**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Consequences
by [?]

Cavenaugh followed him. “Wait a moment. I wanted you to see him. You did see his glove,” glancing at the grate.

Eastman laughed disagreeably. “I saw a glove. That’s not evidence. Do your friends often use that means of exit? Somewhat inconvenient.”

Cavenaugh gave him a startled glance. “Wouldn’t you think so? For an old man, a very rickety old party? The ladders are steep, you know, and rusty.” He approached the window again and put it up softly. In a moment he drew his head back with a jerk. He caught Eastman’s arm and shoved him toward the window. “Hurry, please. Look! Down there.” He pointed to the little patch of paved court four flights down.

The square of pavement was so small and the walls about it were so high, that it was a good deal like looking down a well. Four tall buildings backed upon the same court and made a kind of shaft, with flagstones at the bottom, and at the top a square of dark blue with some stars in it. At the bottom of the shaft Eastman saw a black figure, a man in a caped coat and a tall hat stealing cautiously around, not across the square of pavement, keeping close to the dark wall and avoiding the streak of light that fell on the flagstones from a window in the opposite house. Seen from that height he was of course fore-shortened and probably looked more shambling and decrepit than he was. He picked his way along with exaggerated care and looked like a silly old cat crossing a wet street. When he reached the gate that led into an alley way between two buildings, he felt about for the latch, opened the door a mere crack, and then shot out under the feeble lamp that burned in the brick arch over the gateway. The door closed after him.

“He’ll get run in,” Eastman remarked curtly, turning away from the window. “That door shouldn’t be left unlocked. Any crook could come in. I’ll speak to the janitor about it, if you don’t mind,” he added sarcastically.

“Wish you would.” Cavenaugh stood brushing down the front of his jacket, first with his right hand and then with his left. “You saw him, didn’t you?”

“Enough of him. Seems eccentric. I have to see a lot of buggy people. They don’t take me in any more. But I’m keeping you and I’m in a hurry myself. Good night.”

Cavenaugh put out his hand detainingly and started to say something; but Eastman rudely turned his back and went down the hall and out of the door. He had never felt anything shady about Cavenaugh before, and he was sorry he had gone down for the dictionary. In five minutes he was deep in his papers; but in the half hour when he was loafing before he dressed to go out, the young man’s curious behavior came into his mind again.

Eastman had merely a neighborly acquaintance with Cavenaugh. He had been to a supper at the young man’s rooms once, but he didn’t particularly like Cavenaugh’s friends; so the next time he was asked, he had another engagement. He liked Cavenaugh himself, if for nothing else than because he was so cheerful and trim and ruddy. A good complexion is always at a premium in New York, especially when it shines reassuringly on a man who does everything in the world to lose it. It encourages fellow mortals as to the inherent vigor of the human organism and the amount of bad treatment it will stand for. “Footprints that perhaps another,” etc.

Cavenaugh, he knew, had plenty of money. He was the son of a Pennsylvania preacher, who died soon after he discovered that his ancestral acres were full of petroleum, and Kier had come to New York to burn some of the oil. He was thirty-two and was still at it; spent his life, literally, among the breakers. His motor hit the Park every morning as if it were the first time ever. He took people out to supper every night. He went from restaurant to restaurant, sometimes to half-a-dozen in an evening. The head waiters were his hosts and their cordiality made him happy. They made a life-line for him up Broadway and down Fifth Avenue. Cavenaugh was still fresh and smooth, round and plump, with a lustre to his hair and white teeth and a clear look in his round eyes. He seemed absolutely unwearied and unimpaired; never bored and never carried away.