Lakeside was a pleasant little town of five or six thousand inhabitants, and a rather pretty one, too, as towns go in the Far West. It had church accommodations for thirty five thousand, which is the way of the Far West and the South, where everybody is religious, and where each of the Protestant sects is represented and has a plant of its own. Rank was unknown in Lakeside unconfessed, anyway; everybody knew everybody and his dog, and a sociable friendliness was the prevailing atmosphere. Saladin Foster was book keeper in the principal store, and the only high salaried man of his profession in Lakeside. He was thirty five years old, now; he had served that store for fourteen years; he had begun in his marriage week at four hundred dollars a year, and had climbed steadily up, a hundred dollars a year, for four years; from that time forth his wage had remained eight hundred a handsome figure indeed, and everybody conceded that he was worth it.