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Jason was sent from New York to see "The Gonfalon" announced that it him. Can you not visualize it? had been deceived in regard to Jason, The ardent youngster arrives; is
that it would publish nothing more willing to take from Palatainos any about him. So for the third time Jason orders, however desperate. And he Sanders was killed, and this time he finds that Palatainos is a traitor, is in seemed likely to remain dead. the pay of the Turks! Sitting in the Shaky, impoverished by my explorakitchen, by a fireplace of whitewashed tions on Cape Cod and in Delaware, bricks, Palatainos leers upon the warned by the dean that I should do horrified Yankee lad with the poisonous well to stick to my teaching and cease sophistication of an international spy. “these unfortunate attempts to gain He bids Jason spy upon the Greeks in notoriety," I slunk into quiet classAmerica. Staggered, Jason goes feebly work, seemingly defeated. Yet all the up to bed. All next day he resists the while I longed to know when and traitor's beguilement. Palatainos plies where Jason really had died. Might him with brandy. The poet sits he not have served valorously in the brooding; suddenly he springs up, American Civil War? But how was I righteously attacks Palatainos, the to know? Then came my most exlamp is upset, the house partly burned, traordinary adventure in the service and Jason, a stranger and friendless, is of Jason Sanders. arrested by the besotted country constable. He was, in prison, as truly a
8 6 martyr to freedom as if he had veri- I went to Quinta's for tea. I have tably been shot in a tender-colored wondered sometimes if Quinta may Grecian afternoon!
not have become a bit weary of my My reconstruction of the history speculations about Jason. I did not was—though now I was so distressed mean to bore her; I tried not to: but I that I could take but little pride in it- could think of nothing else, and she much quoted from "The Gonfalon" alone was patient with me. not only in America, but abroad. “How-how-how can I force EdgerThe “Mercure de France' mentioned ton to tell all he knows?" I said with it, inexcusably misspelling my name.
a sigh. I turned to the tracing of Jason's his- “Go see him!" Quinta was impatory after his release from the peniten
tient. tiary, since now I did not know when “Why, you know I can't afford to, and where he actually had died. I was with all my savings gone, and Edgermaking plans when there appeared ton way out in Nebraska.” another letter from Whitney Edgerton, She shocked me by quitting the the secret assassin of Jason. He room. She came back holding out a snarled that Palatinus's name was not
check-for three hundred dollars! The Palatainos. It was Palatinus. He Gateses are wealthy, but naturally I was not a Greek; he was a Swede. could not take this. I shook my head.
I wrote to Edgerton, demanded his "Please!" she said sharply. "Let's proofs, his sources for all this informa- get it over." tion. He did not answer.
I was suddenly hopeful. swered none of my half-dozen letters. “Then you do believe in Jason?
I'd thought you were almost indiffer- desk, with built-in cases containing ent to him."
books I yearned to possess; a vast “ "1_” It flared out, that sound. apartment, all white and tender blue, She went on compactly: “Let 's not against which my two patchy rooms in talk about it, please. Now tell me, Hendrik Hall seemed beggary. I had did n't you think they made a mistake expected to have to conceal hatred, at the symphony-"
but instead I was embarrassed. Yet I had a not at all pleasant confer- by the gods it was I, the shabby ence with the dean before I took my scholar, who had created Jason, and train for Melanchthon, Nebraska. this silken, sulky dilettante who with
I had a plan. This was toward the out reason had stabbed him! end of the academic year 1919-20. I While I peeped about, I was telling would pretend to be a chap who, after Edgerton, perhaps less deftly than I working in offices, that sort of thing, had planned, of my desire to be tutored. desired to begin graduate work in Eng- He answered: lish, but had first to make up for the "You 're very complimentary, I 'm courses he had forgotten since college. sure, but I 'm afraid it 's impossible. I wanted the celebrated Dr. Whitney I 'll recommend you to some oneEdgerton to tutor me. I would lure By the way, what was your college?” him into boarding me at his house; a Heaven knows how it popped into young professor like Edgerton would my head, but I recalled an obscure and be able to use the money. Once dwell- provincial school, Titus College, of ing there, it would be easy enough to which I knew nothing. search his study, to find what histories He lightened. or letters had furnished his secret “Oh, really? Did you know I had knowledge of Jason.
my first instructorship in Titus? I adopted as nom de guerre the name Have n't had any news from there for Smith. That was, perhaps, rather in- years. How is President Dolson, and genious, since it is a common name, Mrs. Siebel? Oh, and how is dear old and therefore unlikely to arouse at Cassaworthy?" tention. It was all reasonable, and May the trustees of Titus College should have been easy.
forgive me! I had President Dolson But when, in Melanchthon, I was sick of a fever, and Cassaworthydirected to Edgerton's house, I per- professor, janitor, village undertaker, ceived that, instead of being a poor or whatever he was—taking to golf. devil, he was uncomfortably rich. As for Mrs. Siebel, she 'd given me a His was a monstrous Georgian house, cup of tea only a few months ago. all white columns and dormers and Edgerton seemed astonished. I have iron window-railings and brick terrace often wondered whether Mrs. Siebel and formal gardens. Reluctantly, I would actually be most likely to serve gained entrance, and addressed my tea, gin, or vitriol. self to Edgerton.
Edgerton got rid of me. He amiably He was a square-built, pompous, kicked me out. He smiled, gave me rimless-eye-glassed, youngish man. the name of a "suitable tutor," mesHis study was luxurious, with velvet merized me toward the door, and did curtains at the windows, with a vast not invite me to return. I sat on a bench in the Melanchthon station. mal balance. For the good name of Apparently I had come from the At- Jason Sanders I would risk all of serene lantic seaboard to Nebraska to sit repute that had been precious to me. on this broken bench and watch an So I, who had been a lecturer to reundesirable citizen spit at a box of spectful students, edged beneath the sawdust.
cottonwoods, slipped across a lawn, I spent the night at a not agreeable crawled over a wire fence, and stood in tavern or hotel, and next day I again the garden of Whitney Edgerton. It called on Edgerton. I had surmised was fenced and walled on all sides save that he would be bored by the sight of toward the street. That way, then, I me. He was. I begged him to permit should have to run in case of eruption me to look over his library. Impa- -out into the illumination of a street tiently, he left me alone, hinting, lamp. I might be very prettily trapped. “When you go out, be sure and close Suddenly I was a-tremble, utterly inthe front door."
credulous that I should be here. With the chance of some one enter- I could n't do it. ing, it would not have been safe to I was menaced from every side. scurry through his desk and his ingen- Was n't that some one peering from an ious cabinets in search of data regard- upper window of the house? Did n't a ing Jason. But while I stood appar- curtain move in the study? What was ently reading, with a pen-knife I so that creak behind me? I, who had loosened the screws in a window-catch never in my life spoken to a policeman
a that the window could be thrust up save to ask a direction, had thrust myfrom outside.
self in here, an intruder, to be treated I was going to burglarize the study. like a common vagrant, to be shamed
That night, somewhat after twelve, and roughly handled. As I grudgingly I left my room in the hotel, yawned swayed toward the study windows I about the office, pretended to glance was uneasy before imaginary eyes. I at the ragged magazines, sighed to the do not remember a fear of being shot. drowsy night clerk, “I think I 'll have It was something vaguer and more ensome fresh air before I retire," and feebling: it was the staring disapproval sauntered out. In my inner pocket of all my civilization, schools, churches, were a screw-driver and a small elec- banks, the courts, and Quinta. But I tric torch which I had that afternoon came to the central window of the purchased at a hardware shop. I knew study, the window whose catch I had from the fiction into which I had some- loosened. times dipped that burglars find these I could n't do it. torches and screw-drivers, or "jim- It had seemed so easy in fiction; mies," of value in their work.
but crawl in there? Into the darkness? I endeavored, as I stole about the Face the unknown? Shin over the streets, to assume an expression of sill like a freshman? Sneak and pilfer ferocity, to intimidate whoever might like a mucker? endeavor to interrupt me. For this I touched the window; I think I purpose I placed my spectacles in my tried to push it up. It was beyond my pocket and disarrayed my bow-tie. strength.
I was, perhaps, thrown off my nor- Disgust galvanized me. I to thieve
from the thief who had slain Jason when he read my letter criticizing your Sanders? Never! I had a right to articles. He has given me a good many know his information; I had a right. details. He apparently has some By heavens! I 'd shake it out of him; reason to hate the memory of Sanders. I 'd face, beat, kill that snobbish Here 's his latest epistle, some more hound. I remember running about facts about Sanders's delightful poetic the corner of the house, jabbing the career." button of the bell, bumping the door One glance showed me that this was panels with sore palms.
indeed the case. The sheet which A light, and Edgerton's voice: Edgerton handed me had inartistically “What is it? What is it?"
printed at the top, “Rev. Peter F. “Quick! A man hurt! Motor acci- Williams, Renewalist Brotherhood dent!” I bellowed.
Congregation, Yancey, Colo.," and He opened the door. I was on him, one sentence was, “Before this, Sanpushing him back into the hall, de- ders's treatment of women in Kennuit manding.
was disgraceful-can't be too strongly “I want everything you have about condem'd." Jason Sanders!" I noticed then that I had the serpent of whose venom he had a revolver. I am afraid I hurt Edgerton was but the bearer! his wrist. Somewhat after, when I I backed out, left Edgerton. He had placed him in a chair in the study, said a silly thing, which shows that he
. I said: "Where did you get your data? was at least as flustered as I was: And where did Sanders die?"
"Good-by, Lieutenant Sandec!" "You must be this idiot that's been I was certain that he would have me responsible for the Sanders folderol," apprehended if I returned to my hotel, he was gasping.
even for so long as would be needed to “Will you be so good as to listen? I gather my effects. Instantly, I decided am going to kill you unless you give to abandon my luggage, hasten out of me what I wish, and immediately." town. Fortunately, I had with me “Wh-what! See here!"
neither my other suit nor the fitted bag I don't remember. It 's curious; which Quinta had given me. Traversmy head aches when I try to recalling only side streets, I sped out of that part. I think I must have struck town by the railway track. Then I him, yet that seems strange, for cer- was glad of the pocket flash-light, tainly he was larger than I and better which, outside the study window, had fed. But I can hear him piping: seemed absurd. I sat on the railway
“This is an outrage! You 're insane! embankment. I can still feel the gritBut if you insist, I had all my facts tiness of sharp-cornered cinders and about Sanders from Peter Williams, a cracked rock, still see the soggy pile of clergyman out in Yancey, Colorado." rotting logs beside the embankment
“Let me see your letters from him.” upon which my flash-light cast a milky “Is that necessary?”
beam as I switched it on in order that "Do you think I'd trust you?" I might study Peter Williams's letter.
"Well, I have only one letter here. Already I had a clue. The others are in my safe-deposit
Peter Williams was also the name vault. Williams first wrote to me of that son of the Reverend Abner
Williams of Kennuit whom Jason had My rage was sated by perceiving that often trounced. I wished that he had I had to deal not with any grandson of trounced him oftener and more round- Jason's foe, but with the actual origly. The Reverend Abner had hurled inal Peter Williams himself! I was beJason out of his church. All this holding one who had been honored by would naturally institute a feud be the fists of Jason Sanders. He was too tween Jason and the Williamses. precious a serpent not to draw him There might have been additional with cunning. Filially, I pursued: causes, perchance rivalry for a girl. “I was told-I once spent a summer
Well! The Reverend Peter Wil- on Cape Cod" liams's letter to Edgerton was type- "Who are you, young man?" written. That modernity would indi- "Smith, William Smith. I am acate, in a village parson, a man not traveling salesman.” over forty years old. Was it not logi- “Well, well, let 's have it." cal to guess that Peter Williams of “I was told you came from the Colorado was the grandson of Peter Cape-from Kennuit." Williams of Kennuit, and that he had "Who told ye?" utilized information long possessed by “Really, I can't seem for the mothe whole tribe of the Williamses to ment to remember.” destroy his grandsire's enemy, Jason? "Well, what of it?"
By dawn I was on a way-train; in "I just wondered if you were n't the the afternoon of the next day I was in son of the Reverend Abner Williams Yancey, Colorado.
who used to be pastor in Kennuit way back about 1840."
“I be. I am the son in the spirit of I found the Renewalist parsonage, that man of holiness.' residence of the Reverend Peter Wil- Cautiously, oh, so cautiously, simuliams, to be a small, dun-colored cot- lating veneration, I hinted: tage on a hill-crest. I strode thither, “Then you must have known this vigorous with rage. I knocked. I fellow I 've been reading about; this faced a blank Teutonic maid. I de Jason-what was it?-Sandwich?” manded to see Mr. Williams.
"Jason Sanders. Yes, sir, I knew I was admitted to his rustic study. him well, too well. A viler wretch I saw a man not of forty, as his letter never lived. A wine-bibber, a man of had suggested, but astoundingly old, wrath, blind to the inner grace, he was an ancient dominie, as sturdy as a all that I seek to destroy." Williams's bison, with a bursting immensity of voice loomed like a cathedral service. white beard. He was sitting in a I hated him, yet I was impressed. I hollowed rocker by the stove.
ventured: "Well?" said he.
"One thing I 've often wondered. “Is this the Reverend Peter Wil- They say this Sanders fellow did n't liams?”
really die in Greece. I wonder when “It be."
and where he did die." “May I sit down?"
The old man was laughing; he was "You can."
wrinkling his eyes at me; he was I sat calmly in a small, mean chair. shaking.