The Wrecker

Page 47

So I argued and pleaded, not without emotion; my friend sitting opposite, resting his chin upon his hand and (but for that single interjection) silent. "I have been looking for this, Loudon," said he, when I had done. "It does pain me, and that's the fact--I'm so miserably selfish. And I believe it's a death blow to the picnics; for it's idle to deny that you were the heart and soul of them with your wand and your gallant bearing, and wit and humour and chivalry, and throwing that kind of society atmosphere about the thing. But for all that, you're right, and you ought to go. You may count on forty dollars a week; and if Depew City--one of nature's centres for this State--pan out the least as I expect, it may be double. But it's forty dollars anyway; and to think that two years ago you were almost reduced to beggary!"

"I WAS reduced to it," said I.

"Well, the brutes gave you nothing, and I'm glad of it now!" cried Jim. "It's the triumphant return I glory in! Think of the master, and that cold-blooded Myner too! Yes, just let the Depew City boom get on its legs, and you shall go; and two years later, day for day, I'll shake hands with you in Paris, with Mamie on my arm, God bless her!"

We talked in this vein far into the night. I was myself so exultant in my new-found liberty, and Pinkerton so proud of my triumph, so happy in my happiness, in so warm a glow about the gallant little woman of his choice, and the very room so filled with castles in the air and cottages at Fontainebleau, that it was little wonder if sleep fled our eyelids, and three had followed two upon the office clock before Pinkerton unfolded the mechanism of his patent sofa.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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