converse. I beg your pardon, but may I walk for a few steps with you?”
“Why do you want to walk with me?”
“It’s a matter—”
“I never discuss business on the street, sir. Come to my office to-morrow.”
He marched on and Farr went along behind him.
“You heard?” demanded the attorney.
“I heard.” Farr replied very respectfully, but he kept on.
He had rushed away from the girl and had come face to face with Mr. Converse, his mind utterly barren of plan or resource. That interim on which he had counted as a time in which he might devise ways and means had been so crowded with happenings that all consideration of plans in regard to Archer Converse had been swept from his mind.
At all events, he had rendered a service in that time; he had made good use of that forty-five minutes—that reflection comforted him even while he dizzily wondered what he was to do now.
That service had demanded sacrifice from him—why not demand something from that service? An idea, sudden, brazen, undefendable, even outrageous, popped into his head. He had no time for sensible planning. Mr. Converse was glancing about with the air of a citizen who would like to catch the eye of a policeman.
“I know all about you, Mr. Converse, even if you know nothing about me. I’m making a curious appeal—it’s to your chivalry!”
That was appeal sufficiently novel, so the demeanor of Mr. Converse announced, to arrest even the attention of a gentleman who usually refused to allow the routine of his life to be interrupted by anything less than an earthquake. He halted and fronted this stranger.
“A man who wears that,” proceeded Farr, indicating the rosette of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion in the lapel of Mr. Converse’s coat, “and wears it because it came to him by inheritance from General Aaron Converse is bound to listen to that appeal.”