Mr. Converse merely grunted, tapping his cane more viciously.
They were on the frontier of the Eleventh Ward now. The brighter lights of the avenues of up-town blazed before them.
“Then you will not go into politics?” inquired Farr.
“I’d sooner sail for India with a cargo of hymn-books and give singing-lessons to Bengal tigers.”
“Good night, sir,” said Farr. He halted on the street corner which marked the boundary of the ward.
“Good night, sir!” replied Mr. Converse, striding on.
The young man watched him out of sight. He heard the angry clack of the cane on the stones long after the Honorable Archer Converse had turned the next corner.
“Maxim in the case of a true gentleman,” mused Farr: “tap his conscience on the shoulder, point your finger at the enemy, say nothing, simply stand back and give conscience plenty of elbow-room—it needs no help. There, by the grace of God, goes the next governor of this state.”
CONSIDERATION: ONE DAUGHTER
On the morning following his discomfiture Richard Dodd posted himself in a little tobacco-shop opposite the Trelawny Apartment-house. Lurking behind cigar-boxes in the window, he held the door of the house under surly espionage. It was plain to the shopkeeper that “the gent had made a night of it.” Dodd’s eyes were heavy, his face was flushed, and he lighted one cigarette after another with shaky hands.
Shortly before nine o’clock Kate Kilgour came out and walked down the avenue on the way to her work. Dodd stared after her until she was out of sight. Shame and anger and desire mingled in the steady gaze he leveled on her; in her crisp freshness she represented both the longed-for and the unattainable. He was conscious of a new sentiment in regard to her. In the past his impatience had been tempered by the comforting knowledge that she had promised herself to him—that she was his to own, to possess after a bit of tantalizing procrastination. Now he was not at all sure of her. He had been just a bit patronizing in the past—his successes with women had inflated his conceit—he had exhibited a rather careless air of proprietorship—his manner had said to her and to others, “This is mine; look at it!” But now when he had watched her out of sight jealousy, anger, the sour conviction that he had forfeited her regard combined to make him desperate, and the excesses of the night before kindled a flame which heated all his evil passions.
He threw away his cigarette, cursed roundly aloud, and hurried across the street into the Trelawny.
When Mrs. Kilgour admitted him to her suite she clung to the door-casing, exhibiting much trepidation.
He stepped in, closed the door, and put his back against it.
“Have you got those hysterics out of you so that you can listen to me and then talk sense?” he demanded, coarsely.