**** 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 Face Of The Poor
by [?]

Mr. Anthony attached a memorandum to the letter he was reading, and put his hand on the bell.

“Confound them!” he said under his breath, “what do they think I’m made of!”

A negro opened the door, and came into the room with exaggerated decorum.

“Rufus, take this to Mr. Whitwell, and tell him to get the answer off at once. Is any one waiting?”

“Yes, suh, several. One man’s been there some time. Says his name’s Busson, suh.”

“Send him in.”

The man gave his head a tilt forward which seemed to close his eyes, turned pivotally about, and walked out of the room in his most luxurious manner. Rufus never imitated his employer, but he often regretted that his employer did not imitate him.

Mr. Anthony’s face resumed its look of prosperous annoyance. The door opened, and a small, roughly dressed man came toward the desk.

“Well, here I am at last,” he said in a tone of gentle apology; “I suppose you think it’s about time.”

The annoyance faded out of Mr. Anthony’s face, and left it blank. The visitor put out a work-callous hand.

“I guess you don’t remember me; my name’s Burson. I was up once before, but you were busy. I hope you’re well; you look hearty.”

Mr. Anthony shook the proffered hand, and then shrank back, with the distrust of geniality which is one of the cruel hardships of wealth.

“I am well, thank you. What can I do for you, Mr. Burson?”

The little man sat down and wiped the back of his neck with his handkerchief. He was bearded almost to the eyes, and his bushy brows stood out in a thatch. As he bent his gaze upon Mr. Anthony it was like some gentle creature peering out of a brushy covert.

“I guess the question’s what I can do for you, Mr. Anthony,” he said, smiling wistfully on the millionaire; “I hain’t done much this far, sure.”

“Well?” Mr. Anthony’s voice was dryly interrogative.

“When Edmonson told me he’d sold the mortgage to you, I thought certain I’d be able to keep up the interest, but I haven’t made out to do even that; you’ve been kept out of your money a long time, and to tell the truth I don’t see much chance for you to get it. I thought I’d come in and talk with you about it, and see what we could agree on.”

Mr. Anthony leaned back rather wearily.

“I might foreclose,” he said.

The visitor looked troubled. “Yes, you could foreclose, but that wouldn’t fix it up. To tell the truth, Mr. Anthony, I don’t feel right about it. I haven’t kep’ up the place as I’d ought; it’s been running down for more’n a year. I don’t believe it’s worth the mortgage to-day.”

Some of the weariness disappeared from Mr. Anthony’s face. He laid his arms on the desk and leaned forward.

“You don’t think it’s worth the mortgage?” he asked.

“Not the mortgage and interest. You see there’s over three hundred dollars interest due. I don’t believe you could get more’n a thousand dollars cash for the place.”

“There would be a deficiency judgment, then,” said the millionaire.

“Well, that’s what I wanted to ask you about. I supposed the law was arranged some way so you’d get your money. It’s no more’n right. But it seems a kind of a pity for you and me to go to law. There ain’t nothing between us. I had the money, and you the same as loaned it to me. It was money you’d saved up again old age, and you’d ought to have it. If I’d worked the place and kep’ it up right, it would be worth more, though of course property’s gone down a good deal. But mother and the girls got kind of discouraged and wanted me to go to peddlin’ fruit, and of course you can’t do more’n one thing at a time, and do it justice. Now if you had the place, I expect you could afford to keep it up, and I wouldn’t wonder if you could sell it; but you’d have to put some ready money into it first, I’m afraid.”