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The Discounters of Money
by [?]

Clayton of Roanoke rose and held out his hand.

“Old man,” he said, “Miss Bedford will be much pleased to accept the hospitality of the lady you refer to.”

He formally introduced Mr. Pilkins to Miss Bedford. The girl looked at him sweetly and comfortably. “It’s a lovely evening, Mr. Pilkins– don’t you think so?” she said slowly.

Pilkins conducted them to the crumbly red brick house of the Von der Ruyslings. His card brought Alice downstairs wondering. The runaways were sent into the drawing-room, while Pilkins told Alice all about it in the hall.

“Of course, I will take her in,” said Alice. “Haven’t those Southern girls a thoroughbred air? Of course, she will stay here. You will look after Mr. Clayton, of course.”

“Will I?” said Pilkins, delightedly. “Oh yes, I’ll look after him! As a citizen of New York, and therefore a part-owner of its public parks, I’m going to extend to him the hospitality of Madison Square to-night. He’s going to sit there on a bench till morning. There’s no use arguing with him. Isn’t he wonderful? I’m glad you’ll look after the little lady, Alice. I tell you those Babes in the Wood made my–that is, er–made Wall Street and the Bank of England look like penny arcades.”

Miss Von der Ruysling whisked Miss Bedford of Bedford County up to restful regions upstairs. When she came down, she put an oblong small pasteboard box into Pilkins’ hands.

“Your present,” she said, “that I am returning to you.”

“Oh, yes, I remember,” said Pilkins, with a sigh, “the woolly kitten.”

He left Clayton on a park bench, and shook hands with him heartily.

“After I get work,” said the youth, “I’ll look you up. Your address is on your card, isn’t it? Thanks. Well, good night. I’m awfully obliged to you for your kindness. No, thanks, I don’t smoke. Good night.”

In his room, Pilkins opened the box and took out the staring, funny kitten, long ago ravaged of his candy and minus one shoe-button eye. Pilkins looked at it sorrowfully.

“After all,” he said, “I don’t believe that just money alone will–“

And then he gave a shout and dug into the bottom of the box for something else that had been the kitten’s resting-place–a crushed but red, red, fragrant, glorious, promising Jacqueminot rose.