Chapter 2 THE MONTGOMERYS OF MONTGOMERY
A stout, spectacled gentleman of fifty or thereabouts appeared at intervals, every business day of the year, on the steps of Montgomery's Bank, at the corner of Main and Franklin Streets. As he stood on this pedestal, wearing, winter and summer, a blue-and-white seersucker office coat tightly buttoned about his pudgy form, and frequently with an ancient straw hat perched on the side of his head, it was fair to assume that he was in some way connected with the institution from whose doors he emerged. This was, indeed, the fact, and any intelligent child could have enlightened a stranger as to the name of the stout gentleman indicated. He was one of the first citizens of the community, if wealth, probity, and long residence may be said to count for anything. And his name, which it were absurd longer to conceal, was Amzi Montgomery, or, to particularize, Amzi Montgomery III. As both his father and his grandfather who had borne the same name slept peacefully in Greenlawn, it is unnecessary to continue in this narrative the numerical designation of this living Amzi who braved the worst of weathers to inspect the moving incidents of Main Street as a relief from the strain and stress of the business of a private banker.
When, every hour or so, Mr. Montgomery, exposing a pink bald head to the elements, glanced up and down the street, usually with a cigar planted resolutely in the corner of his mouth, it was commonly believed that he saw everything that was happening, not only in Main Street, but in all the shops and in the rival banking-houses distributed along that thoroughfare. After surveying the immediate scene,-having, for example, noted the customers waiting at the counter of the First National Bank, diagonally opposite,-something almost invariably impelled his glance upward to the sign of a painless dentist, immediately above the First National,-a propinquity which had caused a wag (one of the Montgomery's customers) to express the hope that the dentist was more painless than the bank in his extractions.
There was a clothing store directly opposite Amzi's bank, and his wandering eye could not have failed to observe the lettering on the windows of the office above it, which, in badly scratched gilt, published the name of Thomas Kirkwood, Attorney at Law, to the litigiously inclined. Still higher on the third and final story of the building hung a photographer's sign in a dilapidated condition, and though a studio skylight spoke further of photography, almost every one knew that the artist had departed years ago, and that Tom Kirkwood had never found another tenant for those upper rooms.
At two o'clock on the afternoon of the day following the return of Phil Kirkwood and her father from their camp on Sugar Creek, as Mr. Montgomery appeared upon the steps of the bank and gazed with his usual unconcern up and down Main Street, his spectacles pointed finally (or so it seemed) to the photographer's studio over the way. Although a slight mist was falling and umbrellas bobbed inanely in the fashion of umbrellas, Amzi in his seersucker coat was apparently oblivious of the weather's inclemency. One of the windows of the abandoned photograph gallery was open, and suddenly, without the slightest warning, the head of Miss Phyllis Kirkwood bent over the cornice and she waved her hand with unmistakable friendliness. It was then that Mr. Montgomery, as though replying to a signal, detached his left hand from its pocket, made a gesture as graceful as a man of his figure is capable of, and then, allaying suspicion by passing the hand across his bald head, he looked quickly toward the court-house tower and immediately withdrew to continue his active supervision of the four clerks who sufficed for his bank's business.
As depositors were now bringing to the receiving teller's window their day's offerings