The Running Fight
Library of Alexandria
Once, twice, thrice,—failing miserably in his attempt to appear unconcerned,—Ilingsworth paced back and forth in front of Peter V. Wilkinson's big house in Riverside Drive. There it stood: a massive, forbidding, modern pile of limestone, wholly unlike anything in its vicinity. And yet, now that the time had come, Ilingsworth's face wore a confused, half-fearful look, a sense of uncertainty possessed him, which was all the more maddening because so far, at least, there had been no obstacles or delays in this brief, turbulent journey of his; on the contrary, all had gone well with him, and like a falcon in pursuit of its prey he had sped on the straightest of straight lines towards a person of the name of Leslie Wilkinson, and this person, so Ilingsworth assured himself, would soon feel his claws. From a distance, it is true, Wilkinson's imposing structure had differed little from that which his imagination had led him to expect. It was like the pictures he had seen of it many times in the papers; so like, in fact, that even now in his extremity he could feel the strange, exultant pride he had experienced but a few short months ago when exhibiting to Elinor a counterfeit presentment of it in a monthly magazine. And, certainly, he had every right to be proud, at least, so he thought then,—for was not he, Elinor's father, Giles Ilingsworth of Morristown, a close business associate of Peter V. Wilkinson, the great financier? His business associate! Ugh! The very thought of it now made him shiver, tortured him. Indeed, to such an extent that, on nearing the place, his vengeful purpose was kindled anew, and his right hand took a fresh grip on an object of sinister shape hidden in his pocket. At that moment Ilingsworth had but one idea: to get it over with as soon as possible. But once actually in front of the Wilkinson mansion, when his eyes sweeping upward had failed to catch the point of view of the press photographers, a feeling akin to panic had come over him; and he had passed and repassed, unable to force himself to the point of making an inquiry of a passerby. And yet, what could he do to make certain? And then, as if in answer to his half-smothered cries of "Is this Wilkinson's? There must be no mistake ..." there fell on his ears the raucous squeal of a megaphone, and, turning whence came the sound, he beheld a crowded tourists' sight-seeing car rolling slowly and laboriously along the Drive, its interlocutor busily engaged in the practice of his genteel profession.