A Poor Wise Man
Willy Cameron was free that evening. Although he had not slept at all the night
before, he felt singularly awake and active. The Committee had made temporary
quarters of his small back room at the pharmacy, and there had sat in rather
depressed conclave during a part of the afternoon. Pink Denslow had come in
late, and had remained, silent and haggard, through the debate.
There was nothing to do but to start again in an attempt to get files and card
indexes. Greater secrecy was to be preserved and enjoined, the location of the
office to be known only to a small inner circle, and careful policing of it and of the
building which housed it to be established. As a further safeguard, two duplicate
files would be kept in other places. The Committee groaned over its own
underestimate of the knowledge of the radicals.
The two buildings chosen for destruction were, respectively, the bank building
where their file was kept, and the club, where nine-tenths of the officers of the
Committee were members. The significance of the double outrage was
When the meeting broke up Pink remained behind. He found it rather difficult to
broach the matter in his mind. It was always hard for him to talk about Lily
Cardew, and lately he had had a growing conviction that Willy Cameron found it
equally difficult. He wondered if Cameron, too, was in love with Lily. There had
been a queer look in his face on those rare occasions when Pink had mentioned
her, a sort of exaltation, and an odd difficulty afterwards in getting back to the
subject in hand.
Pink had developed an enormous affection and admiration for Willy Cameron, a
strange, loyal, half wistful, totally unselfish devotion. It had steadied him, when
the loss of Li1y might have made him reckless, and had taken the form in recent
weeks of finding innumerable business opportunities, which Willy Cameron
cheerfully refused to take.
"I'll stay here until this other thing is settled," was Willy's invariable answer. "I
have a certain amount of time here, and the fellows can drop in to see me
without causing suspicion. In an office it would be different. And besides, I can't
throw Mr. Davis down. His wife is in bad shape."
So, that afternoon, Pink waited until the Committee had dispersed, and then said,
with some difficulty:
"I saw her, Cameron. She has promised to leave."