“You going away! You!” she cried in a half-frightened tone. “Oh, please don’t, Uncle George! Oh!—I don’t want you away from me! Why must you go? Oh, no! Not now—not now!”
Her distress was so marked and her voice so pleading that he was about to tell her the whole story, even to that of the shifts he had been put to to get food for himself and Todd, when he caught sight of Willits making his way through the throng to where they sat. His lips closed tight. This man would always be a barrier between him and the girl he had loved ever since her babyhood.
“Well, my dear Kate,” he replied calmly, his eyes still on Willits, who in approaching from the other room had been detained by a guest, “you see I must go. Mr. Pawson wants me out of the way while he fixes up some of my accounts, and so he suggested that I go back to Wesley for a few months.” He paused for an instant and, still keeping his eye on Willets, added: “And now one thing more, my dear Kate, before your escort claims you”—here his voice sank to a whisper—“promise me that if Harry writes to you you will send him a kind, friendly letter in return. It can do you no harm now, nor would Harry misunderstand it—your wedding is so near. A letter would greatly cheer him in his loneliness.”
“But he won’t write!” she exclaimed with some bitterness—she had not yet noticed Willits’s approach—“he’ll never write or speak to me again.”
“But you will if he does?” pleaded St. George, the thought of his boy’s loneliness overmastering every other feeling.
“But he won’t, I tell you—never—never!”
“But if he should, my child? If—”
He stopped and raised his head. Willits stood gazing down at them, searching St. George’s face, as if to learn the meaning of the conference: he knew that he did not favor his suit.
Kate looked up and her face flushed.
“Yes—in one minute, Mr. Willits,” and without a word of any kind to St. George she rose from the sofa and with her arm in Willits’s left the room.
One winter evening some weeks after St. George’s departure, Pawson sat before a smouldering fire in Temple’s front room, reading by the light of a low lamp. He had rearranged the furniture—what was left of it—both in this and the adjoining room, in the expectation that Fogbin (Gorsuch’s attorney) would move in, but so far he had not appeared, nor had any word come from either Gorsuch or Colonel Rutter; nor had any one either written or called upon him in regard to the overdue payment; neither had any legal papers been served.
This prolonged and ominous silence disturbed him; so much so that he had made it a point to be as much in his office as possible should his enemy spring any unexpected trap.
It was, therefore, with some misgivings that he answered a quick, impatient rap on his front door at the unusual hour of ten o’clock. If it were Fogbin he had everything ready for his comfort; if it were any one else he would meet him as best he could: no legal papers, at any rate, could be served at that hour.