She tried to be cordial, but she couldn't her mind was on Anita, and the horror which would fill her when she discovered that she was to be married by a preacher of a sect unknown to fashionable circles. "All I ask of you," said I, "is that you cut it as short as possible. Miss Ellersly is tired and nervous." This while we were shaking hands after Joe's introduction.
But just because a lot of his friends, jealous of my success and angry that I refused to truckle to them and be like them instead of like myself, sneered at me behind my back this poor-spirited creature was daring to pretend to himself that I wasn't fit for the society of his sister! "Mowghli!" said Miss Ellersly. "What a quaint name!"
"Sam Ellersly," Langdon presently remarked, "tells me he's campaigning hard for you at the Travelers. I hope you'll make it. We're rather a slow crowd; a few men like you might stir things up." I am always more than willing to give others credit for good sense and good motives.
He glanced round, and when he saw me, looked as if I were a policeman who had caught him in the act. "Howdy, Sam?" said I. "It's been so long since I've seen you that I couldn't resist the temptation to interrupt. Hope your friends'll excuse me. Howdy do, Miss Ellersly?" And I put out my hand. She took it reluctantly.
Sam introduced the Englishman to me Lord Somebody-or-other, I forget what, as I never saw him again. I turned like a bulldog from a toy terrier and was at Miss Ellersly again. "Let me put a little something on Mowghli for you," said I. "You're bound to win and I'll see that you don't lose. I know how you ladies hate to lose." That was a bit stiff, as I know well enough now.
But oh, they have broken my will! They have broken my will! They have made me a coward, a thing!" And she hid her face in her hands and sobbed. Mrs. Ellersly was about to speak. I could not offer better proof of my own strength of will than the fact that I, with a look and a gesture, put her down. Then I said to the girl: "You must choose now! Woman or thing which shall it be?
In my suite in the Textile Building, just off the big main room with its blackboards and tickers, I had a small office in which I spent a good deal of time during Stock Exchange hours. It was there that Sam Ellersly found me the next day but one after my talk with Roebuck. "I want you to sell that Steel Common, Matt," said he.
As my electric drew up at the Willoughby, a carriage backed to make room for it. I recognized the horses and the coachman and the crest. "How long has Mrs. Ellersly been with my wife?" I asked the elevator boy, as he was taking me up. "About half an hour, sir," he answered. "But Mr. Ellersly I took up his card before lunch, and he's still there."
I followed her into the drawing-room and, for the benefit of the servants, Mr. and Mrs. Ellersly and I greeted each other courteously, though Mrs. Ellersly's eyes and mine met in a glance like the flash of steel on steel. "We were just going," said she, and then I felt that I had arrived in the midst of a tempest of uncommon fury.
What am I doing!" she cried, her courage oozing away. "Let me out please!" "You are going with me," said I, entering and closing the door. I saw the door of the Ellersly mansion opening, saw old Ellersly, bareheaded and distracted, scuttling down the steps. "Go ahead fast!" I called to my man. And the electric was rushing up the avenue, with the bell ringing for crossings incessantly.