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At The Bishop's

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[Copyright, 1897, by H. Addington Bruce.] The bishop tnrned into Madison 6qnare from Twenty-third street with that calm, dignified stride, almost half a waddle, cultivated by so many chirrch dignitaries. As befitted a man with an easy conscience, he walked with his head well up in the air and betrayed by his whole appearance that he was well satísfied with himself. Good reason for being so, with his prosperous living and his fat income, waxing greater year after year, to say nothing of his work among the many poor souls - rich ones, rather - whom he instruoted every Sunday in the mysteries of the narrow path. The bishop's sermons were reinarkable for their eloquence, and he had excelled himself in the Thanksgiving sermon that morning. The result of his preaching was practically seen in the size of the weekly collections, and he had no reason to coniplain of the Thanksgiving day contributions. Therefore it was with the reflection of work well done that the good bishop was on his way now to a quiet, comfortable, little family dinner. With pleasure he thought of how excellent the menu would be, for his chef, recently imported from Paris, was no second rate one by any means. There was a keen suggestion of frost in the air, with the prospect of a snowfall bef ore morning. The bishop in vol - untarily hastened his pace a little as he feit the coolness of the atmosphere. It was almost 7 o'clock and past twilight. Near the corner of East Twentyfourth street, leaning oarelessly against the railing in front of Dr. Parkhnrst's church, was a tall, well built young man, apparently fashionably dressed. He probably was not more than 25 or 26. As the bishop passed where he was standing he spoke to the divine, and the latter halted, though the young man was an utter stranger to him. "Afine, cool evening, " said the idler, crossing quickly to the bishop's side. "A little too cool for me, " responded the bishop, "but" - A glance of inquiry was directed at the other. The young man sniiled. "Ah, yes," said he suavely. "I forgot to introduce myself. You must pardon my rudeness. I heard you preach this nioming, bishop, and Beeing you passing now I thought you would not take it amiss if I ventured to teil you how impressed I was with your sermon. ' ' The bishop would have made some acknowledgment of the compliment, but the speaker did not give him time. He continued hurriedly: ' ' This is my very flrst visit to New York. I only arrived last night and expect to return to my home in Chicago in a yery few days. You do not know how dclighted I was at the good fortune whieh led me to your church today. I am stopping at the Fif th Avenue, across the square. Here is my card. ' ' In the dim street light the bishop read, "Herbert E. Edwards, Chicago. Hls." "I am delighted to meet you, my boy," said the bishop, with cordiality, his vanity gratified in no small measure by the flattering allusion to his sermón. "Will you be in New York very long?" "Oh, no, " was Edwards' reply, "only a few days. My business here, for my visit is a business one, will not detain me long, and with but a limited cirole of friends I have no great desire to remain. Indeed I am sorry that I could not delay my trip a day longer. Thanksgiving day away from ia always dull in the extreme. One misses the family dinner especially. " As he spoke the young man, in search of a cigar, carelessly threw open his topcoat, and the bishop could see that he was faultlessly arrayed in evening dress. "Ah," thought the reverend gentleman, "evidently a well to do young f ellow. ' ' And he added aloud, a responsivo chord in his heart being touched at the mention of the word "dinner:" "Yes, one does feel lonely away from One's own people on a day like this. Are you düiing with friends this evening?" "No such luck," answered Edwards quickly. "I dine at the hotel. I' 11 have turkey, of course, and all that sort of thing, but it will not seem the same old Thanksgiving dinner to which I have been accustonied. ' ' Then he added eamestly: "Bishop, if I did not feel that you would refuse me I would ask you to some and dine with me this evening. " "We can do much better than that, " broke in the bishop warmly. "I would be pleased if you woxild come and dine with us. We are having but a small family dinner, and you would be entirely welcome to share it. ' ' Edwards' surprise at this unexpected kindness must have been very apparent, for the bishop hastened to add, his face beaming with good will: "Now, I will listen to no objections, for you can have none in reason. My home is only a sliort 3istance up Mailison avenue, and I see you are quite prepared to go out. ' ' Still smiling -vith good nature, the worthy bishop started up the street, followed by the man from Chicago, proïesting, but in truth rather feebly. On the way the Chicagoan explained to the reverend gentleman that bis business in New York was in connection with a deal on 'change and that if the bishop cared to speculate he might in a day or two be able to give him a valuable tip, whereat the good bishop chuckled inwardly, for here was surely a splendid chance to add to his flnanees. Thanking Edwards, he hinted plainly that he might take advantage of his offer, and the broker, for such he seemed to be, expressed the pleasure it would afford him to be of any use to the bishop. The Thanksgiving dinner passed'off spleudidly, Edwards proving himself a plendid couversationalist. Just four people participa ted besides the bishop and Edwards. These were the wife, daughter and son of the bishop and a brother, a well to do banker. The daughter, about 22 years old, was a tall, slender, willowy girl, fair of complexion, with clear, blue eyes, and the visitor was assiduous in his attentions to her during the evening. The sou was a young Princeton man, and naturally the conversation at dinner turned a great deal on football and on the day's game. Edwards seemed thoroughly up in the game, discursing with great fiuency on various celebrities of western fame. His acquaintanceship with various Chicago clergymen, all personal friends of the bishop, served to advance him in the latter'sgood graces, and, taken all in all, he made a very favorable impression on the whole fainily. His easy carriage, his graceful deportment and. well choseu language proved beyond a doubt that he was a thorough gentleman, and the bishop congratulated himself more and more for having met him. Shortly after the party adjourned to the drawing room the banker, seemingly to Edwards' relief, announced his intention of going home, and promptly said good night. After an evening pleasantly passed by all, during which the visitor only added to the good impression he had created earlier, Edwards hinted that he was about to leave. ' ' Wait a moment, please, ' ' said the bishop. "The other day I bought a painting, which I was inf ormed was a genuine Raphael. If you should happen to know anything about art, Mr. Edwards, I would very much like to have you step into the librarv and examine it." "With great pleasure," responded Edwards. "To teil you the truth, painting has always been one of my hobbies. ' ' Excusing themselves, the bishop and his guest crossed the hall and found themselves in a small but cozy little room, in which were suelves laden with theological works, a large writing desk, a small safe and a couple of chairs. Edwards took in the situation with a glance, and an observer would have seen a quiet smile of satisfaction on his handsome face. An odd thing he did, but something that the bishop was too preoccupied to notice, was to noiselessly turn the key in the door. "This ïs the picture, ' ' said the bishop proudly. ' ' Teil me just exactly what you think of it. " The Chicagoan examined it with the air of an expert. "You need have no fears, " said he at length, after an apparently minute survey. "It is a Raphael all right, and I congratúlate you on its possession. " The bishop gave a lïttle sigh of relief. ' ' Thank you, ' ' said he. ' ' I was afraid I might have been duped, though I am seldom caught nappiug. Let us return. ' ' "One moment, please," asked Edwards briskly. - "I wish you would sit down, as I have a somewhat lengthy communication to make to you. ' ' "Why, certainly," from the bishop affably. " Is it in ref erence to the deal?' ' ' ' In ref erence to a deal, ' ' repeated the other. "Bishop, you have treated me with so much kindness since we flrst met that I am induced to put the confidence in you which I would perhaps give to nobody else in the world. ' ' The bishop smiled at the young man encouragingly. "You see," he went on, "the subject is a delicate one, not to be treated lightly. When I lef t Chicago three days ago, I had to leave in somewhat of a hurry and was forced to start at hardly a momenfs notice. I had but little time to pack and forgotanumber of things that a gentleman always should have with him. Among others was my watch. As a business man I am in constant need of a timepiece. I see you are wearing one, bishop. Might I ask you to loan it to me, merely to loan it to me, for a couple of days?" "What!" thundered the bishop, aghast. "Oh, I ask you merely as man to man. I rely on your goodness of heart as exhibited all eveuing not to refuse this trifle. " The bishop sat glaring in his armchair. He made no movement. His chubby, round face was apoplectic with rage. "Come, come," said Edwards, changing his tune. ' ' I have no time to waste discussing the matter. ' ' The sight of the butt of a revolver half drawn from Edwards' trousers ga pocket acted like an electric shock (in the bishop. In a moment the richly jeweled watch was on the floor at the feet of the man froni Chicago. "That's reasonable, " said he. "Now, my dear bishop, that gold cross aronnd your neck. I will keep it as a souvenir of you. " "Next, " continued Edwards, pocket - ing the cross, "have you any money about you? I confess I came away tonight ridieulously short of change. The bishop glowered at him in impotent wrath, but Edwards preserved his imperturbable smile. TTour $ 10 billa and a eouple oí' dollars in silver were the result of a seareh through ths bishop's clothes. "Hum!" said the guest of the evening. "Is that all you have?" The bishop nodded. "Then, " said Edwards, with gravity, "I fear I will have to ask you to open the safe. I am certain you have not bankecl today's collection yet. Let me see - you annpunced it at nearly $900, a tidy sum. ' ' The bishop attempted to expostulate. "The money belongs to the chureh, not to me. ' ' "Ah, that may be, but I am only borrowing it from the chureh, and I rely on your goodness of heart to repay it to the chureh yourself in case I forget to. Time is fly ing. Hurryl" Unable to stand up, the unfortunate clergyman crawled over on his hands and lees aud fumbled at the combination. His hands shook so that he could hardly open it, while the Chicagoan, revolver in hand, stood guard over him. Once opened, it was the work of a moment to transfer the packages of money to the capacioiis pockets of the visitor, who politely assisted the bishop back to his armchair. "Now," said Edwards, "I think I am perfect] y satisfied. You have behaved beautifully, dear bishop, and I am delighted to find that I was perfectly right in relying upon your goodness of heart. I have only two more things to say, that your sermón this morning was excellent and your dinner this evening oqually so. As to that deal, why, we will talk it over next time we meet, which. may not be, alas, for a long time. ' ' A chloroformed handkerchief did the rest, and soon the old bishop was sleeping soundly on the floor of his library. Edwards drew a long breath as he walked into the hall. He could hear conversation in the drawing room, and at once concluded all was safe. So, relocking the library door, he put the key in his pocket and walked boldly into the drawing room. "Ladies," said he, "I will bid you good night now, with many thanks for your kind hospitality. By the way, the bishop does not wish to be disturbed for at least an honr. He is busy in the library studying some information I have just given him in regard to a little deal. Tomorrow evening I may cali again. Thank you both. " Polite as ever, he bowed himself out of the house gracefully. Strange to say, a cab was waiting for him. "Jim," said he to the driver, "go slow till you get round the corner. Then to the station like heil. I've copped the pile. We'll divvy later. " Then the cab started.


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