A Woman Intervenes by Robert Barr
Edith Longworth, with that precious bit of paper in her pocket, once more got into her hansom and drove to Wentworth's office. Again she took the only easy-chair in the room. Her face was very serious, and Wentworth, the moment he saw it, said to himself. 'She has failed.'
'Have you telegraphed to Mr. Kenyon?' she asked.
'Are you sure you made it clear to him what was wanted? Cablegrams are apt to be rather brief.'
'I told him to keep in communication with us. Here is a copy of the cablegram.'
Miss Longworth read it approvingly, but said:
'You have not put in the word "answer."'
'No; but I put it in the despatch I sent. I remember that now.'
'Have you had a reply yet?'
'Oh no; you see, it takes a long time to get there, because there are so many changes from the end of the cable to the office where Kenyon is. And then, again, you see, they may have to look for him. He may not be expecting a message; in fact, he is sure not to be expecting any. From his own cablegram to me, it is quite evident he has given up all hope.'
'Show me that cablegram, please.'
'It is hardly couched in language you will enjoy reading,' he said.
'That doesn't matter. Show it to me. I must see all the documents in the case.'
He handed her the paper, which she read in silence, and gave it back to him without a word.
'I knew you wouldn't like it,' he said.
'I have not said I do not like it. It is not a bit too strong under the circumstances. In fact, I do not see how he could have put it in other words. It is very concise and to the point.'
'Yes; there is no doubt about that, especially the first three words, "We are cheated!" Those are the words that make me think Kenyon has given up all hope; so there may be some trouble in finding him.'
'Did you learn whether money could be sent by cable or not?'
'Oh yes; there is no difficulty about that. The money is deposited in a bank here, and will be credited to Kenyon in the bank at Ottawa.'
'Very well, then,' said Miss Longworth, handing him the piece of paper, 'there is the money.'
Wentworth gave a long whistle as he looked at it. 'Excuse my rudeness,' he said; 'I don't see a bit of paper like this every day. You mean, then, to buy the mine?'
'Yes, I mean to buy the mine.'
'Very well; but there is ten thousand pounds more here than is necessary.'
'Yes. I mean not only to buy the mine, but to work it; and so some working capital will be necessary. How much do you suppose.'
'About that I have no idea,' said Wentworth. 'I should think five thousand pounds would be ample.'
'Then, we shall leave five thousand pounds in the bank here for contingencies, and cable twenty-five thousand pounds to Mr. Kenyon. I shall expect him to get me a good man to manage the mine. I am sure he will be glad to do that.'
'Most certainly he will. John Kenyon, now that the mine has not fallen into the hands of those who tried to cheat him, will be glad to do anything for the new owner of it. He won't mind, in the least, losing his money if he knows that you have the mine.'
'Ah, but that is the one thing he must not know. As to losing the money, neither you nor Mr. Kenyon are to lose a penny. If the mine is all you think it is, then it will be an exceedingly profitable investment; and I intend that we shall each take our third, just as if you had contributed one-third of the money, and Mr. Kenyon another.'
'But, my dear Miss Longworth, that is absurd. We could never accept any such terms.'
'Oh yes, you can. I spoke to John Kenyon himself about being a partner in this mine. I am afraid he thought very little of the offer at the time. I don't intend him to know anything at all about my ownership now. He has discovered the mine--you and he together. If it is valueless, then you and he will be two of the sufferers; if it is all you think it is, then you will be the gainers. The labourer is worthy of his hire, and I am sure both you and Mr. Kenyon have laboured hard enough in this venture. Should he guess I bought it, the chances are that he will be stupidly and stubbornly conscientious, and decline to share the fruits of his labours.'
'And do you think, Miss Longworth, I am not conscientious enough to refuse?'
'Oh, yes; you are conscientious, but you are sensible. Mr. Kenyon isn't.'
'I think you are mistaken about that. He is one of the most sensible men in the world--morbidly sensible, perhaps.'
'Well, I think, if Mr. Kenyon knew I owned the mine, he would not take a penny as his share. So I trust you will never let him know I am the person who gave the money to buy the mine.'
'But is he never to know it, Miss Longworth?'
'Perhaps not. If he is to learn, I am the person to tell him.'
'I quite agree with you there, and I shall respect your confidence.'
'Now, what time,' said the young woman, looking at her watch, 'ought we to get an answer from Mr. Kenyon?'
'Ah, that, as I said before, no one can tell.'
'I suppose, then, the best plan is to send the money at once, or put it in the way of being sent, to some bank in Ottawa.'
'Yes, that is the best thing to do; although, of course, if John Kenyon is not there----'
'If he is not there what shall we do?'
'I do not exactly know. I could cable to Mr. Von Brent. Von Brent is the owner of the mine, and the man who gave John the option. I do not know how far he is committed to the others. If he is as honest as I take him to be, he will accept the money, providing it is sent in before twelve o'clock, and then we shall have the mine. Of that I know nothing whatever, because I have no particulars except John's cable-message.'
'Then, I can do no more just now?'
'Yes, you can. You will have to write a cheque for the twenty-five thousand pounds. You see, this cheque is crossed, and will go into your banking account. An other cheque will have to be drawn to get the money out.'
'Ah, I see. I have not my cheque-book here, but perhaps you can send this cheque to the bank, and I will return. There will be time enough, I suppose, before the closing hour of the bank?'
'Yes, there will be plenty of time. Of course, the sooner we get the money away the better.'
'I shall return shortly after lunch. Perhaps you will then have heard from Mr. Kenyon. If anything comes sooner, will you send me a telegram? Here is my address.'
'I will do that,' said Wentworth, as he bade her good-bye.
As soon as lunch was over, Miss Longworth, with her cheque-book, again visited Wentworth's office. When she entered he shook his head.
'No news yet,' he said.
'This is terrible,' she answered; 'suppose he has left Ottawa and started for home?'
'I do not think he would do that. Still, I imagine he would think there was no reason for staying in Ottawa. Nevertheless, I know Kenyon well enough to believe that he will wait there till the last minute of the option has expired, in the hope that something may happen. He knows, of course, that I shall be doing everything I can in London, and he may have a faint expectation that I shall be able to accomplish something.'
'It would be useless to cable again?'
'Quite. If that message does not reach him, none will.'
As he was speaking, a boy entered the room with a telegram in his hand. Its contents were short and to the point:
'Well, that's all right,' said Wentworth; 'now I shall cable that we have the money, and advise him to identify himself at the bank, so that there can be no formalities about the drawing of it, to detain him.'
Saying this, Wentworth pulled the telegraph-forms towards him, and, after considerable labour, managed to concoct a satisfactory despatch.
'Don't spare money on it,' urged his visitor; 'be sure and make it plain to him.'
'I think that will do, don't you?'
'Yes,' she answered, after reading the despatch; 'that will do.'
'Now,' she said, 'here is the cheque. Shall I wait here while you do all that is necessary to cable the money, or had I better go, and return again to see if everything is all right?'
'If you don't mind, just sit where you are. You may lock this door, if you like, and you will not be disturbed.'
It was an hour before Wentworth returned, but his face was radiant.
'We have done everything we can,' he said, 'the money is at his order there, if the cablegram gets over before twelve o'clock to-morrow, as of course it will.'
'Very well, then, good-bye,' said the girl with a smile, holding out her hand.