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A Poor Wise Man

He was keeping himself well under control, but Akers saw his hand clench, and
resorted to other tactics. He was not angry himself, but he was wary now; he
considered that life was unnecessarily complicated, and that he had a distinct
grievance.
"I have asked you a question, Mr. Akers."
"You don't expect me to answer it, do you?"
"I do."
"If you have come here to talk to me about marrying her - "
"She won't marry you," Willy Cameron said steadily. "That's not the point I want
your own acknowledgment of responsibility, that's all."
Akers was puzzled, suspicious, and yet relieved. He lighted a cigarette and over
the match stared at the other man's quiet face.
"No!" he said suddenly. "I'm damned if I'll take the responsibility. She knew her
way around long before I ever saw her. Ask her. She can't lie about it. I can
produce other men to prove what I say. I played around with her, but I don't know
whose child that is, and I don't believe she does."
"I think you are lying."
"All right. But I can produce the goods."
Willy Cameron went very pale. His hands were clenched again, and Akers eyed
him warily.
"None of that," he cautioned. "I don't know what interest you've got in this, and I
don't give a God-damn. But you'd better not try any funny business with me."
Willy Cameron smiled. Much the sort of smile he had worn during the rioting.
"I don't like to soil my hands on you," he said, "but I don't mind telling you that
any man who ruins a girl's life and then tries to get out of it by defaming her, is a
skunk."
Akers lunged at him.
Some time later Mr. William Wallace Cameron descended to the street. He wore
his coat collar turned up to conceal the absence of certain articles of wearing
apparel which he had mysteriously lost. And he wore, too, a somewhat distorted,
grim and entirely complacent smile.
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