“And I presume likely you asked him that very thing. Well, bring him into the dinin’ room and tell him I’ll be right there. Humph!” she added, after Primmie had departed, “I wonder what Raish Pulcifer wants to see me about. I can’t imagine, but I guess it isn’t likely to be very important. I’ll be back in a few minutes, Mr. Bangs.”
It was, however, a full half hour before she re-entered the sitting room, and when she did so there was a puzzled expression on her face.
“Now, that’s funny,” she observed, musingly; “that certainly is funny. What is he drivin’ at, I wonder?”
“Mr. Pulcifer?” inquired Galusha.
“Why, yes. He didn’t say so in so many words; in fact, he didn’t really say much of anything right out. He wouldn’t be Raish Pulcifer if he was straight and plain. He talked about the weather and how he hadn’t seen me for some time and just thought he’d call, and so on. That was just greasin’ the ways for the launchin’, as father would have said. He edged around and edged around and finally brought up the thing I’m pretty sure he came to see me about, my two hundred and fifty shares of Wellmouth Development Company stock.”
Galusha caught his breath. “Eh?” he exclaimed.
“Yes; I think he came to see me about just those shares. Of course, he thinks I’ve still got them. He talked about his own shares and about the company in general and how it wasn’t likely to amount to much and—oh, well, never mind; he talked a mile before he gained a foot. But I think, Mr. Bangs, I think he came to see if I would sell him that stock of mine, and, if I would, what I would sell it for. Considerin’ that only a little while ago he told you he wouldn’t touch the Wellmouth Development stock with a ten-foot pole, that’s kind of funny, isn’t it?”
Galusha had some difficulty in falling asleep that night. The habit of dropping into a peaceful and dreamless slumber within five minutes after blowing out his lamp, a habit which had been his for the past month, was broken. He had almost succeeded in forgetting the Wellmouth Development Company. His distress of mind and conscience concerning his dealings with it had very nearly vanished also. He had been forced into deceit to save Martha Phipps from great trouble, and the end justified the means. Having reached that conclusion in his thinking, he had firmly resolved to put the whole matter from his mind.
His one plunge into the pool of finance he had come to believe destined never to be revealed. No one had mentioned the Development Company or its stock for weeks. It was, apparently, dead and satisfactorily buried, and the Bangs’ secret was entombed with it.
And now, if Martha’s surmise was correct, here was a “resurrection man,” in the person of Mr. Horatio Pulcifer, hanging about the cemetery. The capacity for hating was not in Galusha’s make-up. He found it difficult to dislike any one strongly. But he could come nearer to disliking Raish Pulcifer than any one else, and now to dislike was added resentment. Why in the world should this Pulcifer person interfere with his peace of mind?