Siegel grasped the situation. "Sure! Vy, how you vass dis dime, eh! Veil, veil—you gome pack in style, ain't it ? Your daughter—yes ?"
"My wife," said Haney.
Siegel raised a fat arm, which a dirty blue undershirt imperfectly draped, and Bertha shook hands with curt politeness. "Veil, veil, Mart, you must haff struck a cold-mine by now, hah?" "That's what."
"Veil, veil! and I licked you fer hookin' apples off me vonce—aind dot right?"
Mart grinned. "I reckon that's so. I said I'd cut you in two when I grew up; all boys say such things, but I reckon your whalin' did me good. But what I want to know is this, can you tell me where to find the old man?"
"Your fader? He's in Brooklyn—so I heart. I don't know. My, my! he'll be clad to see you—"
"You don't know his address?"
"No, I heart he was livin' mit your sister Kate."
"Donahue's in a saloon, I reckon."
"Always. He tondt know nodding else. You can fint him in the directory—Chon Donahue, bar keep."
"All right Much obleeged." Haney looked around. "I don't suppose any of the boys are livin' here now?"
"Von or two. Chake Schmidt iss a boliceman, Harry Sullivan iss in te vater-vorks department, ant a few oders. Mostly dey are scattered; some are teadt— many are teadt," he added, on second thought.
"Well, good-luck," and Haney reached down to shake hands again, and the machine began to whiz. "Tell all the boys 'How.'"
For half an hour they ran about the streets at his direction, while he talked on about his youthful joys and sorrows. "You wouldn't suppose a lad could have any fun in such a place as this," he said, musingly, "but I did. I was a careless, go-divil pup. and had a power of friends, and these alleys and bare brick walls were the only play-ground we had. You can't cheat a boy —he's goin' to have a good time if he has three grains of corn in his belly and a place to sleep when he's tired. I was all right till me old dad started to put me into the factory to work; then I broke loose. I could work for an hour or two as hard as anny one; but a whole long day—not for Mart! Right there I decided to emigrate and grow up with the Injuns."
Bertha listened to his musing comment with a new light upon his life. She had little cause for the feeling of disgust which came to her while studying the scenes of his boyhood—her own childhood had been almost as humble, almost as cheerless—and yet she could not prevent a sinking at the heart. The gambler, so picturesque in his wickedness, was becoming commonplace. He rose from such petty conditions, after all.
Thus far the question of his family relations had not troubled her very much, for, aside from the chance coming of Charles, she had had little opportunity of knowing anything about the Haneys, and they had seemed a very long way off; but now, as she was rushing down upon New York City, with the promise of not only finding the father, but of taking him back with them to live, she began to doubt. His character was of the greatest importance, in view of his taking a seat beside their fire.
It was singular, it was bewildering, this change in her estimate of Marshall Haney. The deeper he sank in reminiscent meditation the farther he withdrew from the bold and splendid freebooter he had once seemed to her. She was now unjust to him for he was still capable of what his kind call "standing pat." The rough-and-ready borderman was still housed under the same thatch of hair with the sentimental old Irishman, and yet it would have sorely puzzled the keenest observer to discover the relationship of that handsome, rather serious-browed, richly clothed young woman and her big, elderly, garrulous companion. Bertha was not easy to classify, in herself, for she gave out an air of reserve not readily accounted for. She looked to be the well-clothed, carefully reared American girl, but her gestures, the silent, unsmiling way in which she received what was said to her — something indefinably alert and self-masterful without being self-conscious— gave her a mysterious charm.
She was profoundly absorbed in the great, historic river on her right, and yet she did not cry out as other girls of her age would have done. She read her folder and kept vigilant eyes upon all the passing points of interest—even as Haney rumbled on about Charles and his father and Kate—more than half distraught by the vague recollections she had of her school histories and geographies. How little she knew! "I must buckle down to some kind of study," she repeatedly said to herself, as if it helped her to a more inflexible resolution.
Soon the mighty city and its fabled sea-shore began to scare her soul with vague alarms and exultations. Manhattan was as remote to her as London, and as splendidly alien as Paris. It was, indeed, both London and Paris to her. Its millions of people appalled her. How could so many folk live in one place ?
Again the magic power of money bucklered her. It was good to think that they were to go to the best hotels, and that she had no need to trouble herself about anything, for Lucius settled everything. He telegraphed for rooms, he assembled all their baggage and tipped their porters: and when they rushed into the long tunnel in Harlem he was free to take the Captain by the arm and help him to the forward end of the car ready to alight, leaving Bertha to follow without so much as a satchel to burden her arm. Haney had accepted Lucius' assurance that the Park Palace was the smart hostelry, and to this they drove as to some unknown inn in a foreign capital.
It was gorgeous enough to belong in the tale of Aladdin's lamp — a palace, in very truth, with entrance-hall in keeping with the glittering, roaring Avenue through which they drove, and which was to Bertha quite as strange as a boulevard in Berlin would have been. Lucius conducted them into the reception-room with an air of proprietorship, and soon had waiters, maids and bell-boys "jumping." His management was masterful. He knew just what time to give each man, and just how much to say concerning his master and mistress. He conveyed to the clerk that while Captain Haney didn't want any foolish display, he liked things comfortable round him, and the colored man's tone, as he spoke that word "comfortable," was far-reaching in effect. The best available places were put at his command.