“Patty, where do you write letters?” he asked. He called her Patty quite naturally. Patty was in no wise offended.
“In the reading-room you will find a desk with paper and pens and ink. Shall I go with you?”
“Not at all. I’ve only a note to scribble to Senator Henderson.”
Warrington found the desk. Upon it lay a tablet. He wrote hurriedly:
“Start your campaign; I am in it now to the last ditch.”
As he re-read it, he observed a blur in the grain of the paper. On closer inspection he saw that it was a water-mark. He had seen one similar, but where? His heart began thumping his ribs. He produced the inevitable letter. The water-mark was identical. He even laid the letter unfolded on the tablet. It fitted exactly.
“Patty!” he murmured in a whisper.
Patty had never written him a single line; whenever she had communicated to him her commands, it had been by telephone. Patty Bennington! The window was at his elbow. He looked out and followed the sky-line of the hills as they rolled away to the south. Patty! It was a very beautiful world, and this was a day of days. It all came to him in that moment of discovery. He had drifted along toward it quite unconsciously, as a river might idle toward the sea. Patty! The light of this knowledge was blinding for a space. So Warrington came into his own romance. It was not the grand passion, which is always meteoric; it was rather like a new star, radiant, peaceful, eternal.
“Patty!” He smiled.
It was only when the whistle of the returning boat sounded close by that he realized he had been sitting there for nearly an hour. He roused himself, sealed and addressed his letter to the senator, and hurried down to the dock. Patty was alone, mending some tackle.
“It must be a long letter,” she remarked, standing up and shaking her skirts.
“Why, this is only the beginning of it,” he replied ambiguously. “It is never going to end.”
“Mercy! It must be a postscript.”
He had no retort handy, so he contented himself with watching the approach of the boat.
“Some men are never satisfied,” she said owlishly. “If I were a successful dramatist, such as you are, a public office would look rather tawdry.”
“But it’s real, Patty; it’s life and not mummery.”
“I don’t know,” doubtfully; “from what I have read, there are more puppets in and about a City Hall than ever dangled in the puppet booth. Did I give you permission to call me Patty?” demurely.
“Not that I recollect.” The boat came sweeping up to the dock, and he tossed the senator’s letter to the boy. The boat went on with a musical gurgle. “But when I especially like anything, I usually appropriate it.”
“I can see that you will make a good politician.”
He laughed happily.