“Now sign it,” he said. “Here, John, take care of this carbon. Bolles, your signature.” Bolles scrawled a shaking hand. Warrington put the paper in his pocket. “Bite, both of you now, if you dare.”
“I’ll trouble you for that carbon,” said McQuade.
“Hardly. But you have my word of honor that it shall not be used against you unless you force me. It will repose in my deposit box at the bank. But as for you, Morrissy, this climate doesn’t suit your abilities. The field is too small. Take my advice and clear out. That is all, gentlemen. Come, John.”
When they were gone Morrissy turned savagely upon McQuade.
“I told you you were a damn fool!”
“Get out of here, both of you; and if you ever stick your heads in this office again, I’ll smash you.”
McQuade dropped into his chair, once more alone. He sat there for an hour, thinking, ruminating, planning; but all his thinking and ruminating and planning had but one result: they had him licked. Morrissy was right; he was a fool. The girl! He would have liked her throat in his fingers that moment, the sneaking, treacherous baggage! Licked! To go about hereafter with that always menacing him! But there was one ray of consolation. He knew something about human nature. Bennington and Warrington would drift apart after this. Bennington had cleared up the scandal, but he hadn’t purged his heart of all doubt. There was some satisfaction in this knowledge. And Warrington would never enter the City Hall as Herculaneum’s mayor.
By November John and his wife were on the way to Italy. There is always a second honeymoon for those who have just passed the first matrimonial Scylla and Charybdis; there is always a new courtship, deeper and more understanding. Neither of them had surrendered a particle of their affection for Warrington, but they agreed that it would be easier for all concerned if there came a separation of several months.
“You are all I have,” said Warrington, when they bade him good-by. “I shall be very lonely without you. If I lose the election I shall go to Japan.”
“There’s always Patty and the mother,” said John, smiling.
“Yes, there’s always Patty and her mother. Good-by, and God bless you both. You deserve all the happiness I can wish for you.”
Warrington plunged into the campaign. It would keep him occupied.
Mrs. Bennington and Patty lived as usual, to all outward appearance. But Patty was rarely seen in society. She took her long rides in the afternoon now, always alone, brooding. Her young friends wondered, questioned, then drifted away gradually. Poor little Patty! No one had told her; the viper had not been shaken from her nest. Day after day she waited for the blow to fall, for the tide of scandal to roll over her and obliterate her. She was