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The Shocks Of Doom
by [?]

“Certainly, Mr. Vallance,” said the bartender. “They ain’t all fakes. Don’t like to see anybody go hungry.”

He folded a liberal supply of the free lunch into a napkin. Vallance went with it and joined his companion. Ide pounced upon the food ravenously. “I haven’t had any free lunch as good as this in a year,” he said. “Aren’t you going to eat any, Dawson?

“I’m not hungry–thanks,” said Vallance.

“We’ll go back to the Square,” said Ide. “The cops won’t bother us there. I’ll roll up the rest of this ham and stuff for our breakfast. I won’t eat any more; I’m afraid I’ll get sick. Suppose I’d die of cramps or something to-night, and never get to touch that money again! It’s eleven hours yet till time to see that lawyer. You won’t leave me, will you, Dawson? I’m afraid something might happen. You haven’t any place to go, have you?”

“No,” said Vallance, “nowhere to-night. I’ll have a bench with you.”

“You take it cool,” said Ide, “if you’ve told it to me straight. I should think a man put on the bum from a good job just in one day would be tearing his hair.”

“I believe I’ve already remarked,” said Vallance, laughing, “that I would have thought that a man who was expecting to come into a fortune on the next day would be feeling pretty easy and quiet.”

“It’s funny business,” philosophized Ide, “about the way people take things, anyhow. Here’s your bench, Dawson, right next to mine. The light don’t shine in your eyes here. Say, Dawson, I’ll get the old man to give you a letter to somebody about a job when I get back home. You’ve helped me a lot to-night. I don’t believe I could have gone through the night if I hadn’t struck you.”

“Thank you,” said Vallance. “Do you lie down or sit up on these when you sleep?”

For hours Vallance gazed almost without winking at the stars through the branches of the trees and listened to the sharp slapping of horses’ hoofs on the sea of asphalt to the south. His mind was active, but his feelings were dormant. Every emotion seemed to have been eradicated. He felt no regrets, no fears, no pain or discomfort. Even when he thought of the girl, it was as of an inhabitant of one of those remote stars at which he gazed. He remembered the absurd antics of his companion and laughed softly, yet without a feeling of mirth. Soon the daily army of milk wagons made of the city a roaring drum to which they marched. Vallance fell asleep on his comfortless bench.

At ten o’clock on the next day the two stood at the door of Lawyer Mead’s office in Ann Street.

Ide’s nerves fluttered worse than ever when the hour approached; and Vallance could not decide to leave him a possible prey to the dangers he dreaded.

When they entered the office, Lawyer Mead looked at them wonderingly. He and Vallance were old friends. After his greeting, he turned to Ide, who stood with white face and trembling limbs before the expected crisis.

“I sent a second letter to your address last night, Mr. Ide,” he said. “I learned this morning that you were not there to receive it. It will inform you that Mr. Paulding has reconsidered his offer to take you back into favor. He has decided not to do so, and desires you to understand that no change will be made in the relations existing between you and him.”

Ide’s trembling suddenly ceased. The color came back to his face, and he straightened his back. His jaw went forward half an inch, and a gleam came into his eye. He pushed back his battered hat with one hand, and extended the other, with levelled fingers, toward the lawyer. He took a long breath and then laughed sardonically.

“Tell old Paulding he may go to the devil,” he said, loudly and clearly, and turned and walked out of the office with a firm and lively step.

Lawyer Mead turned on his heel to Vallance and smiled.

“I am glad you came in,” he said, genially. “Your uncle wants you to return home at once. He is reconciled to the situation that led to his hasty action, and desires to say that all will be as–“

“Hey, Adams!” cried Lawyer Mead, breaking his sentence, and calling to his clerk. “Bring a glass of water–Mr. Vallance has fainted.”