“Talbot—old fellow,” he had said with a tear in his voice, “I have misunderstood you and I beg your pardon. You’ve behaved like a man, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
At which the stern old aristocrat had replied, as he took St. George’s two hands in his: “Let us forget all about it, St. George. I made a damned fool of myself. We all get too cocky sometimes.”
Then there had followed—the colonel listening with bated breath—St. George’s account of Kate’s confession and Harry’s sudden exit, Rutter’s face brightening as it had not done for years when he learned that Harry had not yet returned from the Seymours’, the day’s joy being capped by the arrival of Dr. Teackle, who had given his permission with an “All right—the afternoon is fine and the air will do Mr. Temple a world of good,” and so St. George was bundled up and the reader knows the rest.
Later on—at Moorlands of course—the colonel, whose eyes were getting better by the day and Gorsuch whose face was now one round continuous smile, got to work, and had a heart-to-heart—or rather a pocket-to-pocket talk—which was quite different in those days from what it would be now—after which both Kate and Harry threw to the winds all thoughts of Rio and the country contiguous thereto, and determined instead to settle down at Moorlands. And then a great big iron door sunk in a brick vault was swung wide and certain leather-bound books were brought out—and particularly a sum of money which Harry duly handed over to Pawson the next time he drove to town—(twice a week now)—and which, when recounted, balanced to a cent the total of the bills which Pawson had paid three years before, with interest added, a list of which the attorney still kept in his private drawer with certain other valuable papers tied with red tape, marked “St. G. W. T.” And still later on—within a week—there had come the news of the final settlement of the long-disputed lawsuit with St. George as principal residuary legatee—and so our long-suffering hero was once more placed upon his financial legs: the only way he could have been placed upon them or would have been placed upon them—a fact very well known to every one who had tried to help him, his philosophy being that one dollar borrowed is two dollars owed—the difference being a man’s self-respect.
And it is truly marvellous what this change in his fortunes accomplished. His slack body rounded out; his sunken cheeks plumped up until every crease and crack were gone, his color regained its freshness, his eyes their brilliancy; his legs took on their old-time spring and lightness—and a wonderful pair of stand-bys, or stand-ups, or stand-arounds they were as legs go—that is legs of a man of fifty-five.