The Man and the Moment
W ELL, old boy!" Mr. Fordyce greeted him with. "You should have been with me and
had a good round of golf—but perhaps, though, you have made up your mind!"
Michael flung himself into his great chair.
"Yes—I have—and I have got a fiancée."
Mr. Fordyce was not disturbed; he did not even answer this absurd remark, he just puffed
his cigar—cigarettes were beneath his notice.
"You don't seem very interested," his host ejaculated, rather aggrievedly.
"I tell you, it is true. I have got a fiancée."
"My dear fellow, you are mad!"
"No, I assure you I am quite sane—I have found a way out of the difficulty—an angel has
dropped from the clouds to save me from Violet Hatfield."
Henry Fordyce was actually startled. Michael looked as though he were talking seriously.
"But where did she come from? What the—Oh! I have no patience with you, you old
fool! You are playing some comedy upon me!"
"Henry, I give you my word, I'm not—I am going to marry a most presentable young
person at nine o'clock on Thursday night in the chapel here—and you are going to stay
and be best man." Then his excitement began to rise again, and he got up from his chair
and paced up and down restlessly. "It is the very thing. She wants her money and I want
my freedom. She gets hers by marriage, and I get mine. I don't care a rush for domestic
bliss, it has never appealed to me; and the fellow in Australia who'll come after me has
got a boy who will do all right, no doubt, for the old place by and by. I shall have a
perfectly free time and no responsibilities—and, thank the Lord! no more women for me
for the future. I have done with the snakes. I shall be happy and free for the first time for
a whole year!"
Mr. Fordyce actually let his cigar go out. This incredible story was beginning to have an
effect upon him.