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HOME > Classical Novels > For the Allinson Honor > CHAPTER XIII LOVE'S ENCOURAGEMENT
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 It was after dinner and Wannop, lounging comfortably over his cigar in Frobisher's smoking-room, smiled at Andrew, who sat opposite.  
"This is a very nice house and I like your friend," he commented. "It's lucky he invited us, because I don't know how they'd have put us up at the hotel."
"What brought you over with Leonard?" Andrew asked bluntly.
"Gertrude wanted to make some visits this winter, which set me free. I've never been much away from home, and it struck me as a good chance for seeing Canada; then Jack1 Cartwright—you may remember him—is in Toronto. It's twelve years since I've met him, though he has often urged me to come over; and there's another man I know in Winnipeg."
"I wonder whether that was all?"
Wannop looked amused. He was stout2 and clumsy, but he had his jovial3 air.
"You seem to have been getting smarter since you came to Canada," he said. "Perhaps I'd better admit that I was anxious to see how you were getting on."
"Didn't Leonard tell you?"
"Leonard was as guarded and diplomatic as usual. He informed us that there had been some trouble at the mine and he was afraid you hadn't experience enough to deal with the situation. Then he gave us the im[Pg 135]pression that you were inclined to be rash and might make a mess of things unless he came over and put you right."
"Ah!" exclaimed Andrew; "I expected something of the sort."
They looked at each other with mutual4 comprehension.
"Can matters be straightened out?" Wannop asked.
"Not in the few days that Leonard intends to devote to it. It's most unlikely that the Rain Bluff5 will ever pay."
"I'm sorry to hear it. A good deal of my money and Gertrude's has gone into the mine."
"You needn't be alarmed. I don't think the shareholders6 will suffer."
Andrew's tone was impressive, and Wannop looked at him sharply.
"That doesn't seem to agree with your last remark."
"I've a plan for working a richer lode7, but I can't tell you anything further, because the secret belongs to another man until the minerals have been recorded; and it wouldn't be fair to Leonard and the directors, who haven't been consulted about the project yet. When my plans are ready, they will be disclosed. Perhaps I'm straining your confidence."
"It will stand some strain. But are you sure that Leonard will be fair to you?"
"That is another matter," Andrew said quietly.
"Well, I'm glad you have told me something: it gives me a lead. It was obvious that you and Leonard were at variance8. In fact, I've foreseen a split for some time, and if a side must be taken, I'd rather stand by you."
"Thanks! But it may get you into trouble."
[Pg 136]Wannop lighted another cigar and then looked up with a chuckle9.
"We're neither of us sentimentalists, but there's something to be said. You and I have always got on well, and when I married Gertrude you didn't lay such stress on the favor shown me in being allowed to enter the family as your estimable relatives did. Then we're the two whose abilities aren't held in much esteem10, which is some reason why we should stick together. With all respect for the others, I sometimes think they're wrong."
Andrew laughed.
"We'll come to business," Wannop went on. "While the Rain Bluff shares were well taken up by outside investors11, a good many are held by the family; these count as a compact block, a strong voting power—though it's remarkable12 that Leonard holds less than any of the rest of us. So if there's to be a fight between you and him, it will begin among your relatives; their opinion is more important than that of the general shareholders."
"Yes," assented13 Andrew, "Leonard would be powerful if backed by the solid family vote."
"The point is that he may not get it. Anyhow, Gertrude and I will support you, and we hold a good deal of stock between us."
"Thanks!" said Andrew. "Still, it may not come to a struggle of that kind, after all. It must be avoided if possible."
Then Frobisher came in and interrupted them.
Leonard spent a week with Frobisher, driving across to the Landing each morning on business. He and Andrew now and then discussed the Company's affairs without open disagreement. His attitude to[Pg 137]ward Andrew was friendly, but marked by a tone of good-humored forbearance, and when he spoke14 of him to Frobisher it was with a trace of amusement, as if Andrew were erratic15 and needed judicious16 guidance. It was done cleverly, for Leonard carefully avoided detraction17, but his remarks conveyed the impression that Andrew was something of a simpleton.
"If Allinson hasn't much judgment18, why did you send him over to look after the mine?" Frobisher once asked him bluntly.
Leonard smiled at this.
"We didn't give him much responsibility; to tell the truth, we wanted to get him away for a while. There was a young grass-widow that it seemed possible he might make a fool of himself about. Rather a dangerous woman, I believe, and Andrew's confiding19."
When his guests had returned to the Landing, Frobisher remarked to his daughter:
"Mr. Hathersage doesn't seem to think much of his brother-in-law."
"So it seems," said Geraldine, with an angry sparkle in her eyes. "He never missed an opportunity for cunningly disparaging20 him."
"Then you don't agree with his opinion?"
"I don't know that it was his real opinion," Geraldine replied. "I wouldn't trust the man." She paused and asked sharply: "Would you?"
"If I had to choose, I think I'd rather put my confidence in Allinson."
He looked thoughtful when his daughter left him, for he had not spoken to her without an object, and her indignation had its significance. On the whole, however, Frobisher saw no cause for uneasiness. He liked[Pg 138] Andrew, and though Leonard's explanation might have had a deterrent21 effect, he disbelieved it.
Before returning to England, Leonard had an interview with Mappin at the hotel.
"Do you know anything of the lode Allinson talks about?" he asked him.
"Nothing except that it lies up in the northern barrens, a mighty22 rough country, and that people think it's a delusion23 of the man who claims to have discovered it. But didn't your brother-in-law talk it over with you, if he's interested in the thing?"
"He did not. I may as well admit that there are points upon which his views don't agree with mine."
"So I imagined," Mappin remarked pointedly24.
"He's in favor of closing the Rain Bluff. If that were done, it would, of course, cost you your contract."
Mappin looked thoughtful. Leonard had already sketche............
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