While it was true that Felix, since Masie’s party, had gained the complete good-will of his neighbors, there were, strange as it may seem, certain individuals who, while they acknowledged the charm of his personality, resented his quiet reserve. What nettled them most was his not having told them at once who he was and why he had come to Kling’s, and why he had stayed on wrapped in mystery. They considered themselves, so to speak, as defrauded of something which was their right and said so in plain terms.
“Well, I hope it won’t be a pair of handcuffs they’ll surprise him with some day”; or, “When that pal of his turns up, then you’ll see fun,” being some of the suggestions frequently made over counters, to be answered by his loyal adherents with a “Well, I don’t care what ye say. I ain’t never come across no man any better than Felix O’Day since I lived here, and that’s no lie.”
There were others, too, who refused to believe any good of the self-contained, reticent stranger. The nephew of somebody’s brother-in-law, who lived in Lexington Avenue, was one. He had been promised, by the cousin of somebody else, the position of clerk with Otto Kling, and although Otto had never heard of it, he would have heard of it and the nephew been duly installed but for “a galoot who said his name was O’Day.”
And another thing. What was a fellow, who would work under a Dutchman like Kling, for only enough to pay his board, doing with a dress suit, anyhow? The fact was that O’Day was either here “on the quiet” to escape his creditors, while his friends were trying to patch things up for his return, or he was an English valet who had stolen his master’s clothes.
A new rumor now filled the air. O’Day, was a spy sent by some foreign government to look after important interests, like that Russian who had been employed in a publishing house, where he wrote articles for an encyclopaedia, only to be recognized later, whereupon he had disappeared and was never seen again. Tim Kelsey had known him. In fact, he had visited often Tim’s bookstore at night, just as O’Day was visiting it, and where a lot of other queer-looking people could be found if anybody would “take the trouble to knock at Kelsey’s door and peer in through the tobacco smoke some night.”
All this gossip rolled off Kitty’s mind as rain from a tin roof. Only once did she rise up in anger with a “Get out of my place! I’ll not have ye soiling the air with yer dirty talk. Get out, I say! Ye don’t know a gentleman when ye see him, and ye never will.”
It was when these rumors as to her lodger’s identity were thickest and when Kitty’s heart had begun to fear that his despondency was returning, his nightly prowls having been resumed, that a hansom cab stopped in front of her door.