“The President handed me that last night,” said Craig, when he saw that her glance was on the last line. “And he told me he had decided to ask Stillwater to stay on.”
Margaret gave the clipping to Grant. “Give it to him,” she said and started toward the house.
Craig sprang before her. “Margaret,” he cried, “can you blame me?”
“No,” said she, and there was no pose in her manner now; it was sincerely human. “I pity you.” She waved him out of her path and, with head bent, he obeyed her.
The two men gazed after her. Arkwright was first to speak: “Well, you’ve got what you wanted.”
Craig slowly lifted his circled, bloodshot eyes to Arkwright. “Yes,” said he hoarsely, “I’ve got what I wanted.”
“Not exactly in the way a gentleman would like to get it,” pursued Grant. “But you don’t mind a trifle of that sort.”
“No,” said Craig, “I don’t mind a trifle of that sort. ’Bounder Josh’—that’s what they call me, isn’t it?”
“When they’re frank they do.”
Craig drew a long breath, shook himself like a man gathering himself together after a stunning blow. He reflected a moment. “Come along, Grant. I’m going back in your machine.”
“The driver’ll take you,” replied Arkwright stiffly. “I prefer to walk.”
“Then we’ll walk back together.”
“We will not!” said Arkwright violently. “And after this morning the less you say to me the better pleased I’ll be, and the less you’ll impose upon the obligation I’m under to you for having saved my life once.”
“You treacherous hound,” said Craig pleasantly. “Where did you get the nerve to put on airs with me? What would you have done to her in the same circumstances? Why, you’d have sneaked and lied out of it. And you dare to scorn me because I’ve been frank and direct! Come! I’ll give you another chance. Will you take me back to town in your machine?”
A pause, Craig’s fierce gaze upon Grant, Grant’s upon the ground. Then Grant mumbled surlily: “Come on.”
When they were passing the front windows of the house Craig assumed that Margaret was hiding somewhere there, peering out at them. But he was wrong. She was in her room, was face down upon her bed, sobbing as if her first illusion had fallen, had dashed to pieces, crushing her heart under it.
A NIGHT MARCH
Arkwright saw no one but his valet-masseur for several days; on the left side of his throat the marks of Craig’s fingers showed even above the tallest of his extremely tall collars. From the newspapers he gathered that Margaret had gone to New York on a shopping trip—had gone for a stay of two or three weeks. When the adventure in the garden was more than a week into the past, as he was coming home from a dinner toward midnight he jumped from his electric brougham into Craig’s arms.