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Parent Issue
Day
27
Month
January
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

(I Auhor of 1 r)?Kss o God'Tfie Otfier Housc: 'Jl Mauy things that ninst have stnug , David were said of her iu every paper except his own. But eveu to Aune's eyes he was itupassivè. He went iiHo the world, particularly the society of men and clnbs, asmnoh asforruerly, and those who found pleastire in discusfiug bis affairs behiud his back were careful . to read the hint in his attitude and offer ueither sympatby nor advice. May was almost spent. At the corners of the streets barrel orgaus churneii antiquated love songs; eparrows built their nests in the weakly buddiug trees; wagons heaped with glowing planta halted at area gates; the crannies between the paving stones held spears of grass as streugtliless as the down on a boy's lip. On a warm uigbt Anne took a hansom to one of the big studio buildings ou upper Fifth avenue to attentl a dinner given by a celebrated artist just over froru Paris on a visit to bis native land. A brilliant 14 sat down at the round table, and she found herself between the athletio young novelist who took her in and an Australian capitalist. As dessert came ou there was a lnll in the entertaining nonsense and piquant discussious between herself and her dinner companion and sbe listened to the scraps of conversation around her. The name "Temple, " spokeiin soft,amused, scornful acceuts by the Australiau. reacbed lier. His big, bald ttead was turned from her, but owiug t# his slow, distinct utterauce slie conld hear almost every word. He was speaking of Olga. "They fade quickly, those very pale blonds, dont you think? Excitement and what not have spoiled a very pretty wonian in Mrs. Temple. A shocking failure sbe is too. In Melbourne, where she tried to force Parthenia down onr throats, I assure you she was laughed at. A playful little kitten style of womau in a comedy is as much as she should have attempted. These people never eau measure their ability. After years years of work and work she might have attempted parts, but, Lord, not now !" "She was considered a great beauty bere and a very good actress, " came from the listener ou the other side. "Of course, of oourse. I faucy wben sbe had everything her owu way aud didn't havo to fag she was bealtby and probably a beauty. But she's down on her luck. She's anaemio, too, or tbat dead white glassy skin of hers means arsenio" - "On, I assure you, no! She was always as white as milk. " "Tben she's organically unsound, bloodless, and she hasn't the stuff in her to last. They say she bas hysteries , like insanity, and her temper's frightf ui. I know for a positive fact she boxed hor coacbirian'fi ears in Melbourue. " "Eeally! And she always seemed so amiable! I cau't fancy her even disturbed. " "Disappointment, my dear lady, is like a blistering ,sun :n the sweetest milk - sure to turn it sour, eb?" "tibe appeared in London last rnonth. The reports say she made a failure there. " "One hasn't much 'go' playing a losing game. It will be a good thing for the society woman who talks and thiuks nothing but stage, stage, stage, to i meuiber one thing - the vast difference between playing to tbe big, cold hearted public whose eyesare all strabismus, end playing to Torn, Dick and Harry, with wbom she bas diued, flirterl or had 5 o'clock tea. Tbe public is a bulldog. If it doesn't get what it wants or expects, it bites. During her drive home the words she had heard staid with Anne, but insisted on remaiiiing beyond her belief. Olga pitied, ridiculed, faded - she who had been so secure, so envied! And but little more than a year had gone! Hhe sat with wide, speculative eyes, watching the sentinellike lamps flash past, and tried to picture Olga as she had been described. Failure had come and bitteruess had followed. Exhausting travel, nervous days and nights nd the pains of wouuded vanity had done the rest. Prosperity and confidence in herself bad been the qualities forming a foundation for Olga's winning unconcern and amiability. With defeat, witb struggle, the real nature had peered like an ugly face from behind a mask and left her a bitter, turbulent woman, a logical development of the peevish child who scratched. The house was wrapped iu slumber when she reached it. But sbe knew by the light left burning in tbe library tbat David had not yet returned. For several days she had only seen bim iu the mornintrs Sbo went to her annt's room to see if she slept or needed auything. TIjc ligbt burned low and umde big shadows among the bed curtains, the air was Bweet with th oior of lilaos, and a cool wind swej-t like a sigh throngh the place. Arme tiptoed tn the bed and looked at the suaall, huddled figure, the hauds lying palms npward on the connterpaue, the face turned sideways, resting on the shoulder in the attitude of watchiug, which had become habitual. She brushed a lock of hair from the wet brow, placed the big fan which had fallen within reach of her hand and crept out, Olga's face haunting her. A few uights later a letter came to Anne by the last post. It was from London, and she recognized Olga's handwriting. It was the first she had received since her departure. She carried it up to her own room, and even after the door was closed she hesitated with it iii her hand, fearing what was written within it. When she drew ifc from its covr, she read these words: My Dear Anne- You've had very liard thoughts of me, I know. You nover wrote To me yoursolf, and in tho brief notes received from father tJiere was no message from you. ïjowever, I'in going to ask you to let my humiliation brufh all these thoughts from your mind, for I am humihated, and it is bitter to say it, I eau teil you. l've failed. There's uo use mincing words or beating around the bush. l've failed, and lTm ill, very ill. Nobody seems to know just what'a the matter with me, and Idon'tmuch care. I'm probably dying, and that doesn't matter either. Bnt just now l've got a longing to go home. I have heart enough for that. I know mamma is all broken up, but still I keep thinking how pleasant it would be to lie in my eool, green room and have her fuss around me as she used to do when I had a cold or a headache. There's a comfort in this and in feeling that no matter what l've done I do belong to mamma and she'd never give me the cold shoulder. But tken, as I said, I hear ihc'a not as she was, and perhaps no one else would care to see me at home. Do you tliink David would take me back? I don't expect his forgiveness, nor that he could the least bit regard me as he used to do. But he may forgive me enough to let me go back to roy home, whioh is his now. I want to go home and rest, and this is all I care abont. Will you ask him, Anne, and write to me ? I'm so tired of myself. You never can know just how utterly sick and weary I am. My face in the glass frightens me, it is so lean and bloodless. I long so to rest, to fall asleep in a safe place and not think or care what t), end may be. You won't believe it maybe, but I'm not a bit pretty any more. I've gone off horribly. At first I minded] bat I don't now. Noth'ing seenis to matter. I've had my cake and eaten it. It disappointed me, and there's no oni to blame but niyself. Cable me here at Langham 's, and if I may return 111 go hoine at once. I wish now ld never gone on the stage. But wliat's the use of crying wheu the harm'sdone'r Do try and think kindly ui' me and welconie me back. Olga. Arme read the letter twice, and the picture hor fancy cou jured of Olga made a pain rise in her throat. Of course she would speak to David as soon as he carne in, and of course Olga would return. The pity in David's heart would let him receive back tbis wasted, disappointed woman and she would scarcely remiud him of the splqndid beauty who had failed him when he ueeded her most. Soon Olga wouid be home, creeping like the ghostof herself through the familiar rooms. Her soft step would be heard on the stairs. She might be cbanged in soul aud heart, and in her weakness and defeat be to David what he had longed to make her. As Aniie stood witii the letter in her hand she heard the street door close softly. Without giving herself time to think what she shouJd say sbe went down to the study. The full gaslight pourcd on David as he stood by the table, his chin lowered. His face was more than fatigued. It was pinched, aud she could see a moisture on his forehead. He looked up, but did not greet her or move. "David," she said nncertainly, "don't be angry, but I must epeak to you of Olga." He drew in bis breath and closed his eyes. "Ah, you know then, you know," he murmured. "I've a letter from her. " And she held it out to him. "She'svery ill and wants to come home. She wants me to ask" - He seized the hand that held the letter aud looked suffering, forbidding. "You '11 let her come borne here, wou't you? I was sure you wonld. Hhe seems to want nothiug else, she doesn't expeut or ask for forgiveuess" - "Ob, hush!"he said wildly and with difficulty, opening his other hand and showing a eru.sb.Ml cablegram. "I can never teil her now that I would have pitied her, yes, even forgiveu her the wrong she did me, for she'sdead, Aune. You can read it thcre. She died today. " OHAP.TER XXII. It was a wild night. Au icy torreut of rain was tosscd by a wind which seemed sent to wail over the world. The study where David ïeruple sat was ás cheery as firelight aud ghaded lamplight could make it. He was conscious only vaguely of the sputtering coals sending up fuchsia tinted sparks aud of tbe torrential rain shakiug the wiudow casings, while his thoughts wandered into drearns of other places and times. Save for the servants he dow lived aloue in the old Waverly place house. It was strange to sit there on this Jannary uight aud hear ueither voice nor footstep, to fiud himself listeninggladly to the clock's light strokes, feeling depressed wben the last vibration had whirred into tbe silence. (To be contlnued)