By the Tip of an Eyelash
A. C. Allenson
Who wrote "The Cobweb Sweeper," “The Draft," etc.
TERRY: O’ROURKE leaned heavily against the rails of the race-course, near the Judge’s box. The last race was over and the crowd that had thronged the track was fast melting away. Terry felt that in about ten years he might come round sufficiently to be able to crawl to the cars. The shock had been dramatically sudden. Half an hour before he had been on thick velvet, and then the darkest of dark horses had nosed out a perfectly preposterous victory, putting O’Rourke to the cocoanut matting with an efficiency that, as such, left nothing to be desired. His present assets were seventy cents and a return railway ticket to Grantchester and trouble. It is in such an hour that Wisdom, the prig, mocks at one’s calamities, and Conscience, that venerable Pecksniff, hobbles up to get in an unctuous, “I told you so!”
Upon O’Rourke’s red head was a pearljpey derby hat, of much pearliness, that had served to advertise its owner’s bookmaking occupation. He now removed it, placed it carefully on the sward, walked
back briskly half a dozen steps, then turned and launched it into the air after the best manner of a place-kick artist of the football arena. He watched it soar skywards with peculiar satisfaction, and his soul felt largely eased.
“To hell wid it!” muttered O’Rourke. And now for that ould blatherskite Jimmy McShane and little Nora.” With süch covering as beneficent Nature had provided for his head he went forth into the shady avenue leading to Dorville, a brilliant spectacle. Brusquely he rebuked a facetious youth who asked permission to light his cigarette at the flaming locks. The road was crowded with vehicles, now crawling a few yards, then pulling up till the jam ahead eased. Suddenly there was a crash, some rapid-fire conversation, and O’Rourke forgot his sorrows. The driver of a smart racing car, trying to push ahead of the crowd, smashed into a standing machine, shearing away guard, step and one of the lamps. Instead of stopping to make what amends he could, the driver swung on, darted through an onening in the traffic and vanished down a side street. The occupant of the damaged car, a tall, elderly lady, stepped out. She was angry clear through and her snapping black eyes showed her wrath.
“Pretty slick get-away, Ma’am. Please God he breaks his neck,” said O’Rourke eonsolatorily. The woman looked at the ruddy Job’s comforter and the grim look vanished from her face.
“No such luck!” she said. “But I certainly would have liked just two minutes’ conservation with him. Got his number, John?” she asked her chauf-
“Very sorry, Ma’am. I could not catch it,” the man replied.
Now Terry O’Rourke had happened to stand near that particular car most of the giddy afternoon. For an optimistic hour he had entertained dreams of shortly possessing one like it.
“That’s his number, Ma’am.” And he pencilled it on a scrap of paper.
“I am greatly obliged to you,” said the lady, putting away the slip. No vital damage had been done so she decided to continue her journey. She turned to the obliging young man who had helped to clear away the wreckage.
“Lost your hat?” she asked, a smile flickering about her eyes.
“In a manner of speaking, yes, Ma’am,” he replied with a wide grin.' “What use is a white hat to a red-headed man up against it?”
“Perhaps-?” she looked at him en-
“No. Ma'am, thank you kindly," he answered.
“A lift to the city?” she suggested.
“Much obliged, lady,” he replied. “Guess the last train will suit me better, and 1 have my ticket into Grantchester. You see, Ma’am, I've got a wife, and she’s got folks, and to-morrow’s Sunday, and as Sunday’s a holiday they’ll have lots of time to speak their opinion of me. But thank you kindly, Ma’am, all the same.”
She stepped into her car and it moved off. Half an hour later she opened her handbag and looked again at the slip of paper.
“I should have got the address of the Aurora Borealis,” she said.
T IMMY McSHANE was troubled. He never remembered being so utterly under the black dog since the day little Danny underwent the great operation. Jimmy supervised the running of the elevators and maintained order on the street floor of a big office block in Grantchester. A freckle-faced, mercurial Irishman, he was furious with himself for being so fanciful. A dozen times he demonstrated to his reason that he was a fool, but the conclusion brought no relief. A black, suffocating pall enveloped his spirits and, try as he would, he could not get clear.
It all rose from the fact that young Mellish of the Consolidated Bank came out of the offices on the street floor at eleven. This variation in the six-days-aweek continuous performance had upset Jimmy’s sensitive nerves. According to schedule Mellish should leave the bank at twelve-five, saunter to the side door, stop for a word with McShane about the performances, prospects, or promises of Grantchester’s baseball team, and at twelve-ten meet Miss Mary Marlowe, the little lady from the Fulcherville Company’s offices upstairs. Then the pair would go off, with nod and smile to Jimmy, as if Main Street were a bosky Arcady. To-day, when Mellish appeared, an hour ahead of schedule, Jimmy had a facetious remark on his tongue; then he saw the boy’s face. The gay, care-free look had gone, he was grey and haggard. At twelve-ten the girl came down as usual, glanced round quickly, hesitated an instant, then went away alone.
“Things are not as they should be, at all, at all,” muttered Jimmy.
Between two and three the girl came down twice, and McShane saw on her face the shadow of a cloud. When the Consolidated closed for the day, Doggett, its uniformed messenger, came out. As a rule Jimmy had the profoundest contempt for the spruce Doggett, and had been known to express his opinion of him as a “gilded jackass,” but to-day the man had his value. Unprofessional or not, Jimmy’s frazzled nerves could stand the suspense no longer, so he button-holed the dignitary, and asked casually if Mr.
Mellish were sick. With a knowing wink, for which Jimmy could have punched the offending eye, Doggett gave it as his opinion, between man and man, that Jack Mellish was very sick, and likely to be a great deal sicker, so much so that it might be a long day before they saw him
again, unlessAnd Mr. Doggett
knocked his wrists together suggestively, and departed. The heart of McShane dropped like a leaden plummet to the depths of misery’s sea.
“Poor little lady! Holy Saints be good to her!” he muttered. Jimmy was a judge of women. He saw lots of them going up and down his elevators, and was somewhat of a practical philosopher. Dress disguises could not fool him. He knew most kinds, sterling, plated, pewter, commonest lead varnished over, and Mary Marlowe was always to him “the little lady from the fifth floor.” The boy—of course he wasn’t good enough for his luck—but he came as near as could be expected.
SULTRILY the afternoon dragged on.
Jimmy was speaking crabbily to Maggie O’Hara from the tenth floor, who had stopped to ask after Mrs. McShane quite politely, when suddenly his spirits took an inexplicable bound upward. That was Jimmy’s way. Temperament made a shuttlecock of him. One second he would be glowing on the optimistic side of the net, and then, like a flash, he would be at the opposite end of the court, in black depression. Some subtle influence now came like a breeze from the ocean, driving the hot, stale weariness away, as before a salt, vivifying gale. Looking up the corridor, he saw two persons, picturesquely unconventional in the stereotyped throng. The man might have been an English gamekeeper, leggings, velveteens and all. The woman, alert, bronzed, dominating, matched in aggressive power his tall, free-striding masculinity. Outside the door of one of the offices they stopped to chat with an acquaintance. Miss O’Hara noted Jimmy’s look and lingered. She came from the McShane village in Roscommon, so was privileged.
“The man wid the fly-catchers, and hat cocked one side, like the fine buck of an Irish landlord i s Lord Eastbury,” he said, answering her enquiry.
“Not him as was Lord Lif-tinant av Ireland?” she asked awesomely.
“The same lad,” replied Jimmy.
“Vice-r-r-r-oy of Ireland! Vice-r-r-roy of India, and— all manner of grand jobs!”
“And the funny lady! My stars! Don’t she look the Tartar? And-d-d, the clothes av her! An-n-n-nd, the hat!” giggled the smart little
“Whisht! Ye little omadhaun!” growled Jimmy. “That lady is Miss Pandora Fulcher.”
“What! The lady who took little Danny to the big doctor to be cured of his lameness?” she asked. “And her rolling in millions, and to rig up like that! An-n-d the shoes av her! Brogans like thim cost seven an’ six, no more and no less in Wirranahinch. I never saw them this side the water before.” And she shook her head.
“Here they come!” said Jimmy. “And there’s your car. Maggie.”
When Miss Pandora saw McShane, erect as a flagpole, she put out her hand.
“John!” she said to the Earl. “Let me introduce Jimmy McShane, formerly of County Roscommon. This is the Earl of Eastbury, Jimmy. I daresay you and your friends spent many a cold hour behind a stone wall with a shotgun, praying for the pleasure of his nearer acquaintance.”
“Byegones are byegones in Ireland now, eh, Mr. McShane?” said the Earl, shaking hands. “Well, I’ll be off, Pandora. We shall see you at Eastbury for Christmas?”
Miss Pandora lingered a moment to ask after Mrs. McShane and Danny, then entered the elevator and ascended to the fifth floor.
Tj'' ZRA FLAXTON, superintendent of •L-rf the Fulcherville Company, was awaiting her when she reached the offices. He was a grizzled, quiet man, under whose capable hand the vast organization ran like a fine watch movement.
“What is this about the Consolidated, Ezra?” she asked, after they had run through the list of pencilled items she had before her. “The mills have done
business with them at Frampton since my father’s young days, and I don’t like to cut away from them. I had a note from Mr. Steeton, the president, asking for an appointment.”
“I closed the account very reluctantly,” said Flaxton. “There have been developments in the management of the bank I« did not approve of, and which I felt sure you would not approve. Too much skyrocketing. Old man Steeton, who remains at the Frampton end, is being run by a clique his son gathered together downstairs. The youngster thinks his front name is Napoleon, instead of just Bill, and he’s cultivating the forehead lock and Man of Destiny expression. He has egged on the old man to butt into Grantchester and New York where he doesn’t belong, and his destiny is to be backed up into a blind alley one of these fine days. He’ll never know, till the bandages come off, whose brick it was that laid him out. Rubber and coffee plantations, land development schemes, and a pile of other flim-flam deals in places it takes a fortune and half a lifetime to get at!
“When a bank gets too deep in the outside interests of its customers, and the shady section of them, too, it is apt to find it hard to decide which of the two masters to serve, and, of course, being human in the last analysis, it generally prcKS the wrong one,” he continued.
^ Miss Pandora nodded. She liked old Ezra in the pulpit, debouncing modern business heresies.
“A bank should play no favorites,” he went on, encouraged. “It should grant no special privileges to side partners, with love, hot air, and dreamstuff as collateral. I’d fire an office boy whom I caught gambling with the stamp box, so I fired old Steeton’s bank. I am no believer in the principle that sends to jail the man who steals the goose from the common, and sends to the Senate the man who steals the common from the goose. I guessed Steeton would appeal to Cæsar.” He smiled grimly, knowing how much good that would do. An appeal from F 1 a x t o n ’ s judgment to that of Miss Pandora had small chance success.
AFTER he had left to catch his train to Fulcherville, she sent for Mary Marlowe, the assistant secretary. There were accumulations of private business to clear off. The girl was a favorite of Miss Pandora’s who had personally advanced her to the responsible position she held. Quick, competent and intelligent, she was a valuable assistant, and personal matters, not attended to by the principal herself, were in Miss Marlowe’s hands. To-day the work did not go at all well. More than one Miss Fulcher looked up sharply at some evidence of the girl’s preoccupation. The pretty, clever face was pale, and, despite effort to focus attention upon the matters before them, she had a jaded, worried look that was very unusual. The room was hot, for the sultriness of the atmosphere made the air of the sun-baked offices seem stagnant and dead.
“It is getting late, so we'll stop for today,” said Miss Pandora, pushing away a bundle of papers. “You don’t look over fit, Mary. No wonder. This place is like a Turkish bath.”
The girl apologized for her dulness. “Never mind, my dear,” answered her employer. “There’s nothing of special importance, and I wished to have a chat with you. How would you like to become my private secretary? Annabelle Rogers who has been with me twenty years, is getting married on Thursday. She has hypnotized a musty old professor—what of, corns or Sanskrit, I haven’t the remotest idea. He comes round every day at three to read to her sugary bits from ‘The Angel in the House.’ Sits at her feet to read—that’s what made me think his line might be chiropody. ‘Angel in the House!’ ’’ she repeated in deep disgust. “Wait till he sees her in curl papers at seven in the morning, yawning over her stockings.
He’ll know a lot more about
angels then than he appears to now. You never had a moth-eaten professor read ‘The Angel in the House’ to you, did
“Well then, don’t. If one should try it on, just brain him with the volume and have done with it. Now what about it? The secretary job, I mean. You would get nearly double the salary we pay you here, but then, of course, you’d have to travel and live with me to earn it.”
“There is nothing I would like better,” replied the girl. “But I am engaged to be married, and we did think-”
“The trail of the serpent is everywhere,” groaned Miss Pandora heavily. “You poor, foolish child. Can’t you fire him, and regain your happiness and peace of mind? Most of them are just trouble makers, and the very minute the surpliced choir bleat the ‘Amen’ part to ‘The Voice that Breathed o’er Eden,’ your peace has gone. Well, think it over, Mary. Off you go home and rest, you look tired out. A week on my yacht, the Xantippe with spray and spindrift flying about you would put color into those cheeks that belongs to them.”
When the girl had gone, the cashier came in with some memorandum she had called for.
“Do you happen to know whom Miss Marlowe is engaged to, Harrison?” she asked her confidential employee.
“Mr. Mellish, teller at the Consolidated downstairs,” he replied.
“Hm!” she said, and busied herself with the details of the statement he had brought to her. She remained, working at her private affairs after the other people had gone. Her car was to call at six, and a few minutes before that hour she went downstairs.
SHE was waiting for the return of the boy Jimmy had sent to look for her auto when two men entered the building by the side door. They walked along the now deserted corridor to the
Consolidated offices, tapped and were admitted.
“Working overtime in the bank tonight?” Miss Pandora remarked to Jimmy.
“That’s O’Shaughnessy from the Central Station,” he answered with a groan. “Poor lad !”
“What’s the matter?” she asked, her interest roused.
In a few excited words he told her what he knew of the trouble young Mr. Mellish of the bank was in.
“Mellish!” she repeated, the jaded face of Mary Marlowe coming up before her.
Without another word to the astonished man, she walked up to the bank door, and rapped. It was opened by the president, Mr. Steeton, himself. He looked greatly perturbed, and the astonishment with which he beheld his notable visitor did not lessen this.
“I called as I was passing to say that the hour named in your note—eleven— will suit me very well,” she said, in response to his greeting.
Besides Mr. Steeton, there were three men present; one whom Jimmy had called O’Shaughnessy, another who had accompanied him and whom Miss Pandora gathered was voung Steeton, and a third, Mellish, doubtless.
"Well. I guess we’d better be moving,” said O’Shaughnessy.
“Just one moment, if you don’t mind, asked Mellish. “I would like to speak to Miss Fulcher, if I may.”
The president looked perplexed, his son annoved, by the requestl
“It is scarcely necessary to trouble Miss Fulcher, is it?” the latter enquired.
“No trouble at all,” said Miss Pandora. “I should like to hear what he wishes to sav to me.”
“All I wish to ask,” said Mellish, when the door of the private office closed, “is that you will make things as easy as you can for Mary Marlowe. She knows something is wrong, but does not suspect it is as bad as this. We are engaged, and I am under arrest on the charge of stealing from the bank. It will be a fearful blow to her, and I’d like to have it broken as easily as possible.”
SHE looked at him steadily. Her words to Mary about trouble makers came back to her. She felt more than a little bitterness in regarding the man who had wrecked his own life, and that of the girl who loved him to her sorrow. He did not flinch before her scrutiny.
“I have done no wrong, Miss Fulcher, to cause Mary to be ashamed of me,” he said, answering her unspoken interrogation. “I am clean of that which they charge against me.”
“I will make it as easy as I can for her,” she replied, opening the door, and returning to Mr. Steeton.
“I know nothing of the details of this matter,” she said to the latter. “Mr. Mellish has spoken to me only of a private affair, but. Mr. Steeton, is there no other wav than this?”
“I wish I could find one, ’ he replied. “It is a matter of ten thousand dollars. If there were restitution by this young man, we might reconsider the matter of prosecution, though that, as you know, would be in contravention of our fixed rule, which is to prosecute.”
“Restitution is out of the question,” Mellish spoke up. “I am innocent of theft as you, yourself, Mr. Steeton.”
“I wish I could believe that, Mellish,” replied the president. “No officer of the
bank has enjoyed my confidence more absolutely. It is a keen personal trouble to me.” The old man spoke with evident sincerity. He was a genial, friendly man.
“It was suggested to me this morning that I clear out,” said Mellish. “The motive was doubtless friendly, and opportunity was offered, but I refused to brand myself as guilty, so I came back here. I had nothing to do with the stealing, and I do not know who the thief is. I admit the evidence is strongly against me, and I don’t blame you for the steps you have taken. Perhaps, with more time, I might have been able to prove what I say, but there need be no more talk about restitution or clearing out. I have done no wrong, I have nothing to run away from, and I can face the music, if needs be.” “Is it necessary to take immediate action, Mr. Steeton?” asked Miss Pandora, greatly impressed by the strong candor of the young man. “Faces, I know, often lie, but this one impresses me as truthful.
“Suppose you suspend action for fortyeight hours? If he is arrested now I shall go with him before the magistrate and give what bail may be required. Would it not serve your interest just as well to take my word here that I will produce him at the end of the stipulated time, if you want him, or, failing my ability to do this, I will indemnify the bank against loss? I am willing to take a chance for two reasons, the boy’s apparent squareness and courage, and the happ i n e s s of someone I am interested in.”
“I shall be glad to accede to that,” said the kindly old man. He went out, and the detective took his departure.
THE story as given to Miss Pandora by Jack Mellish was a curious one. Clearly there was a very strong case against him. Between closing time at the Consolidated one Saturday at noon and opening time on Monday morning a package containing ten thousand dollars in twenties had disappeared. The bills belonged to a new issue of the bank. There were three paying tellers in the boxes, and each one had some of the new notes on Saturday, which usually was a heavy paying-out day By an odd coincidence none of the new bills had been put out. Those the other tellers handled were accounted for, those Mellish had were miss-
Shortly after the loss had been discovered, one of the bank’s customers, a tailor in business nearby, paid in some money to his account, and, among the bills, were two of the missing issue. Asked how he came by them, he stated that Mr. Mellish paid them to him early the same morning, settling a personal account Mellish admitted this, and explained that he went out with a friend on Saturday afternoon to the race track at Dorville. His friend, interested in racing, urged him to bet on a twenty to one shot. He invested twenty-five dollars, and, as luck would have it, the tip turned up trumps. The friend cleaned up a thousand and Mellish five hundred. It was from the roll he had won that he paid his tailor on the way down to the bank in the morning. He had noticed that some of the bills were of the new Consolidated issue, but supposed they had been put out by his fellow tellers. Who the man was with whom he had placed his bet he did not know. The race had been the last of the meeting, betting was prohibited nominally, and had to be done more or less under cover, and he, himself, was a
very rare visitor at the track. His friend could vouch for the story, so far as the bets were concerned. He admitted that, upon examining the remainder of his winnings, he had discovered three more of the missing bills.
“What about proof of this?” asked Miss Pandora. “You have got some clue surely to the identity of the man you won from?”
“All I know about him is that he was dressed rather loudly, as many bookmakers of the cheaper kind are, with light colored hat, green vest, and coat and trousers of big check tweed. He had, I think, the reddest hair I ever saw in my life,” replied Mellish.
“It must have been the Aurora Borealis,” said Miss Pandora. “I felt it in my bones that I had missed something when I neglected to get the address.”
She packed Mellish off to Dorville to hunt up information on the spot, and instructed her personal attorney, Richard Ambler, to put the best man he could find on the trail of the lurid unknown.
MARY MARLOWE spent the next day with Miss Fulcher at her hotel in Grantchester. A note from Mellish, saying that he had gone away for a day or two on business, dispelled much of the cloud, and the tart humor of her employer had a tonic effect on her spirits. After dinner she went home, and, left alone, Miss Pandora suddenly decided to go to the McShane home to see what the summer vacation in the country had done for her little protege, Danny. To watch the improvement in the lad was an unfailing delight to her. The thin frame was slowly filling out. The wistful look of suffering childhood had passed away. There was still a dragging halt of the long-disused leg, but it was coming back to its own. Much less than men spend on an orchid, a postage stamp, a bit of china, had made a healthy body, a contented mind, and a glad soul out of a bit of human wreckage. The world had become nearer Paradise to Jimmy and Annie McShane, instead of the place of torture it had been before.
Miss Pandora rarely gave notice of her visiting intentions, thereby saving the devastating orgies of house cleaning that were deemed necessary when her comings were announced. This evening Jimmy answered the ring, in shirt sleeves and felt slippers, to his vast embarrassment.
“Now, Mrs. McShane, leave that apron on, and if Jimmy thinks I’ve never seen a man in his shirt sleeves before, he’s much mistaken,” said Miss Pandora. “I just called to see how young Christy Mathewson is looking. Stand up, Danny! Shoulders squared! Head up! He looks like an army cadet, 'pon my word he does! Now show me, Danny boy, how you get that hop on your fast one. And the muscles of the boy!” She felt him as if he had been a fattening turkey, and his obsequies were at hand.
In a corner of the room were two other persons. The pretty, dark-eyed girl was an indubitable McShane, the younger edition of her mother.
The young man had the reddest head Miss Fulcher had ever seen. He stared at the visitor, then his mouth opened, and a grin beamed out over the ruddy expanse of face. Miss Pandora winked at him, and shot a rebuking glance. He picked it up very intelligently. His mouth closed, and his left eyelid flickered an instant.
Continued on page 91
By the Tip of an Eyelash
Continued from page 22
"This, ma’am,” said Mrs. McShane, “is j my married girl, Nora O’Rourke.”
“And the young man,” added Jimmy severely, “is Terry O’Rourke. Her husband, so he is.”
Little Mrs. O’Rourke rose blushingly and made a little bow, while her husband elongated his vast frame, and touched his forelock. He began: “Pleased to
me-” when the sharp elbow of his j
wife dug into his ribs. It was not seemly for the likes of him to say he was pleased i to meet so grand a person as Miss Pandora Fulcher.
O’Rourke’s sole protector seemed to be little Danny, who edged near him, a guardian look on his face. Danny had golden memories of glorious jaunts, when big Terry carried him into the country in the old helpless days.
“I’ve heard Danny speak of you, Mr. O’Rourke,” said Miss Pandora. “Interested in horses, I think I heard?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” he replied with a sheepish grin.
“No lies!” commanded Jimmy sternly. “It’s a gambler he is. Shame on us that have to own it.”
“Now Jimmy!” rebuked Mrs. McShane. “The boy is sorry for his foolishness, and has quit. Ye’ve been like a dog wid a bone, so ye have. You’ve bit it, and chewed it, and buried it, and dug it up again. Now let it be for good an’ all. We all make mistakes now and again, don’t we, Miss Fulcher?”
“The Lord have mercy on those who don’t,” replied Miss Pandora. “And the best gambling luck is to be loser.”
“Then, by jabers, he’s the luckiest in the world, asking your pardon, Ma’am," said Jimmy. “Lost everything last Saturday afternoon at Dorville track. Thought he had invented a new kind av arithmetic that made his a winner whoever was loser. Wint out wid a wad of siven hundred dollars, and came home, by the same token wid a smile.”
“And no hat!” added little Mrs. O’Rourke, viciously.
“Well, I couldn’t figure on a twenty to one crowbait running minutes faster than ever he did in his life before,” said O’Rourke in excuse. “A couple of guys took fifteen hundred out of me, but till then I was on velvet.”
“Perhaps I could put you in the way of a job, if that’s what you are looking for,” said Miss Pandora. “At any rate call at the offices at ten to-morrow.” This stroke of good luck dissipated the clouds and little Mrs. O’Rourke so far relented as to box her husband’s ears, which led to much hugging and squeezing in the corner. And so peace descended on the McShane home.
** A ND you are fond of horses still, in spite of the black Saturday?” asked Miss Pandora next morning when O’Rourke expressed a desire to take a job at Fulcherville.
“Sure, Ma’am! Ye can’t blame the whole world for wan deceiver,” he said.
“Well, you won’t forget that Saturday in a hurry, I guess?” she suggested.
“Never,” he said confidently. “What with McShane yammering, and Nora cross, I’m not likely to. It has been Ginger from first tap to lights out. Ginger
was the horse that put the skids under me, Ma’am.”
“How did you manage to lose $1,500, when you took but seven out?” she enquired.
“I won all down the card,’’ he explained. “There was a guy with a fat roll put a good many hundreds my way, playing favorites. I did hear he dropped ten thousand on the track. There I was, la shin’s to the good when a couple of sports came along and put up fifty and twenty-five on the long shot. It looked like found money to me, and that’s where the slit-up came. Fifteen hundred gone to glory, riding on the tip of the eyelash of a hypnotized skate!”
“Do you remember the men you betted with?” she asked.
“Guess I do,” he replied with conviction. “The plunger I’d know anywhere, though he sat in a corner of the stand out of the way. I didn’t see the face of the man who butted into your car on the road, but I’ve a sort of notion he was the same man who dropped the chicken feed my way for the hawks to come and pick up. The chaps who soaked me I could tell in a million.”
She pushed a button, and Jack Mellish entered, to O’Rourke’s bewilderment.
“Ginger!” groaned the latter, as if the ghost of his dead roll stood before him. A dozen questions leaped to the lips of Mellish.
“One moment,” said Miss Pandora. “If you will wait a moment in the next room, Mr. Mellish, you may question him all you want later.”
“You have pretty good eyes,” she observed, looking at O’Rourke. “I want vou to take a note to the Consolidated Bank downstairs. While you wait for an answer look round. If you see any one there you met at Dorville last Saturday, tell me when you come back. You need not let the person know you recognize him.”
She scribbled a note asking Mr. Steeton to come to her in an hour’s time. In five minutes O’Rourke was back, profound amaze in his eyes.
“Saints preserve us!” he exclaimed. “I thought this a big burg, but it is no bigger than Ballyonion in Connemara when ye’re trying to lose the rent collector.”
Mr. Steeton appeared punctually.
“I’d like to speak first about the Mellish affair.” she said. “Mr. Steeton, the boy told the truth. The improbable tale was literally correct. He did not take the money, and what was traced to him he obtained just as he stated.”
“But-” he began.
“Mr. Steeton,” she continued in a grave, kindly voice, “we are both business people. You were generous the other day in speaking of Mellish and acceding to my request. I do not want to be beaten in that respect. Another employee of the bank left ten thousand dollars with the bookmakers at Dorville last Saturday.”
“Who could it be?” he asked in bewilderment.
“We will not mention names,” she replied. “Just step downstairs to the bank,
and tell your son what I say. You migh mention further that the guilty person i the man who smashed my car near Dor ville last Saturday afternoon. I wa coming down from Frampton and ran inb the race crowd going home. Tell him als* that I have the men within call who di; the betting with the culprit. No on' knows of this but myself, not even Mr Mellish, and no one will get to know fron me, unless it becomes necessary. Whei you ascertain all, you may be able to un derstand why the Fulcherville Compan; does not feel able to accomodate its gai to that of the Consolidated crowd.”
He went away, and returned in half aí hour. He seemed a broken man, age* years in moments. His eyes were dull his face flushed. He could not speak.
“Never mind trying to say anything Mr. Steeton,” she said gently, “send hin away where he will have to fight his wa; up, as you did. It may cure him of th* supposition that the position he occupied standing on his father’s shoulders, wa due to his own brains and industry Mellish should go back to you to-morrov promoted, but for that gambling ex, perience of his on Saturday. Let his es cape from the trap he made for his owi¡ feet be his reward till he proves up un mistakably.”
THERE was a new man in younp Steeton’s place next morning, an;¡ Jack Mellish was back in his cage againi From that day the Consolidated seemec to take a new lease of life. It is sain at Frampton that the new directorate i j dominated by Mr. Steeton, the President! and Mr. Ezra Flaxton, and that the fra* ternity’s cabalistic sign on the front dooi posts for the benefit of financial tramps* “hand-outs easy, and bulldog’s teetr gone,” has been removed.
O’Rourke had the well-fitting moutlj that opens altogether or not at all, am not one syllable ever escaped him as ti what happened the day he interviewet Miss Fulcher. He is a man of moment ii Fulcherville where he presides over th* stables, with great authority, dignity, ant success, for he knows horses. McShan never ceases to be grateful to Miss Pan dora for making, as he puts it, “a rea man out of a gaudy monkey on a book maker’s stick.”
Jack Mellish is now assistant manage of the Frampton office of the bank, ant Miss Pandora laments the loss of a modi secretary in Mary Marlowe.
Mr. Steeton has recently become aí active supporter of women’s suffrage He savs that a system which bars womei like Miss Pandora Fulcher from enua privileges with men stands self-convicted and only babbling senility, or the jealous ies of conscious Inferiority or incurabl* male bone-headedness, can account for th archaic persistence of an anachronisti folly in this day of efficiency and col* sense. From which deliverance it ma; be deduced that he is back again in th full flower of his orotund eloquence an* sound, if pompously expressed, wisdom.