“Won’t he come again?” asked grief-stricken Peter.
“No,” declared the other. “They’ll get him at his home city.”
“But won’t that do?” asked Peter, naively.
“You damned fool!” was McGivney’s response. “We wanted to get him here, where we could pluck him ourselves.”
The rat-faced man hadn’t intended to tell Peter so much, but in his rage he let it out. He and a couple of his friends had planned to “get something” on this young millionaire, and scare the wits out of him, with the idea that he would put up a good many thousand dollars to be let off. Peter might have had his share of this—only he had been fool enough to let the bird get out of his net!
Peter offered to follow the young man to his home city, and find some way to lure him back into McGivney’s power. After McGivney had stormed for a while, he decided that this might be possible. He would talk it over with the others, and let Peter know. But alas, when Peter picked up an afternoon newspaper next day, he read on the front page how young Lackman, stepping off the train in his home city that morning, had been placed under arrest; his school had been raided, and half a dozen of the teachers were in jail, and a ton of Red literature had been confiscated, and a swarm of dire conspiracies against the safety of the country had been laid bare!
Peter read this news, and knew that he was in for another stormy hour with his boss. But he hardly gave a thought to it, because of something which had happened a few minutes before, something of so much greater importance. A messenger had brought him a special delivery letter, and with thumping heart he had torn it open and read:
“All right. Meet me in the waiting-room of Guggenheim’s Department Store at two o’clock this afternoon. But for God’s sake forget Nell Doolin. Yours, Edythe Eustace.”
So here was Peter dressed in his best clothes, as for his temporary honeymoon with the grass widow, and on the way to the rendezvous an hour ahead of time. And here came Nell, also dressed, every garment so contrived that a single glance would tell the beholder that their owner was moving in the highest circles, and regardless of expense. Nell glanced over her shoulder now and then as she talked, and explained that Ted Crothers, the man with the bulldog face, was a terror, and it was hard to get away from him, because he had nothing to do all day.
The waiting-room of a big department-store was not the place Peter would have selected for the pouring out of his heart; but he had to make the best of it, so he told Nell that he loved her, that he would never be able to love anybody else, and that he had made piles of money now, he was high up on the ladder of prosperity. Nell did not laugh at him, as she had laughed in the Temple of Jimjambo, for it was easily to be seen that Peter Gudge was no longer a scullion, but a man of the world with a fascinating