“Oui, ma’m’selle—she live across in the little house where there are plant in the window—she live with the good Mother Maillet what I told you about.” He pointed to the cottage. “You go some time and talk with her—but not now,” he added, his fears flaming. He was anxious to be the first to talk to Zelie Dionne, in order that she might help him to protect their friend. “You shall talk with her—soon—p’raps. I will tell her so that she will not be afraid. Yes, you shall hear the play-mamma say good things of poor Rosemarie.”
She bowed and hurried away.
And before her tear-wet eyes the words “play-mamma” danced in letters of fire. It seemed to be only another sordid story.
But she remembered the face of Walker Farr, and in her heart she wondered why she still refused to condemn him.
THE DRIVEN BARGAIN
The Honorable Daniel Breed, “sipping” his thin lips and propping his coat-tails on his gaunt fingers, patrolled the lobby of the National Hotel and his complacency was not a whit disturbed when Richard Dodd passed in front of him and sneered in his face.
“Keep on practising making up faces,” advised the old man, amiably. “Perhaps in the course of time your uncle will give you a job making up faces as his understudy, seeing that his physog is getting so tough he can’t manage it very well these days.”
Young Dodd whirled on his heel and returned. “We’ve got a line on you and your amateur angels, Breed.”
“Don’t consider me an amateur, do you?” asked the old politician, smacking his lips complacently.
“You’re a has-been.”
“Sure thing!” agreed Mr. Breed. “The state committee told me so, and the state committee never made a mistake.”
“We’ve got so much of a line on your crowd that my uncle has called off the organizers. There’s no need of our wasting money in this campaign. You’re that!” He clacked a finger smartly into his palm.
“Oh yes! You’re right! Some snap to us.”
“I mean you’re nothing.”
“Run in and take another drink, sonny,” advised Breed, giving slow cant of his head to denote the baize door through which Dodd had emerged. “What you have had up to date seems to be making you optimistic—and there’s nothing like being optimistic in politics. I’m always optimistic—but naturally so. Don’t need torching!”
“Look here, Breed, we’ve got enough dope on that ex-hobo who is doing your errand-boy work—we know enough about him to kill your whole sorehead proposition. But I don’t believe my uncle will even use it. No need of it.”
“Probably not,” said Mr. Breed, without resentment. “And I wouldn’t if I were he.”
“We won’t descend to it. Now that we have got rid of a lot of old battle-axes of politicians—and I’m calling no names—we can conduct a campaign with dignity.”