Harry, who had stood with shoulders braced against a great tree on the sidewalk, had heard every word of the old maid’s outburst, and an unrestrained burst of joy had surged up in his heart. His father was coming round! Yes—the tide was turning—it would not be long before Kate would be in his arms!
St. George held no such sanguine view, although he made no comment. In fact the outbreak had rather depressed him. He knew something of Talbot’s stubbornness and did not hope for much in that direction, nor, if the truth be told, did he hope much in Kate’s. Time alone could heal her wounds, and time in the case of a young girl, mistress of herself, beautiful, independent, and rich, might contain many surprises.
It was with a certain sense of relief, therefore, that he again sought the inside of the club. Its restful quiet would at least take his mind from the one subject which seemed to pursue him and which Miss Clendenning’s positive and, as he thought, inconsiderate remarks had so suddenly revived.
Before he had reached the top step his face broke out into a broad smile. Instantly his spirits rose. Standing in the open front door, with outstretched hand, was the man of all others he would rather have seen—Richard Horn, the inventor.
“Ah, St. George, but I’m glad to see you!”, cried Richard. “I have been looking for you all the afternoon and only just a moment ago got sight of you on the sidewalk. I should certainly have stepped over to your house and looked you up if you hadn’t come. I’ve got the most extraordinary thing to read to you that you have ever listened to in the whole course of your life. How well you look, and what a fine color you have, and you too, Harry. You are in luck, my boy. I’d like to stay a month with Temple myself.”
“Make it a year, Richard,” cried St. George, resting his hand affectionately on the inventor’s shoulder. “There isn’t a chair in my house that isn’t happier when you sit in it. What have you discovered?— some new whirligig?”
“No, a poem. Eighteen to twenty stanzas of glorious melody imprisoned in type.”
“One of your own?” laughed St. George—one of his merry vibrating laughs that made everybody happier about him. The sight of Richard had swept all the cobwebs out of his brain.
“No, you trifler!—one of Edgar Allan Poe’s. None of your scoffing, sir! You may go home in tears before I am through with you. This way, both of you.”
The three had entered the coffee-room now, Richard’s arm through St. George’s, Harry following close. The inventor drew out the chairs one after another, and when they were all three seated took a missive from his pocket and spread it out on his knee, St. George and Harry keeping their eyes on his every movement.