In which the author gives this tale of suspense an unusual twist
ARCHIE P. McKISHNIE
JONAS HAIGHT and Wesley Trollivor were talking of the Parnley Estate, and of the millions it represented, millions that they virtually controlled; for had not David Webster, the heir, been reported dead? Their satisfaction was short lived, for a wire from the north reported the rumor of death unfounded and presaged the speedy return of Webster. To them ' this moment comes .Xevilles, with his story of the mdow of crime hanging over him, of his hatred of !'■ en ter, the heir, and finally his admission, that he has had lí ebslcr spirited away. Trollivor and Haight v: ‘heir opportunity of covering their defalcations by having .Xevilles impersonate the heir. They feel that ’y can later depose him with gestures of righteous indignation, in imposing on their credulity as one who :mmitted a criminal offense. So Nevilles takes up i t role of David Webster at the Parnley home. Snag Villa. And the story goes on:
Nevilles Gets into “High ”
THE late Parnley had laid out his grounds with an eye to beauty and restfulness. A huge marble fountain splashed and played in the centre of a wide sprean of ‘elvet greensward. Narrow gravel walks redged wit.o r/rrple violets and blue forget-me-nots ran ith.Gr and thithGr in a mazG of intricato windings, among warfed shrubs trimmed to perfect symmetry. Here and - .-.ere a flowering rose-tree or mauve lilac lent vivid contrast to the darker tones of fern and shrub.
Nevilles walked slowly on, drinking in the perfect beauty of the scene. After all, he must have been a wonderful man, he thought, this man -who had made millions : of whiskey. And this hot-headed nephew whom he
had loved had never known it!
“David Webster,” he said half aloud, “you were a fool; you deserve what you’re get tin g now.”
Something jarred on the restfulness of the morning. Turning, he strode swiftly back the way he had come. Gardeners touched their hats to him deferentially, but he passed on unheeding.
Finally he reached the garage. The colored chauffeur was fussing about a low, rakish French car, humming as he worked. Nevilles’ eyes narrowed as they fell on the negro.
“How many miles can that hump-shouldered old girl do, Mose?” he asked.
The chauffeur scratched h i s woolly pate.
“And the speed laws? They’re pretty strict hereabouts, I understand?”
“Stricter den a deacon wif a only daughter, sah.”
“Guess I’ve got enough money on me to see me through,” he said grimly. “Get out of the way!”
Three minutes later he was speeding along a road that seemed to stretch like an amber arrow into a blue infinity of hills and sky. On the one side lay fertile farmlands ■with their prosperous looking houses and barns, flowering orchards and sweeping cow-studded meadows. On the other lay the river, blue gray as the deep waters of a lake, its surface wrinkled by the tug of a current that showed flashing fangs in a rapid farther on.
Suddenly, ahead, as the big car flashed forward, a curve loomed up like a curling wisp of smoke. Nevilles took it on two wheels, darting down a long hill to a bridge that hummed a protest as he flashed across it. Before him lay a town. He caught a blurred view of white gates, green lawns and gesticulating humans as he darted through it. A traffic officer leaped on his motor cycle and gave pursuit. Nevilles laughed.
“If yo’-all tickle her rib,” says he.
He touched the accelerator. The engine throbbed to high and the car leaped forward like a steed that feels the spurs. He glanced back over his shoulder. The constable had given up the pursuit and was writing something in a note book. Why did all policemen seem to be eternally writing things in note books?
FIVE miles further on, the riot in his blood appeased for the time being, he slowed down, and gave himself up to the restful picturesqueness of his surroundings.
Here the river had widened to the drab unruffled surface of a lake. Away across, on its farther shore, a sweep of marshlands lay, a drab blotch against the ether blue of the summer sky. He knew that marshy waste must be Drowned Acres. This reminded him that he desired to see Mr. James Turnbull. He had heard that Turnbull’s
summer home was somewhere in this vicinity. That being so wouldn’t he likely be there now? He wanted to tell that gentleman that all negotiations pertaining to the lease of Drowned Acres were off.
A farm hand carrying a pitchfork was coming toward him down the road. When opposite him Nevilles stopped his car.
“Can you tell me where to find Mr. Turnbull’s place?” he asked.
The man unchamped his quid, took the cigar Nevilles proffered, sniffed it, licked it, lit it, and after a long puff or two, answered:
“Up the road a quarter of a mile.”
Nevilles told himself, as he guided the car between the big stone pillars, that he would have known it was Turnbull’s farm without the information given by the farmer. Only a very wealthy man could own a place so splendidly laid out, so superbly housed and treed. There were great barns and silos. Turnbull’s prize-winning Holstein cattle were known across the continent. Nevilles glimpsed a herd of the royal stock cropping on the side of a hill, their black and white markings gleaming up against thedull gold willows of the creek.
As he guided the car about a twist in the lane, he came suddenly upon a group of people besporting themselves on a velvety tennis-court; several men in white* flannels and sport shirts and ladies in flimsy summer attire.
He was a little surprised to see Wesley Trollivor among, them. He was conversing earnestly with a tall, superblyformed girl of a gypsy cast of beauty. Nevilles’ eyes,, searching for Turnbull, were suddenly hrrested by a symphony in white and gold.
“By George!” he murmured ecstatically, “it’s the* Angel.”
He backed his car behind a gigantic lilac tree. Intent., on the game, neither she nor any of the others had seen him, thanks to the noiseless action of the engine. Nevilles wasn’t caring to see Trollivor just then. He did long to meet the Angel again though. He wondered just how he could get in touch with Turnbull.
THE problem was solved by the appearance of that gentleman himself. He came through the gate and into the lane. Nevilles had time to note the man’s well-knit figure and the calm self assurance in his strong, swarthy face. He was smiling. Apparently his thoughts were* pleasant ones.
The smile vanished as he caught sight of his visitor. Something of quick, intent watchfulness took its place. Nevilles leaped from the car.
“I guess you are Mr. Turnbull?” he said, advancingand holding out his hand. “My name’s David Webster.” Turnbull shook hands. “Glad to meet you, Mr. Webster,” he murmured.
“Perhaps,” said Nevilles, “you won’t be so glad when I tell you why I’m here.”
There was something of a sneer on the wide mouth. Nevilles’ eyes lost their laughter. He was sorry that this man seemed to rub him the wrong way of the grain. He had trouble aplenty without having to fight Turnbull.
“I wanted to speak to you about Drowned Acres” lease,” he said, watching the other closely for the effect of his words.
Turnbull stared at him insolently.
“What about it?” he asked shortly.
‘‘Just this,” replied Nevilles. “I don’t intend to lease the duck grounds.”
Turnbull’s jaw set ominously.
“I’m afraid, Mr. Webster, you can’t very well help it,’” he said. “Your agents have already given their consent to the lease. They assure me that your signature to thepapers is but a matter of form.”
Nevilles grinned good-naturedly.
“Oh, they told you that, did they? Well, Mr. Turnbull.
I like shooting, myself, so I guess I’ll keep Drowned Acres for my own pleasure. Sorry though,” he added, “that I’m obliged to disappoint you and your friends who are in the syndicate.”
“But,” cried Turnbull angrily, “I understood from Mr. Haight and M \ Trollivor that you would sanction thelease without demur. Am I to infer that they were deliberately spoofing me?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” he returned. “I daresay their intentions were honest enough. The trouble was they didn’t think it worth while to consult me in the matter. Which,” he added,“goes to show that they didn’t know me very well.”
“And,” asked Turnbull meaningly, “are you sure you know them?”
' i 'HERE was something sinisterly suggestive in the A question. If Nevilles caught it, his face gave no sign.
“Naturally,” he answered, “I don’t know a great deal about either of my agents—yet. I’m told, however, that they are two of the brainiest, most far-seeing men in the community, and I know that my uncle trusted to their judgment implicitly.”
“But you do not?”
“To a certain extent only,” Nevilles replied. “I never believe in trusting wholly to anybody else’s judgment. I have a colossal respect for my own, you see.”
He smiled again as he noticed Turnbull wince.
“Look here, Webster,” said the latter, throwing aside his veneer of forced politeness, “you and I had better understand each other. You’re a stranger here; what people are going to say and think about you is bound to matter something to you. Now,” as Nevilles looked anxious, “let me tell you something. The men who comprise this syndicate which I have formed, and which was promised a lease of Drowned Acres duck grounds are men whose good will you can’t very well afford to forfeit. They can be of inestimable value to you or they can put you down and out. If you sanction the giving of this lease, well and good. If you do not—”
He threw out his hands.
“Better be sensible, Webster and let us have the grounds.”
NEVILLES’ face was a study. It was apparent to Turnbull that what he had just told him bothered the Parnley heir.
“Mr. Turnbull,” he asked at length, “will you pardon my asking a rather personal questioh? 1 Are your relations to Mr. Haight and Mr.
Trollivor strictly of a business nature?”
Turnbull smiled a satisfied smile. _
“Not altogether,” he answered. “I don’t mind telling you that Mr. Trollivor is engaged to my foster sister, Miss Kimberlie, also that Mr. Haight’s ward, Miss Huntingdon, is soon to become my wife.” Nevilles nodded. *
“That accounts for it,” he said as though to himself. “For what?” Turnbull asked.
“For Trollivor and Haight even considering the leasing of the duck-ground which my Uncle Parnley guarded so jealously. I have heard my uncle say time and again that his preserve must never be shot over save by himself and to whomsoever the property was left. It was an obsession with him. Trollivor knew it; so did Haight. In even contemplating the leasing of Drowned Acres they have been false to a sacred trust. However,” he added and as though granting a concession, “considering my agents’ relationship to yourself, Mr. Turnbull, I am willing to overlook it.”
Turnbull glanced at him quickly. If he saw two devils dancing in the eyes looking into his, he was not warned. “Then,” he asked eagerly, “you consent to the lease?” “I certainly do not!” answered Nevilles dryly. “Good day, Mr. Turnbull.”
He climbed into his car, swung about on the gravelled drive and shot away.
Turnbull stood gazing after him darkly. He might have felt even a deeper aversion for the man who had thwarted him could he have seen him as the maple-hedged highway swallowed him from view.
Nevilles’ face was that of a mischievous boy who had entered a dog-guarded orchard and gotten away with a hatful of apples.
“Oh, lordie!” he laughed, “won’t Haight and Trollivor gnash their teeth when Turnbull tells them? I think I’ll have to watch that gentleman, Turnbull,” he told himself seriously.
From a shady side-road shot a motor-cycle cop. He waved his hand and shouted.
In answer Nevilles grinned and, reaching down, threw the engine into high.
JAMES TURNBULL as he took a last approving glance at himself in the mirror after dressing was satisfied. As a matter of fact self-esteem was by no means one of the smallest ingredients of his composition. A man who had made the money which he had made in as short a time as he had taken to make it had a right, he reasoned, to be satisfied with himself. His was wealth, position and influence, his a power out of the ordinary to do and dare, and win whatever he went after. His was the petty, unfeeling nature of the born amasser, a nature small enough to thrill at the squirm of the something upon which he has placed his heel. And James Turnbull had
placed his heel on many a throat in his climb upward. A few there were who knew him for what he was, half a dozen in all, perhaps, but those few whould never tell. They dare not.
So it was with a feeling of absolute assurance that he paused for a moment to-night before the table in the smoking-room of his luxuriously furnished city home to light a cigarette before going out.
He was a tall, powerfully built man of about forty years of age. His skin was swarthy, his eyes small, slate-gray and habitually masked in a piglike unreadableness. A gamester would have called Turnbull’s a typical “poker face.” The mouth was wide, thin-lipped and cynical beneath a closely cropped moustache. A big diamond blazed on the little finger of his right hand and another almost as ’arge shimmered in his shirt bosom.
As he turned from the table the butler entered the room and glided up to his master.
“You asked me to inform you if Mr. Trollivor left before you went out,” said the servant cringingly. “He has just gone, sir.”
“And Miss Clara, is she still in the drawing room, Jacobs?”
“Yes, sir. At least she was there a moment ago, sir.”
“Tell her I wish to see her here.”
THE butler slipped from the room. Turnbull stood absently opening and closing his monogrammed cigarette case. There was a frown on his face which deepened as he heard the butler’s shuffling steps returning along the hall.
“Well?” he asked shortly.
“I beg your pardon, sir,” said the
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man, “Miss Kimberlie begs to inform you that if you wish to see her you must come to the drawing room.” Turnbull’s lips twisted cynically.
“All right,” he said shortly. “Get out!”
The butler lost no time in obeying. Turnbull went slowly down the wide stairs. Arriving at the drawingroom he paused a moment in the doorway to accustom his eyes to the mauve half-lights that stained glass and tapestry and gave to the room a cathedral atmosphere.
A maid carrying a tray down the hall hesitated as she discovered him standing there.
“Turn on the lights,” he ordered testily, “and take that tray back to the kitchen. Tell Jacobs if anyone calls my sister and I are not at home.”
He entered the sumptuously furnished room bathed now in the glow of many yellow lamps.
On a huge bear skin in the room’s centre, one bejewelled hand resting on a mahogany table, stood a young woman. The small, well-poised head crowned with its mass of raven hair was lifted defiantly; defiance looked from the great black eyes beneath jet, arched brows. A slight flush lent perfection to an olive skinned face of perfect contour.
She was gowned in a simple creation of black lace. On the table before her rested an inlaid jewel-case, open, a rope of pearls lying half in and half out of it as though thrown there carelessly.
\ S SHE looked at Turnbull her red lips parted in a Fl contemptuous smile.
“And what,” he asked, “has occurred to disturb the equanimity of my peerless sister? Can it be that her fiancé, who has just departed, is suing for more time?” He raised his brows, laughing jeeringly.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing for it, Clara, but to continue playing Mr. Wesley Trollivor a little longer.”
He seated himself on a divan and following his wave of invitation, she sank upon the arm of a great chair.
“Jim,” she spoke abruptly, “I’m only your foster sister, thank heaven—and I can’t go on playing this game much longer. If you only knew how I hate and despise that man, you would hurry things a little.”
“Surely the superb Clara hasn’t discovered that she has a conscience?” he scoffed.
“Not as far as Mr. Trollivor is concerned, at least,” she answered. “I don’t mind seeing him suffer. But I do mind being obliged to suffer through him. And,” she added, flashing him a level look, “I don’t intend to continue undergoing humiliation any longer.”
“My dear Clara,” he returned, “is it necessary for me to remind you once again that you will continue to do as I
say; and I say that you will go on keeping Trollivor in hot water until that lobster is sufficiently boiled to admit of my picking his bones without fear of mental, moral or financial indigestion.
“Listen,” he urged, as she gave a shudder of repulsion, “it won’t be for much longer now. This much I promise you. You must go on acting the part of the loving, trusting woman who looks forward fondly to the day when he will make you Mrs. Trollivor.’
Her slippered foot tapped the floor angrily.
“You’ve been saying that for a long time,” she reminded him. “I wmuld like to see him pay for w’hat he has done to me. But Jim, he is becoming unbearable. Do you know, to-night when he cringed before me, making excuses for further extending our engagement, I felt such an actual repugnance for him and myself that I slipped his ring from my finger. Almost I gave it back to him. I had to fight myself.”
TURNBULL was on his feet in an instant.
“You little fool!” he cried angrily. “Once let Trollivor feel that he has nothing to fear from you and away go all your hopes of ever making him pay for all the suffering he has caused you. He would give anything in the world to be free of his obligation to you.”
He took a few quick paces up and down the room. “Listen, Clara,” he said, at length, pausing before her. “yours is a mighty unenviable position, I’ll admit, so I’m willing to hurry things to a head. Give me three or four weeks longer. That’s all I ask. I’ll make it well worth your while, my dear. I’ve got a deal on now which will net me millions. I’ll ditch Trollivor as the skunk deserves and we’ll go to Spain, the country you have always wanted to know.”
She stirred erect with something of interest.
“Perhaps I might learn to forget, there.” she said sadly.
“We will help you,” he told her.
“We? You’ll never get Myra Huntingdon to go with you,” she said. “Never.”
“Oh yes I shall,” he replied lightly. “Leave that to me.”
He sat down on a corner of the table and lit a cigarette.
“Now then, let’s see where we stand, Clara. Trollivor believes that were he to break his engagement with you you would divulge his part in the Nevada Oil swindle, and put him in jail. He doesn’t dream that we know what we know.” He laughed gloatingly.
“But why,” she asked drearily, “is it necessary to keep up this farce? Why not crush him at once?”
“Because,” he returned, “he must be kept on the rack. The more he has to worry about himself, the less inclined he’ll be to pay minute attention to a deal in which he will play a conspicuous part. He’s brainy and cunning and as far-seeing as they make them. But I happen to know that he is very much in love with a certain woman who has disappeared from the place where he had hidden her away. He is half crazed with being obliged to keep his secret and having no way of discovering her whereabouts. In fact,” he added, “Trollivor’s just about due to cave under.”
She gave a little shrug of repulsion.
“I saw Myra to-day,” she said as though to divert the subject. “She was telling me that the Parnley heir has appeared and has taken up his residence at Shag Villa.”
“XI 7HY yes,” frowned Turnbull, “and that reminds » » me that I have an unpleasant duty to perform. The rattle headed idiot has refused to lease us his duck-shooting grounds, and I have to notify my friends to this effect. The fellow had the audacity to come out to River Bend Farm the other morning—and read me the riot act. He was driving a big French car and was more than half drunk. I wonder if Myra has met him?” he asked concernedly.
She shook her head. “I hardly think so-. I know though that she hopes he will spend some of his money in giving the tenement dwellers better homes and all that.”
He laughed contemptuously.
“XYebster strikes me as being the sort of easy mark who would do it,” he sneered. “For my part if I were allowed to do what I’d like to do for these whining good-fornothing swine I’d pitch them off the earth.”
He turned toward the door.
“Now, Clara, patience but a little longer—and Spain, the glorious land of sunshine, for us. Keep Trollivor on his knees for three short weeks. I promise he won’t bother you or anybody after that.”
Left alone, Clara Kimberlie sat gazing straight before her. bejewelled fingers clasped agonizingly, starry eyes which had lost all their hauteur dimmed by the mists of saddened memories. She despised herself for the despicable part she was playing: she rebelled against the weakness which had made her the tool of her'foster brother’s masterly will. Convent reared, she had known absolutely nothing about that craft and guile which form the rounds oí the ladder which men climb toward the attainment of selfish desires. When at length her naturally analytical mind had begun to reason for itself, and she had seen things in their true light, the realization of what she was doing had sickened her. But now it was too late to draw back.
The strain of Spanish blood in her veins, quick to love and quick to hate, had urged her to wreak vengeance on him who had destroyed her happiness, her trust and faith in men. Her heart lay buried w ith the young aviator who slept somewhere in the battle-scarred fields of France. She had loved him with the purity and strength of all her fiery nature. And Wesley Trollivor she believed, had. after depriving him of all that was his. poisoned his mind against her and sent him to his death. Her lover had written her confessing that he had gambled his own and her happiness arid did not merit forgiveness. “1 am going,” he had said, “in the wake of all my dead hopes. Even the old homestead where we were to have spent so many sweet hours is lost.”
’T'HE old home place with its quaint buildings and 1 gnarled apple tret's-how well she remembered it. She could see it now with its snowy blossoms sloping to the lake, its undulating fields of green and gold with the ?d woods beyond: the pine grove on the hill where people. This and the money he had saved for the culmination of his happiness and her’s had been lost to Trollivor.
One short line she had received from the field canopied in the blue haze of death. Its words etched in her brain and heart: “Thank God that for which I long is all about me. Good-bye."
Later she had read, dry-eyed, his name among the list of those who had made the supreme sacrifice. Afterward nothing had mattered. She lived only for vengeance and m this James Turnbull had abetted her. Cleverly, assiduously. he had helped her weave the web which was to enmesh the man she hated. Oh. the glory of holding over him this sword which at any moment she could let fall,
■ if seeing him cringe and tremble at her bidding. She had hidden from him the fact that she knew he had been her lover's undoing. He must never guess the true object of her scheming. She had played her game brilliantly, bringing all her talents, charm and tactfulness to bear toward the supreme culmination of her desires. She had trampled pride, stifled humiliation and all consciousness of
degradation toward J
the revenge which was now all but hers.
With the consummate skill of her sex she had first won Trollivor’» admiration. then she had begun to work on his weaknesses. She fed his vanity, fanned his ambition, encouraged his appetite for drink.
More and more she had drawn him within the web. And one night as they sat
she had disclosed to him the fact that he was helplessly in her power.
The knowledge had sobered him.
But with her white hand on his arm. loathing herself for the despicable part »he was playing, she had given him to understand that the price of her silence was marriage. He was not to misunderstand her. She did not love him. It was his wealth and position that urged
how his face had gone white and the spilled wine from his glass had splashed on his white shirt-bosom like leaping blood from a wound. He had sat silent, staring. She knew he was suffering exquisite torture and the knowiedge
He had agreed to the arrangement, had given her the
solitaire she was r. ow wearing.
With a gesture of abhorrence she drew the diamond from her finger and hurled it across the room. Then she
threw herself on a couch and burst into tears.
“Oh, boy 1 an’t, I can’t!
;'rf," she sobbed, “I can’t go on with it; I
A Tip on Marchand
"pO JAMES TURNBULL’S ring the door was opened
1 by a serving man.
"Mr. Haight asked me to have you go at once to the library, Mr. Turnbull,” he said, as he took the visitor’s
hat and coat.
The servant’s attitude was one of servile respect, as he bowed and shuffling down the hall switched on a cluster of rose-hued lights.
“Miss Huntingdon? She’s at home, Hooper?”
The man shook his head.
“Miss Huntingdon is out, sir. She did not say where she was going nor when she would be back.”
Turnbull turned to the stairs. Arriving at the halfopen door of the library, he paused and looked in. Jonas Haight was seated before a rose-wood table, his chin on his breast. He raised his head slowly as his visitor entered.
“Ah—Turnbull,” he spoke, “you got my message, I see. Shut the door please and lock it, then come over here and sit dowm.”
Turnbull closed and locked the door and took a seat opposite the older man.
“I judged from your message that it must be something imperative,” he said, “so I came at once.”
He lifted the decanter which his host pushed towards him and mixed himself a whiskey and soda.
Haight flashed him a look from calculating eyes.
“Turnbull,” he said huskily, “it was imperative. I’m iu a devil of a tight corner and need your help.”
Turnbull’s face as he raised his glass was inscrutable.
Mr. Haight leaned further forward. The fingers that selected a cigar from the humidor trembled, and the flare of the wax taper disclosed to the watching man a deeper pallor than usual on the thin face.
Turnbull finished his whiskey and soda.
“So you wish to borrow more money?” he said. “How much?”
“More than you will be willing to loan me perhaps,” he answered, “considering—”
Turnbull shook a cigarette from a monogrammed case and lit it leisurely.
“Supposing I said fifty thousand?”
THE steely grey eyes, capable of reading most men, were striving hard to pierce the masked face of the one before him. Turnbull tranquilly blowing blue smokerings ceilingward, beat a tinkling measure on the glass with his finger tips.
“I feared,” began Haight, “that you might consider it unreasonable—”
“I consider it nothing of the kind,” broke in Turnbull.
“I am only too glad to be in a position to loan you the money.”
He tossed his cigarette to an ash tray and drew a cheque book from his pocket. This he filled-in for fifty thousand dollars, payable to bearer, and handed it to the older man.
“Thanks, my boy, thanks.” The tones were grateful. “Now as to security—”
Turnbull waved a hand.
“Never mind that to-night. Later you can give me your note for the amount, as usual.”
“You are very good, ” murmured Haight.
“Nonsense. It’s nothing. This has been a lucky day for me on the stock exchange. Acting on another’s advice—strange thing for me to do—I cleaned up exactly one hundred thousand dollars.”
Haight leaned forward in his chair. His eyes shone with fevered glitter.
“A tip,” he half whispered, “and you cleaned up a cool hundred thousand!”
“Pure luck,” he said. “I was a fool to take the risk.” Haight poured himself a glass of whiskey.
“Yes,” he said absently, “any man’s a fool to risk money on a gamble. I have yet to risk my first dollar.” Turnbull’s eyes swept the room slowly, noting its luxurious fittings, the costly paintings on the walls, every item bespeaking taste and wealth,then back to the sallow, intellectual face of the older man.
“You don’t consider backing Fire Fly to win the Adanac Stakes a gamble then?” he asked.
“Why should I?” exclaimed Haight, “The mare will win, there’s no question about it. Why, man, she can beat anything entered against her by a length. There’s only one horse in America can go a faster mile, and her owner has been disqualified for crooked work. Kentucky Kate won’t be entered. There’s no gamble in backing little Fire Fly; not that I’m backing her myself,” he added quickly, “on principle, I disapprove of betting.”
“Of course. But it adds zest to the game.”
Haight shook his head piously.
“As you know, I never bet,” he said. “But I have an offer of twenty thousand for Fire Fly from the Lingram stables providing she wins the Adanac Stakes.”
“But,” said Turnbull, “I was under the impression that Fire Fly belonged to Miss Huntingdon.”
Haight looked at him and laughed unpleasantly.
“She does, for that matter,” he replied, “as all the horses do. They are a part of her inheritance.”
“And supposing she doesn’t care to sell the mare?” “She’ll do as I
Haight compressed his lips grimly.
“She is still under age and I am her legal guardian. She has never yet questioned the wisdom of any act of mine, nor will she this.” “You mean to say that she is willing to be guided by you in all matters?” Turnbull asked significantly.
The quiet emphasis on the word brought a flush to Haight’s cheeks. He glanced quickly at Turnbull and for the fraction of a moment glimpsed the face of the man without its mask.
“I’ll not pretend to misunderstand you. Turnbull,” he said. “And, as I’ve promised you, I’ve done everything I possibly can to help your suit writh Myra. I can’t very well force her to marry you, you know,” he added irritably as the other smiled queerly.
“Oh,” said Turnbull easily. “I’m not asking you to go so far as that. I daresay everything will come out all right.”
“It will,” declared Haight. "She’s a heady youngster, but you leave her to me. She thinks the world of your foster sister. That ought to help considerably.”
Turnbull bestitated somewhat before making a reply.
“I’d like to think that,” he said slowly, “but I happen to know that my foster sister considers Myra too good for me. She has told me so repeatedly. I can’t expect much help from her, I’m afraid. Besides,” he added darkly, “Clara is becoming something of a worry. She knows altogether too much about me and my business and if she should ever guess what I have done
He bit off the words with a snap 0f his jaws.
“Bah!” sneered Haight. “She’s only a woman.”
“So was Eve,” Turnbull reminded him, “and look what she did to Adam and the rest of us. No, she’s an element that must be reckoned with The girl’s brainy and far-seeing. How I’ve managed to fool her as long as I have, I don’t know.”
TT AIGHT gave a cackling laugh.
A A “Keep on fooling her for a few weeks longer, my boy. That’s all you have to do. You’ll be in clover then.”
“If the deal we’ve shaped together goes over, yes.”
“It’ll go over,” Haight said. “Am I not with you? You said something about brains, I think.”
He touched his forehead, chuckled, and settled far back in his chair.
“But,” demurred Turnbull, “supposing Webster takes one of his cantankerous fits and refuses to rise to the lure?”
Haight pressed the tips of his fingers together and sucked in his breath exultingly.
“Don’t you worry,” he said softly. “I’ll handle Webster.”
The telephone rang. Haight lifted off the receiver.
“It’s for you,” he said, handing the instrument to Turnbull.
For five minutes Turnbull listened to the voice on the other end of the line, occasionally uttering a crisp yes or no.
Then, “All right, Donley,” he said. “You may book me for a thousand shares of Marchand.”
J_TE HUNG up the receiver and turned to Haight.
“You’d think a broker would have more sense than to shoot a tip over an open wire, wouldn’t you?” he asked.
Haight raised his brows.
“Sometimes the open road is the safer,” he vouchsafed, “but if you think your broker committed an indiscretion in forcing you to accept or refuse his proposition before me,” he added with dignity, “let me assure you that neither of you have anything to fear.”
' “Of course I know that,” returned Turnbull apologetically, “but knowing your aversion to gambling in any form I was annoyed at being forced to talk to Donley in your presence.”
Haight dismissed the trifle with a magnanimous wave of his hand. “I suppose I’m a fanatical old ass in thinking gambling the greatest of all vices, but I can’t help it.”
His sharp eyes flashed to Turnbull’s.
“There, there, you mustn’t mind me. I daresay this broker of yours had something sure, otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered you?”
“Yes,” Turnbull admitted. “He says it’s sure, and I believe he knows. It was on his advice I bought largely of a certain stock to-day and cleaned up that hundred thousand.”
Haight caught his breath hard.
“Of course,” he admitted,“it’s none of my business, but if I were you, Turnbull, I’d leave these ‘sure-thing’ tips alone. Not but what you’re wealthy, enough to stand a reverse or two—but, well, there is Myra to consider. She loathes gambling as much as I do.”
Turnbull’s lips twisted in a smile.
“I got the bulk of my money gambling, as you know',” he said quietly; “and I suppose as long as I’m alive I’ll take a chance. However, I’m safe in buying heavily of Marchand to-morrow', Donley’s inside information is authentic.”
Haight shrugged and threw' out his hands.
“Youth will have its head,” he sighed. “By the w'ay, Turnbull, speaking of gambles, I chanced to come in contact with a man not long ago whom it would seem has a number of Nevada Oil shares he seemed anxious to dispose of. His name was Nevilles. Remember anybody by
that name? Or do you know anything about the shares?”
Turnbull shook his head.
“He must have been asleep,” he laughed, “otherwise he would know that the Nevada bubble burst four years ago. You didn’t tell him that you and Trollivor had helped exploit the stock, I suppose?” he asked dryly.
“I’m not exactly crazy,” retorted Haight. “But I would
like to know where he got hold of the shares; he sent a wire to a fellow up north, to Timmins I think it was, stating that he had just learned that the stock wras worthless.”
“To whom was this wire sent?”
“Fellow by the name of Cavers.”
^|~''URNBULL laid down the glass of whiskey he had poured himself and stared at the older man.
“That’s the name. You know him, then?”
Turnbull shook his head. “I did know an Arnold Cavers who bought pretty heavily of Nevada shares, I believe; but this chap was killed in the war.”
“Are you sure of that?”
Turnbull smiled slowdy. “Absolutely. I made it my business to make sure.”
He turned his calculating eyes on Haight.
“Suppose w'e change the subject,” he suggested. “Tell me something about this new' heir, Webster. I infer from w'hat I hear that l e is rather an erratic gent. What if he takes it into his head to buck the proposed sale of the tenement district to me same as he did the leasing of Drowmed Acres?”
“He’ll not,” promised Haight. “The fellowT’s a brainless fool. You watch me handle him.”
“Remember,” Turnbull raised a finger warningly, “I’ve simply got to own that district. After this next big coup is pulled I may settle down and go in for politics. If so, I’ll tear out those rickety saloons and build new' ones. We’ll need a few more pool-rooms and an arena for boxing bouts too. I intend to spend a lot of money dowm there, and I don’t w'ant any plans I’m making to fall through.”
“And how' about the tenement dwellings?” Haight asked.
“I’ll leave them as they are,” Turnbull answered. “They’re paying well enough as they stand.”
“And what’ll you do with Bryce, the man who collects
the rents? Do you think you should keep him on?” “Not on your life,” grated Turnbull. “I don’t trust that fellow; and besides, he knows too much to suit me. I think Bryce is about due to say good-bye to this city.” “My sentiments exactly,” approved Haight. “The fellow’s got a queer kink in him. There are times when he is almost openly rebellious. He’s liable at any moment to turn dangerous. Perhaps,” he suggested, “we had best let him go before you get hold of the property.” “But in that case you’d have to consult Webster, wouldn’t you?”
“As a matter of form, yes.”
“And if he refused to fire Bryce you would be simply putting the fellow on his guard without effecting our ends. No, let Bryce be. I’ll fix him quick enough after I get the whip hand.”
He consulted his watch and rose to leave.
“I’m going to take your advice and back the mare Fire Fly heavily.” he said as he held out his hand.
Haight frowned disapprovingly. “Oh, this betting,” he cried, “how I detest the very sound of the word.” “And,” said Turnbull, “I’m going to take your advice still further and cancel that order I gave Donley to buy Marchand. I’ve been thinking it over and I’m not just satisfied with the tip.”
“Good boy,” commended Haight as he shook his hand. “And thanks. Turnbull, for the loan.”
He accompanied his visitor to the door.
“Good night,” he said, “I’ll tell Myra you were disappointed at not seeing her.”
HE CLOSED the door softly behind Turnbull and locked it Then he tip-toed across to the telephone and softly called a number. There was an exultant smile on his face as he spoke into the transmitter.
“Winslow,” he said in lowered voice, “to-morrow morning, at the opening of the market I want you to buy me fifty thousand shares of Marchand. Never mind that now. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning. Don’t forget—Marchand. Thanks.”
Haight hung up the receiver and stood rubbing his hands together gleefully.
“And to think cf Turnbull, the crafty, close-mouthed Turnbull, throwing a tip’like that in one’s way,” he mused.
Strangely, Turnbull’s words into the phone, after he had reached his club bore a marked similarity to those Haight had just used.
“Donley,” he called guardedly, “I want you to sell all the Marchand you can get hold of short instead of following the order I gave you -which you will cancel now. Get that? Short and keep it up until I give the word. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning. Don’t forget, Marchand. Thanks.”
EROM where he sat at the breakfast table, Mr. Haight's ^ eyes commanded a perfect view of a bewitching picture — two of them, in fact. From furtively scrutinizing the stock reports in the pages of the daily—he was exactly fifty thousand dollars borrowed money poorer than he had been two days ago—his gaze wandered through the window to the spacious grounds of his suburban home, then back to the face of the young girl opposite. That face silhouetted against a bunch of crimson morning roses was perfect in contour. But it was grave this morning and this gave Mr. Haight no little uneasiness. Often he had regretted the responsibility he had assumed as guardian of this self-willed, clear-visioned Myra Huntingdon, ten of whose twenty years of life had been lived beneath his roof, and had grown to look eagerly forward to the time when that responsibility would be lifted; but now when that day was not far distant—he was not so sure that he would welcome it. Certain complications had arisen to make him dread the time when Myra would reach maturity and by the stipulations of her dead father’s -Rail assume control of her fortune.
He became suddenly conscious that her clear eyes were fixed upon him.
“"Guardie,” she addressed him, “why does that man, Mr. Turnbull, insist on proposing marriage to me every time he comes to this house? He knows I detest him.” Haight coughed behind his serviette.
"My dear child,” he answered, "it’s because he is madly in love with you. as anybody can see. And, by the way, Myra,” he added half chidingly. ‘‘don’t you think you are just a bit unreasonable in fostering a dislike against htm for which you have really no cause? Most any other girl in your position would feel highly honored. Mr Turnbull is rich, successful ”
1 ties and flashy jewelry and eats ■ the smell of whiskev off his breath: ut what is his: his ears. Ms houses.
I dislike him. tluardie. and 1 wish on my seeing him every time he calls."
cerned to consider this plea thought-
to offend him." he said at length, is. Myra. 1 wish sincerely you could antipathy toward him -and marry
her head with finality. "I can never bull and 1 aren’t suited to each other rested in the same things even.” learn to be." insisted Haight. “All o take an interest in their husband’s
afraid l could never take an interest in cockfightaxing. tluardie.” she sighed. “Neither can I play drink eoek-tails. and I simply have no use at all is-g iris. 1 doubt exceedingly if ever I could learn íe things Mr. Turnbull likes.”
But. Go i bless my soul. Myra.” he cried, “you don’t • • k Tur-bull is that kind of a man, surely?”
“Oh yes. he is. and you know it. However, it really n ikes ■ iifference to me. because I’m not interested in M* Turnbull in the least. What I am interested in though.” with a change to her old bright winsomeness, "is how soon IT: iv we expect better conditions among the tenement-dwellers?”
Mr. Haight made no reply. He sat . ioking away, his eyes fixed on vacancy.
"You haven't answered my question,
He cleared his throat.
"My dear Myra.” he replied testily, what you ask is impossible. Admitting that conditions among the tenementdwellers is quite as bad as you seem to think, ray influence with those who hold the controlling interest in the wretched uses is not sufficient to change existing conditions.”
Then, as she remained silent:
"And I must reiterate, Myra, that your v siting and mingling with those slummers as you do does not meet with my approval.
What good can come of making those people who have always known the sordid conditions of life dissatisfied with those conditions? Social and moral reform is all right, my dear, as a hobby. You women must do something to pass away your leisure hours, and keep you out of mischief. I suppose, but to spend your money and time on those whiners at the risk of your health and life, as you persist in Lung. -. I consider, going altogether too
TTE TRIED to meet her eyes but before her hurt, accusing gaze his own fell away.
"'Let us understand one another,” she said quietly. “As long as I feel that my going among those people cheers them and bghtens their burdens, I am going. You are my legal guardian but you are not the arbiter of my actions. What I feel it is my duty to do—I shall do.”
Haight sat bolt upright.
"Duty!” he sneered. “Sentimental nonsense, rather.”
"No. it is not sentimental nonsense. I believe : rat the biggest and best things of life are born of contrast. If ever it is my lot to suffer poverty and want, I may .-mow that other women have carried the same cross as I carry. And if ever I should know love,”—she spoke softly—"I -, '.all know whether or not it is real, because in that same underworld whose contamination you and your kind so greatly fear, I have seen love that is selfsacrificing and all-satisfying.”
Mr. Haight swallowed hard.
"My dear,” he spoke at length, “you mustn’t think I lessen the burdens of these poor people if I could. That their living conditions are deplorable, goes saying; and after all they are human beings with
souls. But what can 1 or Mr. Trollivor do toward alleviating their sufferings? Had Parnley lived we might have, in time, prevailed upon him to give them better, more sanitary buildings and charge them less rent. But he died suddenly, as you know, leaving us orders which we must obey to the letter.”
" Then his heir must he induced to help them.”
Haight smiled queerly.
"You will speak to him about the tenement district at
once, tluardie. won’t you?”
He shook Ins head. "We have already done so, Myra. He 'imply laughed at our proposal and refused to consider it even. He ordered all rents raised on the first of
"Oh!” she gasped, a whiteness stealing into her cheeks.
1U‘ arose and passing about the table laid his hand on her shoulder.
"There, now,” he said in fatherly tones, “forget all about it, Myra. We’ll hope that the heart of the lately discovered heir to the Parnley fortune is not as selfish and flinty as it appears to be. We must give him a little time in which to note conditions for himself.”
She lifted her head, smiling bravely, although her face was still pale.
“I’ve got some good news for you, Mrya,” he told her. “We’re going to enter Fire Fly for the Adanac Stakes race. She’ll win it easily, too. Maybe you won’t be proud of your little mare then?”
Still she did not speak.
He bit his lips, exasperated at her lack of enthusiasm. He had counted on her elation at the news just imparted —this girl who had inherited her father’s passion for clean sport and love of a thoroughbred.
“ I) EALLY, Myra,” he said coldly, “there is absolutely Í'no satisfaction in striving to please you. You know my views on racing or any other sport possessing an element of risk, and yet I stifle the chide of conscience to—
to plan something which I hope may give you gladness — and this is how you show your appreciation.”
“But, Guardie, I am grateful, indeed I am,” she interposed quickly.
He shook his head.
“Perhaps it is natural for an old man who never possessed a child of his own to hope for more than mere gratitude from one he has done his utmost to serve,” he said sorrowfully.
She caught her breath and tears welled to her eyes. But the arms hanging by her sides were rigid; there was no tremor in the low voice as she replied.
“You have intimated that I might have been more to
you than I have been, Guardie. You are right. We might have been so very much more to each other than we have been—andaré. But whose fault is it? Surely not mine. I came to you a girl who had lost a dear father and mother, one whose heart was hungry for the affection you might have given. But you gave me none of it. Instead you raised a wall of reserve about you that I was powerless to scale. You have been kind, considerate» You even listened to my plea to keep my father’s string of thoroughbreds intact:—because I could not bear the thoughts of strangers owning the horses he loved. You have made other—perhaps greater concessions to me.”
She paused, and bending touched her face to the crimson roses.
“My father,” she continued softly, “was a true Southerner. Next to my mother and myself he loved his horses better than anything else in the world. Never could it be said of him that he sold a race.”
She raised her eyes to her guardian.
“I remember,” she resumed, a tender smile playing upon her lips, “when Darky Darphena won the Kentucky Sweepstakes, Daddy took me out to the stables and tofd her who I was. She was a moody, quick-tempered little mare, suspicious of strangers, but she was very ladylike and gentle with me. I think she must have understood what Daddy told her. He had a way of talking to his horses and they seemed to understand, particularly Darphena.”
one man in a thousand would have understood 1 ^ horses like your father understood them,” Haight admitted. “It is because you have his love for them that I have brought in a trainer to the country stables.”
“A trainer!” she cried. “But Guardie, will he under-
He smiled wryly.
“I anticipated just what your fears would be in that regard, Myra. Will he understand the artistic temperament of Darphena’s queenly granddaughter sufficiently well to train her? Let me tell you who this trainer is, then— No less than Teddy Jerome, himself.” “Oh, Guardie!”
The girl clasped her hands in ecstasy. The rose bloom was back in her cheeks again; her eyes sparkled.
“Is it really old Teddy?” she asked in wonder. “Teddy Jerome, daddy’s old trainer! Oh, this is splendid. He will do more for Fire Fly than anyone else in the world. How did you ever come to locate him?”
“To be perfectly frank, I didn’t locate him; rather, he located' me. He came looking for me at Trollivor’s office about six weeks ago in and spite of the fact that time had buffeted him sorely I recognized him at once. His first inquiry was for you.”
“And then?” asked the girl, her breath coming quickly.
“Then he asked about the horses; said he supposed it would be too much to expect that Darkey Darphena was still alive.”
“ ‘But she is alive,’ I told him, ‘and as coltish as her granddaughter, Fire Fly. Would you like to go out to the stables and see your old friends?’ I asked, f “He nodded. He couldn’t say a word. How any man could come to love horses as he and your father loved them is quite beyond my comprehension.
“I drove him to Meadow Course that afternoon, and he kept silent all the way. And here’s a funny thing, Myra. When we arrived at the stables we learned from the groom that Darkey Darphena was out into pasture. We went on to the field. Darphena was in the far corner of the pasture. She lifted her head and watched us as we opened the gate. ‘If you don’t mind,’ said Jerome. Td like to go to her alone.’
“He started toward the mare and she raised her head higher and watched him. Half way across the field Teddy waved his hand and called something to her. She gave a little nicker and trotted forward to meet him.”
“She knew him?” cried the girl. “The old darling!” “Yes, she knew him, no doubt of that. She muzzled his face, lifted his hat from his head and nosed his pockets exactly as I’ve seen Fire Fly nose yours.”
Myra laughed happily.
“And of course Teddy hadn’t forgotten her sugar?" “Not he. He stood there crooning to her and feeding her until I got tired waiting and called to him. He came back then, and the mare followed him. her nose on his shoulder.
Continued on page 43
Continued from page 26
I LEFT him with the groom and returned to the city. Next day I saw Jerome again. He seemed like another man, more like the old Jerome of your father’s time.
“ ‘Mr. Haight,’ he said, T believe if you will allow me to take hold of that youngster Fire Fly I can make a winner of her. She’s got the heart and the temperament—and she’s got the speed. I can do wonders with her in two months!’ ”
His eyes were watching the girl’s speculatively.
“I thought it over, Myra. I knew that for one of the old strain to win a real race like the Adanac Stakes would please you more than anything else in the world. I decided to give Jerome a free hand and say nothing about it until we were positively sure that Fire Fly could qualify. Yesterday he reported to me again. The mare can do the mile in one forty-three and Teddy declared she can cut that time considerably. The only other horse with a better mark than Fire Fly’s will not be entered on account of her owner being recently disqualified.”
He turned away. He was satisfied. Once again he had been able to pull the wool over his ward’s eyes. If she ever guessed that his motive in training Fire Fly to win the Adanac Stake race was a purely selfish one—well, she would simply refuse to enter the mare.
Myra stood gazing from the window. Her lips were half parted, her eyes very tender.
“Thanks, Guardie,” she called after him softly.
The girl stood for a moment gazing down at the crimson mass of roses on the table.
“Poor old Guardie,” she mused, half sadly, “he does his best to please me— and I’m afraid I don’t half appreciate his goodness.”
CHAPTER XI Back Fire
HAIGHT came out of his preoccupation as his car drew up before Trollivor’s office. As he stepped to the sidewalk and ascended the steps he all but collided with another man just leaving the building. He passed through the swinging doors and on to where the lawyer awaited him.
Trollivor was pacing slowly up and down his office floor. Haight noticed the absence of color from his usually ruddy face.
“Well,” he spoke as he closed and locked the door behind him, “I see you’ve been reading the stock reports. That slump in Marchand hit you square between the eyes, eh?”
“It hit me damned hard,” groaned the lawyer.
Haight selected a cigar from the humidor on the table, lit it and seated himself.
“And you were so sure,” he sneered, “so absolutely certain of the tip you received. I’ve told you before that you’re a fool, Trollivor, and now perhaps you’ll admit it. If this last plunge doesn’t prove it to your own satisfaction, it should. How much do you stand to lose?” Trollivor shuddered.
“I don’t know exactly. Forty, thousand anyway.”
Haight’s thin mouth drooped in a cynical smile. His trembling fingers flicked the ash from his cigar onto a jade tray.
“You even went so far as to urge me to get in on it, didn’t you?”
He laughed mirthlessly and shook his head.
“Well, you’re some forty-thousand out. The experience is worth the price though, if only you will profit by it, but you
“I will,” promised Trollivor. “I’m through with plunging forever.”
He shrank from the other’s cackling laugh of derision.
“Through!” scoffed Haight. “Not you! You’ll continue to gamble as long as you possess a dollar. It’s in the blood. You can’t help it.”
He drew a chair forward and seated himself.
NOW forget it, and let’s get down to business. Did you follow my instructions in regard to Webster?”
Trollivor opened a drawer of his desk and drew out a silver flask. He raised it to
his lips and gulped several swallows of its fiery contents.
“Yes,” he said, pressing his hands against his aching eyes, “I had Jordan follow Nevilles. Jordan has just left me, and from what he reported there seems no doubt but that the prospector told us the truth. The real Webster is being held prisoner in one of Parnley’s old malt buildings along the river.”
“Humph,” grunted Haight, “we’ll know where to find the real Webster when we want him then.”
The telephone at Trollivor’s elbow buzzed. He lifted off the receiver.
“Yes,” he spoke; and sat listening.
“Just a moment.”
He put his hand over the transmitter ; nd turned to Haight.
“It’s Nevilles. He has just informed me that he has placed the Parnley housekeeper on a pension and raised the salaries of all the other servants.”
Haight shot from his chair.
“Let me speak to the fool,” he cried angrily.
Trollivor shook his head. _
“He is quite within his rights, Haight. We’ll have to stand for it. All right,” he spoke into the phone, “if you will just let us have the details in writing, we’ll adjust the matter to your satisfaction.”
“Tell him,” cried Haight, almost beside himself with wrath, “to come down here at once.”
Trollivor did as he was told, hung up the receiver, and again had resource to the brandy flask.
“Is he coming?” asked Haight, ominously. “What did he say?”
“He said,” Trollivor answered dully, “that if we want to see him we’ll have^to go there.”
“Well, I’ll be—”
Haight choked on the expletive.
“Well, then, we’ll go there, and I fancy when I get through with_ Mr. Nevilles he’ll be glad to come running next time he is summoned. Get your hat, Trollivor. My car’s outside.”
THREE quarters of an hour later Haight’s limousine purred up a curving roadway hedged with ancient oaks. It had always been a fly in the exbanker’s ointment that those sweeping grounds and big colonial home looking proudly above them possessed a certain indefinable distinction which his own grounds and magnificent country home could never own, a stateliness and beauty of maturity which time and care alone can give. , ^ . , ,
“Now remember, you re to let me do the talking,” he warned, as they ascended the steps to the house. ***■ .’ 1
The door was opened by old Robbins. He admitted them and led them up a broad stair to the big library. Haight shoved the chair the old man proffered him aside with his knee.
“We wish to see Webster at once,” he informed the butler.
Robbins bowed respectfully.
“I regret, sir, that Mr. Webster cannot see you right away,” he said. He be exercising of his dogs in the kennel-yard and left orders as he was not to be disturbed. Perhaps half an hour, say ’ “Then lead us to him,” thundered Haight. “Damnation! man, don’t you know your place?’’
“I am sorry, sir, but I’m afeared you won’t care to go where Mr. Webster be now, sir,” stammered the butler. But Haight turned upon him angrily.
“We don’t want any opinions from you. my man, we want to see Webster.”
“But those dogs, sir—”
“Are you going to show us where Webster is, or are you not?” cut in Trollivor.
The old servant subsided.
“Very well, gentlemen, this way, if you please.”
From behind a tall fence gurgling growls, snarls and howls of frenzied joy ascended to smite their ears, and a man’s voice laughing and shouting:
“Now Joe, you old Sourdough, grab hold and hang on.”
“How do you get in there?” asked Haight, turning to Robbins whose wrinkled face clearly wore a look of apprehension.
“I wouldn’t advise going in there, sir,” the old man spoke quickly.
“Nobody asked your advice. Where is the gate opening into that kennel-yard?” “It’s just around the corner, sir.”
"Come on,” growled Haight.
"Our plan is to walk right in on this man Nevilles, and once and for all impress on the upstart that we are not men to be trifled with,” he declared.
"Lead on,” returned Trollivor.
HAIGHT unlatched the gate and stepped into the enclosure. Then he stepped back again so quickly that Trollivor, following closely on his heels, received a violent blow in the stomach and sat down violently on the sod. At the same moment a hurtling something struck the fence with a fierce growl.
“Good God!” shivered Haight. “He has a pack of ferocious dogs in there. Trollivor. Damn it! It’s exactly like you to sit quietly down and let somebody else face the danger.”
“Hello,” spoke a cheerful voice, “just what’s the matter out here?”
Nevilles’ head and shoulders appeared above the fence. His face cracked in a grin as his eyes took in the two men and noted the undignified posture of the discomfited Trollivor.
“We want a few moments’ conversation with you, young man,” spoke Haight, sternly, “if you can manage to leave your playful pets long enough to oblige us.” “Certainly.”
Nevilles vaulted the fence and stood with folded arms before the two. Trollivor had managed to get to his feet.
“Now if you’ll be brief, please,” he said, ”I’ve got a lot to do this morning.”
“So it would appear,” sneered Haight. “You were too busy to report this morning when you were asked, I notice.”
“Report?” Nevilles raised his brows. “I don’t remember that our agreement stipulated that I was to report to either of you gentlemen.”
“Nevertheless, it was understood that when we wanted you, you were to come to us.”
“Quite so,” murmured Trollivor. Nevilles put his hands on the fence preparatory to vaulting back into the yard.
“See here,” broke in Trollivor, “if you think for a moment that we’ve allowed you to assume control of the Parnley fortune only to throw it away as you see fit you had better wake up. Another move in this direction, without our sanction, and we'll look to it that your wings are effectively clipped. Don’t forget that we have the drop on you—Mr. Webster.” Nevilles considered this bit of intelligence. Then he swung about and faced the lawyer.
“Mr. Trollivor," he said, seriously, “speaking as one crook to another, Fd advise you to postpone that job of wingclipping—indefinitely.”
“You forget who you are,” stuttered Trollivor, white with rage.
“No, it’s you who forget who I am. I’m remembering all the time, and I’m very liable to have an investigation into my uncle’s affairs—my affairs, I mean, if I meet with any more of this foolish opposition to my plans.
“And now, as I have but a short period of real life before me, gentlemen, will you please be good enough to go to the devil and leave me to my own devices.”
HAIGHT’S face grew purple and he clenched his hands; but with a supreme effort he mastered his feelings.
“Perhaps,” he spoke with apparent effort to keep his temper, “we have acted a little hastily in coming to you this morning, Nevilles, and protesting against what seemed to us unnecessary extravagance. Of course you have got to be given some leeway; but naturally we don’t want this arrangement to cost us any more than we can possibly help.
Trollivor turned on his heel.
“Come, Haight,” he addressed his companion, “I must be at the courthouse at ten. Good morning, Mr. Webster.” “Good morning, Mr. Trollivor." Nevilles returned Haight’s stiff bow, swung himself over the high fence and called his huskies about him.
“Boys,” he addressed the wolf-like dogs, “we may be a little out of our element here, but we’ve got to make the best of it.
“Come you Dan and Roxo, we’ll go for a tramp in the woods; you other chaps will have to wait for your jaunt till later. Two wild dogs is all I care to manage at a time.”
To be Continued