Twenty-four hours later Adelbert Higgins undertook to recall what had happened to him after he left Muller’s place on East Fourteenth Street, but his memory was tricky. He recollected a vaguely humorous discussion of some sort with a stranger, the details of which were almost entirely missing. He remembered that dawn had broken when he came out of the saloon, but beyond that he could not go with any degree of certainty. There was a hazy memory of an interminable ride in a closed vehicle of some sort, a dizzy panorama of moving buildings, bleak, wind-swept trees, frosty meadows, and land-locked lakes backed by what were either distant mountain ranges or apartment houses. This last, however, was all very blurred and indistinct.
As to who was with him on the ride, or what took place thereafter, he had no memory and no opportunity of learning, owing to certain unexpected and alarming occurrences which made it imperative for him to terminate his connection with his college, as big Marty Ringold had done earlier in the day, and begin to pack his belongings. Partly out of deference to the frantic appeals of his widowed mother, partly owing to the telephoned advice of Mr. Michael Padden, of Sixth Avenue, who said the injured man had recognized one of his assailants, he booked passage to Japan by the next steamer out of Vancouver. He left New York that afternoon by the Twentieth Century Limited, taking with him only one suit-case and a determination to see the world.
Strictly speaking, Kirk Anthony did not awake to a realization of his surroundings, but became conscious of them through a long process of dull, dreamy speculation. He never knew the precise moment when his eyes opened and sleep left him, but at cost of considerable mental effort he finally brought himself to the conviction that hours had passed and another day had arrived. More than once after long, white nights in New York City, he had awakened amid strange surroundings and had been forced to wait upon his lagging memory; but this time his mind refused to work, even after he knew himself to be fully roused. So he closed his eyes with the admonition:
“Now, begin all over again, Kirk. When you left Padden’s place you went to Maxim’s and listened to the fat quartette, then to the place where the waiter held out a dollar. After the trouble at that point, you tried to get into Tony’s rathskeller and couldn’t, so you started for the East Side. Ringold was very drunk. Good! Everything is clear so far. Next you were playing a piano with yellow teeth while somebody sang something about a ’Little Brown Cot.’ After that—Lord, you must have been drinking! Well, let’s run through it again.”
But his efforts were vain; he could recall nothing beyond the piano, so fell to wondering what hotel this could be.