Kitty nodded. She was too interested in this new phase of the situation to speak.
“Yes, seven would have to be the hour, Mr. Kling” said O’Day.
“Vell, make it seven o’clock, den.”
“And if,” he continued in a still more serious voice, “I should on certain days—absent myself entirely, would that matter?”
Otto was being slowly driven into a corner, but he determined not to flinch with Kitty standing by. “No, I tink I git along vid my little Beesvings.”
O’Day studied the pavement for an instant, then looked into space as if seeking to clear his mind of every conflicting thought, and said at last, slowly and deliberately: “Very well. Then I will be with you in the morning at nine o’clock. Now, good day, Mrs. Cleary. I know we will get on very well together, and you, too, Mr. Kling. Thank you for your confidence.” Then, turning to the Irishman: “Don’t forget, Mike, that the street-door is open and that I’m up two flights. You will find the number on this card.”
The customary scene took place when Felix, late that afternoon, handed his landlady the overdue rent. Now that the two crisp bills which O’Day owed her lay in her hand, she was ready to pass them back to him if the full payment at all embarrassed him. Indeed, she had never had a more quiet and decent lodger, and she hoped it didn’t mean he was “goin’ away,” and, if she was rather sharp with him the night before, it was because she had been “that nervous of late.”
But Felix, ignoring her overtures, only shook his head in a good-natured way. He would begin packing at once, and the express wagon would be here at six. She would know it by the white horse which the man was driving. When his trunks were finished he would put them outside his bedroom door, and please not to forget his mackintosh and leather hat-case which he would leave inside the room.
So the packing began. First the sole-leather trunk, from which he had taken the hapless dressing-case the night before, was pulled out and the heavy black tin box hauled into position and unlocked. With the raising of the scarred and dented top a mass of letters and papers came into view, filling the box to the brim— some tied with red tape, others in big envelopes. In a corner lay some photographs—one in a gilt frame, the edge showing clear of the tissue-paper in which it was wrapped. This he took out and studied long and earnestly, his lips tightly pressed together. Retying the paper, he tucked them all back into place, turned the key, shook the box to see that the lock held tight, picked it up with one hand by its side handle, and, throwing open the door, deposited it on the landing outside. Its leather companion was then placed beside it, the hat-case crowning the whole.
Mike’s voice was now heard in the narrow front hall. “How fur is it up, mum? Oh, another flight! Begorra, it’s as dark as a coal-hole and about as dirty!” This was followed by: “Oh, is that you, sor? How many pieces have you?”