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The Consequences
by [?]

“Someone waiting for you? Oh, no, thanks. I wasn’t coming in. I have to work to-night. Thank you, but I couldn’t.” Eastman nodded and went up the two flights to his own rooms.

Though Eastman did not customarily keep a servant he had this winter a man who had been lent to him by a friend who was abroad. Rollins met him at the door and took his coat and hat.

“Put out my dinner clothes, Rollins, and then get out of here until ten o’clock. I’ve promised to go to a supper to-night. I shan’t be dining. I’ve had a late tea and I’m going to work until ten. You may put out some kumiss and biscuit for me.”

Rollins took himself off, and Eastman settled down at the big table in his sitting-room. He had to read a lot of letters submitted as evidence in a breach of contract case, and before he got very far he found that long paragraphs in some of the letters were written in German. He had a German dictionary at his office, but none here. Rollins had gone, and anyhow, the bookstores would be closed. He remembered having seen a row of dictionaries on the lower shelf of one of Cavenaugh’s bookcases. Cavenaugh had a lot of books, though he never read anything but new stuff. Eastman prudently turned down his student’s lamp very low–the thing had an evil habit of smoking–and went down two flights to Cavenaugh’s door.

The young man himself answered Eastman’s ring. He was freshly dressed for the evening, except for a brown smoking jacket, and his yellow hair had been brushed until it shone. He hesitated as he confronted his caller, still holding the door knob, and his round eyes and smooth forehead made their best imitation of a frown. When Eastman began to apologize, Cavenaugh’s manner suddenly changed. He caught his arm and jerked him into the narrow hall. “Come in, come in. Right along!” he said excitedly. “Right along,” he repeated as he pushed Eastman before him into his sitting-room. “Well I’ll–” he stopped short at the door and looked about his own room with an air of complete mystification. The back window was wide open and a strong wind was blowing in. Cavenaugh walked over to the window and stuck out his head, looking up and down the fire escape. When he pulled his head in, he drew down the sash.

“I had a visitor I wanted you to see,” he explained with a nervous smile. “At least I thought I had. He must have gone out that way,” nodding toward the window.

“Call him back. I only came to borrow a German dictionary, if you have one. Can’t stay. Call him back.”

Cavenaugh shook his head despondently. “No use. He’s beat it. Nowhere in sight.”

“He must be active. Has he left something?” Eastman pointed to a very dirty white glove that lay on the floor under the window.

“Yes, that’s his.” Cavenaugh reached for his tongs, picked up the glove, and tossed it into the grate, where it quickly shriveled on the coals. Eastman felt that he had happened in upon something disagreeable, possibly something shady, and he wanted to get away at once. Cavenaugh stood staring at the fire and seemed stupid and dazed; so he repeated his request rather sternly, “I think I’ve seen a German dictionary down there among your books. May I have it?”

Cavenaugh blinked at him. “A German dictionary? Oh, possibly! Those were my father’s. I scarcely know what there is.” He put down the tongs and began to wipe his hands nervously with his handkerchief.

Eastman went over to the bookcase behind the Chesterfield, opened the door, swooped upon the book he wanted and stuck it under his arm. He felt perfectly certain now that something shady had been going on in Cavenaugh’s rooms, and he saw no reason why he should come in for any hang-over. “Thanks. I’ll send it back to-morrow,” he said curtly as he made for the door.