The Passing of Zoroaster 2

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just escaping the accident of its being crushed by a stout woman
who sought a seat by his side where in disgust he had transferred
the source of his guilt for a minute of two. To his distorted vision
of his world also, the face of the brakeman seemed to single him
out with confidential understanding, as, at every station they
passed, he repeated his habitual warning, "Do not leave any
articles in the car!"

But the ferry was reached without disastrous accident, and pushing
forward in the rush, he made for the stern, where he and guilt
could forever part. But here, square before him, stood his old
gardener, Pat, with a hearty "Good mornin' to yez, Mister Stanton.
This is airly in the mornin' for the likes of ye. Let me be after
carrying the big bundle for ye, sir."

"Oh, really, no, thank you," stammered Jack. "It is important, - law
papers," he added vaguely, not wishing to hurt the kindly old soul
by refusal, but mentally saying to himself, "I'll linger behind and
leave it on the seat. I believe that is the judge himself out in front
this minute!" And by the gods! who should he see as he turned
about but his next-door neighbor!

"Well, well, - early met!" said the judge cordially. "Do you go up
on this train often? It is a new thing for me, - glad I have met you
and can enjoy your company." It was close company, too; until the
boat bumped on the New York side.

Desperate at having lost his chance to throw the bundle overboard.
Jack left it on the seat, right in the face of those stern, printed
warnings not to leave any articles on these boats, and before the
ferry had actually stopped, the judge having been accosted by
some one else, - risking limb and law, he scrambled over the chain,
and running for his uptown car sat down in victory. Guilt was left

Ah, not yet, Mr. Jack, fine gentleman and lawyer that you are! For
a street gamin sprang upon the step just as the car moved off with a
"Hi, there! You left your bundle, mister!" A sly man given to sin or
finesse, would have played the game of discard, but our dear hero
grasped the hindering thing with eagerness, even letting a dime
hastily drop in the dirty little hand of betrayal.

"What is to be the end of this?" he groaned inwardly. "I have
become the Eugene Aram of my age." Buying some cologne at the
first drug shop after leaving the car, he decided to seek the shelter
of his office without further delay, and attempt to think out the
problem, - when, just as he was shutting the outside door, the voice
of the drug clerk recalled him, saying politely, "Isn't this yours,
sir?" In his preoccupied nervousness he had almost forgotten the
thing, the Horror!

It was a racking day, between his plans and his failures. Once he
boldly determined to hurl Zoroaster from the rear window of his
hallway. Nothing easier! Only, on opening his office door to be
sure that the coast was clear, he met the janitor, who seemed to
search him with a new gaze of suspicion, a sort of thou-art-the-
man expression. And as he passed on to the next office with a feint
of business, his heart cried out anew, "This life of deceit will kill

Amid a tumult of hopes and fears, the day wore away, and night
came with the Persian philosopher still unburied. In the darkness
of the ferry passage now he should have no trouble at all. After all,
it was only a cat. He was not really a murderer. Jack's spirits rose
at approaching freedom. He even whistled a bit from the last new
ballet he had seen and liked: sprinkling the cologne freely about.
Sure of speedy relief, he took the earlier train out. Once, - stopping
to buy a basket of rare fruit for poor Kate, - his avenger slipped
from his arms, but it was quickly restored to him. He did not care
particularly, he was nearing deliverance now. How beautiful life
would be without the secret that he could not lose!