First Page Project Gutenberg Header Page 107 of 193 Next Page Last Page CHAPTER XXII - Michael, Brother of Jerry


Not altogether unwillingly, in the darkness of night, despite that he disliked the man, did Michael go with Harry Del Mar. Like a burglar the man came, with infinite caution of silence, to the outhouse in Doctor Emory's back yard where Michael was a prisoner. Del Mar knew the theatre too well to venture any hackneyed melodramatic effect such as an electric torch. He felt his way in the darkness to the door of the outhouse, unlatched it, and entered softly, feeling with his hands for the wire- haired coat.

And Michael, a man-dog and a lion-dog in all the stuff of him, bristled at the instant of intrusion, but made no outcry. Instead, he smelled out the intruder and recognised him. Disliking the man, nevertheless he permitted the tying of the rope around his neck and silently followed him out to the sidewalk, down to the corner, and into the waiting taxi.

His reasoning--unless reason be denied him--was simple. This man he had met, more than once, in the company of Steward. Amity had existed between him and Steward, for they had sat at table, and drunk together. Steward was lost. Michael knew not where to find him, and was himself a prisoner in the back yard of a strange place. What had once happened, could again happen. It had happened that Steward, Del Mar, and Michael had sat at table together on divers occasions. It was probable that such a combination would happen again, was going to happen now, and, once more, in the bright-lighted cabaret, he would sit on a chair, Del Mar on one side, and on the other side beloved Steward with a glass of beer before him--all of which might be called "leaping to a conclusion"; for conclusion there was, and upon the conclusion Michael acted.

Now Michael could not reason to this conclusion nor think to this conclusion, in words. "Amity," as an instance, was no word in his consciousness. Whether or not he thought to the conclusion in swift-related images and pictures and swift-welded composites of images and pictures, is a problem that still waits human solution. The point is: _he did think_. If this be denied him, then must he have acted wholly by instinct--which would seem more marvellous on the face of it than if, in dim ways, he had performed a vague thought-process.

However, into the taxi and away through the maze of San Francisco's streets, Michael lay alertly on the floor near Del Mar's feet, making no overtures of friendliness, by the same token making no demonstration of the repulsion of the man's personality engendered in him. For Harry Del Mar, who was base, and who had been further abased by his money-making desire for the possession of Michael, had had his baseness sensed by Michael from the beginning. That first meeting in the Barbary Coast cabaret, Michael had bristled at him, and stiffened belligerently, when he laid his hand on Michael's head. Nor had Michael thought about the man at all, much less attempted any analysis of him. Something had been wrong with that hand--the perfunctory way in which it had touched him under a show of heartiness that could well deceive the onlooker. The _feel_ of it had not been right. There had been no warmth in it, no heart, no communication of genuine good approach from the brain and the soul of the man of which it was the telegraphic tentacle and transmitter. In short, the message or feel had not been a good message or feel, and Michael had bristled and stiffened without thinking, but by mere _knowing_, which is what men call "intuition." Next Page

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"Of all lies, art is the least untrue."
Gustave Flaubert