When he was gone, Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene realized, for the first time in sixteen years, that she had married a man. Suddenly her knees gave from under her, and she sank into her chair, staring at the floor with unseeing eyes. For sixteen years!
That afternoon Warrington had a visit. His visitors were Jordan, the reporter, and Osborne. They appeared to be in high spirits.
“We’ve got him, Dick!” exclaimed Jordan, swinging his hat.
“Morrissy—Morrissy and McQuade,” said Osborne, in his whisky-roughened voice. “We’ve got ’em all right, Dick. Look at this,” tossing a wrinkled sheet of carbon-paper on Warrington’s desk.
Warrington spread it out. It took him but a minute to find out the richness of his possession.
“Where did you come across this?” he asked eagerly.
“My niece found it in her waste-basket. I’ve sent her into the country to visit relatives,” said Osborne. “But if you use it, Dick, you’ll have to find the girl another job in some other town.”
“You leave that to me. This is worth a thousand to me and a thousand more to John Bennington. Now, both of you go down to any restaurant in town and order what you like, and as long as you like, and you have them call me up if there’s any question.”
The reporter and the semi-outcast smiled at each other. They saw their appetites appeased to satiety.
“Does a bottle go with the order, Dick?” asked Jordan.
“Half a dozen!” laughed Warrington.
“I’ve put you in the City Hall, Dick,” said Osborne. “And don’t forget me when you’re there.”
“Will there be a story for me?” Jordan asked.
“You’ll have a page, Ben.”
“That’s enough. Well, come on, Bill; we’ll show the new mayor that we can order like gentlemen.”
“I remember—” But Osborne never completed his reminiscence. Jordan was already propelling him toward the door.
Once the door had closed upon them, Warrington capered around the room like a school-boy. The publication of this confederacy between Morrissy and McQuade would swing the doubting element over to his side and split the ranks of the labor party.
Patty, Patty Bennington! He must see her. It was impossible to wait another day. When was it he had seen her last? Patty, dark-eyed, elfish, winsome, merry! Oh, yes, he must see her at once, this very afternoon. He could no longer repress the tide of his love, which surged at the flood-gates of his heart with mighty pressure. Patty! Patty!
“Patty is not feeling well,” said Mrs. Bennington, as she welcomed Warrington at the door, an hour later. “I will call her. I am sure she will be glad to see you.”
Warrington went into the music-room, placed his hat on the piano, and idled about impatiently. That morning he had not possessed the courage; now he was willing to face lions and tigers, anything rather than permit another day to pass without telling Patty that he loved her. When she finally appeared she was pale, her eyes were red, but her head was erect and her lips firm.