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Consoled

Consoled image
Parent Issue
Day
21
Month
October
Year
1898
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

It was the winter before Will and I were married that Richard Deering became engaged to Miss Rhoades. Will and Richard had been almost inseparable from childhood, and the latter was an old friend of mine also. We did not know Miss Rhoades, bat Richard assured us we could not fail to like her, and Will said his opinión was to be considerad, for of conrse it waa quite impartial. To teil the trnth, on meeting Miss Rhoades we did not share Richard's enthusiasm. She had a reserved manner and was not particnlarly pleasing in any way. Aud she did not seein sufficiently in love with Richard to suit me. Indeed Í went so far as to say that I did not beiieve she cared for him at all I had to admit tbat she was fine looking, though not hapdsoroe, and she was older than Richard. He conflded to Will that he wns past the age to be attracted siniply by a pretty face, and he had no fancy for girls in their teens. Richard was 28. Onr worst foars were soon realized. One night ray betrothed did not come to see me, which surprised me much, for it was important I should consult with him aboat the new house. The next morning I received a telegram from Will: Could not come last night. Richard la trouble. Engagement broken. It was two or three days before I saw Will, and then he carne in at noon for a hurried cali. He looked worn and harassed, but patiently replied to the countless questions I asked in regard to Richard's affair. It seemed that Miss Rhoades had been mistaken in the nature of her regard for him, as she expressed it. In other words, she had not really cared for him, but tried to do bo, urged by her family and tempted by his wealth. Will thought there was another lover in the background, but Richard did not suspect it. The poor fellow was a complete wreek, and for the next few days Will was constantly with his distracted friend and had no time to give to me. When he did come, it was to say that he had prevailed upon Richard to go away for awhile, the latter consenting on condition that Will would accompany him. My lover could ill afford to leave at this time, and his absence would be most trying to me, as I wanted his advice concerning the house. However, neither of us feit that we could urge any claims of our own in the face of Richard's dire need. So we reluctantly bade each other goodby. The trip benefited the heartbrokeu lover, and on his return he consented to take up his residence at home, and af ter a time resumed his customary visits to our house, though he scarcely spoke and looked the picture of despair. It was a little wearing for Will aud me, for out of ccnrtesy to poor Richard we did not like to speak of the wedding or any of the arrangements when he was present, and as our miuds were naturally occupiedwith the topic in question our conversation was sometimos rather torced. We had espected him to act as best man at our wedding, but it seemed more than doubtful that he would feel eqnal to the position in his present state of mind. We were anxions to know how he feit abont the matter, and at last Will touched upon the subject. "It is evident that you know uothing of my feelings, " said Richard in an injured tone. "I shall proba bly never attend a wedding agaiu as long as I live. It would be torture, agony, simply unbearable. I would do a great deal for you, but don't ask me anything so utterly impossible. " Will humbly apologized and bastened to ask his cousin to act as best man. He accepted with alacrity. Will's sister Dorothy, a girl of 18, was to be my inaid of honor. She had been abroad for the last three years, finishing her education. When she weut away, she was a schoolgirl, and not realizing the change that a year or two can make at her age wa were surprised to receive a photograph showing her to bu a pretty and prepossessing youug lady, with quite tho air, as we imagined from her pose, of a society wornan. It was two or three weeks after Will's conversation with Richard in regard to the matter of best man that one evening our afflicted friend seemed a little less moróse than usual. He picked up Dorotby's picture, which was lying on the table. "What a pretty girl !" he exclaimed, "Who is she?" "You ought to know her," replied Will. " You and she were fast friends once. She's no other than my sistev Dorothy." "That handsome girl my little frienrt Dorothy! Why, I thought of her as still a child. By Jove, but she's a beauty!" said Richard, with more animatiou than he had displayed since his engagement was broken. It was a relief to see him aomething like his old self, if only for a moment, but he surprised us by conversing quitp oheerfully the rest of the evening. A few days later Will appeared in a most excited frame of mind. Richard was at the house at the time, but Will did not nodice him as he rushed in exclaiming: "Such ill luck! Co-jsin Henry is down with the mumps. Did yon ever hear of anything so ridiculons, and the wedding uext week?" "What is to be done?" I asked blankly. "That is more than I know, " replied Will. "I dashed over to see Sylvester, but he's off to Florida next week, and then I asked Toni Manders. He thanked me politely for my courtesy and said he hardly cared to act as a stop gap. Agreeable chap, Torn, but that was always his way - must be first or nowhere. I think I will telegraph my cousin Herbert in Philadelphia. Inever fancied him much, but I must have sorue one, I suppose. " At this juncture Richard, who had been looking at Dorothy's picture, spoke rather hesita tingly: " Well, oíd fellow, since yon are in such a tight place, 111 help you out. I will act as best man." Will stared with amazement at this unexpected offer, but slapped Richard heartily on the baok. "Will you really, thongh? You're an old brick!" I wonder why men always use the word "old" as a term of endearment with each other? Í suppose it is a substitnte for "dear" and "darling" and all the tender terms of a w ornan 's vocabulary. Richard seemed embarrassed at Will 's gratitude, and added somewhat apologetically: "If I can accommodate a friend, I want to. That's about the only thing in the way of pleasure I can ever hope to have." Dorothy arrived a day or two before the wedding. We found her even more charming than her picture, and we were all delighted with her. I was almost too busy to breathe in these last few days, but everything was over at last. The rehearsal passed off satisi'actorily, and so, my friends assured me, did the wedding. I am not authority on that subject, but at any rate everything went off according to programme. Then Will and I starled away for a six weeks' trip. After traveling about for a fortnight we settled down in a spot which was most restful and delightful. There was nothing iu the way of excitement, but we thoroughly enjoyed the primitive and idyllic life of the little town. Toward the close of our month there, however, we were glad to receive letters from our home friends. We had not encouraged them to write us earlier in our stay, and we had heard almost nothing from home. We were not getting dull, of course, but when I said one day that I should like a long, newsy letter from one of the girls Will echoed my wish heartily. That af ternoon carne a letter, not from one of the girls and not long, bnt decidedly "newsy, " so much so that it fairly took away my breath. It ran as f ollows : Dear Witxie- Congratúlate mei 1 am the happiest man alive. Y our sister Dorothy, the dearest girl in the world, had promised to marry me. No time to write more now. Your friend nd brother to be, Richard Deering. P. S.- Perhaps it would be just as well not to mention that little affuir of last winter to Dorothy. She might not anderstand it. In fact, I don't understand ít myself now. B. It was long before Will spoke. When he did, it was to say : "And he calis it 'that little affair," after all the sleep I lost for the rascal.