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Through The Tunnel

Through The Tunnel image
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It was a bright, clear, cold niorning in early December. When Kathie j ed tbe car there was scarcely a vacant seat to be seen. To be sure, there was 1 one stout, old gentleman sitting alone, but he was next to the aisle, and seemed f so deeply absorbed in thought Uiat , Kathie disliko.d to disturb him. Then thero was a niiddle-aged woman, but ' she had numberless pareéis and wraps i in the seat beside her, and her appearance, take her all in all, was so forbidding as she looked fixedly out of the window, that Kathie passed her by. There was but one seat unoccupied. It was beaide a gentleman who sat close to the window ronding a paper. "Is tuis seat engaged?" asked Kathie. with timid hesitancy. "It is not," was the answer, in a pleasant tone; "but," springing up as he spoke, "would yon prefer the seat by the window?" "Oh no! Thank you! Not at all!" murniured Kathie, and sat down beside him. The gentleman turned his attention again to his paper, and Kathio imniediately feil to wishing that she had taken the seat by the window. For the gentleman sat at her right hand and her purse was in her cloak pocket, aad had not her Auut Kate warned hor over and over again to be on her guard against pick-pockets, and had declared that they were quite as likely to be young, agreeable and polite as the reverse? And was not this person all three! Kathie stole a shy glaace at him. His dark eyes were intently fixed on his newspaper. He was fine looking and well dressed, and to all intents, quite oblivious of her existence. Kathie wondered demurely what sort of an expression his face would wear if he knew that any one thought that hc might perhaps be a pick-pocket. She might take her pursc and hold it in her hand, but that would seem ostentatious and tiresome; moreovertbere would be ampie time for that when the gentleman - hc looked like a gentleman certainly - should put down his paper and Katie could no longer see his hands. It was her first trip to Boston quite alone. Aunt Kate had always been with her before to take care of her, but this year Aunt Kate's rheumatism was so much wor than usual that she did not hope to be equal to a trip to Boston. And so it carne about that Kathie, feeling quite old and rosponsible, was on her way this bright December morning to the city. She mentally planned her days work and portioned out her money for the various things she was intendiug to buy. While Kathie was thus engaged the train swept into the tunnel. As it grew dark the gentleman beside her put down his paper, turning slightly towards Kathie as he did so. And then Kathie was sure she feit a stealthy motion towards her cloak pocket. Quick as thought her hand went down toseize her purse, when, -oh, horrors! -there was the man's hand in her pocket. Kathie did not withdraw her hand. On the oontrary being resolved to protect her propercy at all hazard, she feit about with her fingers as well as she corüd for her purse, but could not find it. It was already gone. Then Kathie seized the intruding hand with the firmness of desperation, fully determined to make an alarm as soon as the cars emerged into daylight again. If he did not have the purse in his hand, there, at least, was hi.i hand in her pocket, and some of the passengers would see her righted and her purse restored, Fortunately her purgo had her name printed on the inside. How long the minutes seemed before the train carne out again into the Jight! Then Kathie still clasping firmly the man's hand, looked up and down the aisle with sparkling eyes and flushed cheeks, for the conductor. "I beg your pardon," said her captive in such a low tone that Kathie could scajcely catch the words, "but háVe you not made a mistake in the pocket?" Kathie gave one swift glance. Good heavens! ¦¦ Her hand was in his pocket! If she had touched a burning coal she could not have relinquisheü her hold and withdrawn her hand more promptly. She was overeóme with confusión. She ventnred one deprecatory glance at the gentleman. His expresBivc face wore a mischievous smile. "I thought- " began Kathie tremulously, but sho eould get no further. The revolution of her feeling was too great. The brightness of her eyes was suddenly quenched by greater tears, and her lip qujvercd ominously. "That it was your pocket, of course," said tho gentleman, completing her sentence. "I understand perfectly. Pray do not let the mistske disturb you," he continued' with imploring earnestness, In the midst of her distress Kathie could not help thinking how musical his voicowas. Kathie becamo outwardly composed af ter awhile, but her mind was still in a tumult. Suppose he had turned the tables upon her, and denounced her as a pick-pocket, as he might very well have done! She shivered at the mere thought of it. Once or twioe as they neared the citj the gentleman glanced at her as if hi would speak; but Kathie's resolute averted face and downcast oyes gav íini no opportunity, and not another vord was spoken until they reached the itation, where he left her with a courte)us bow and "Good nioruing." "Hateful thing!" said Kathie to herielf, "I hope I shall never set eyes on lim again!" and then she watclied him with admiring eyes as long as she could iistinguish his line form in the hurrying crowd. Her purse, it is scarcelv nccessary to say, was safe in her pocket, and she soon set about diminishing its contents. Notwithstanding the inauspicious beginning of her trip, her day proved quite successful and satisfactory. Her own errands and Aunt Kato's commissions were all executed, and there was still a half hour to spare for a cali to Cousin Will's office, and whcn the time drew near for her train to leave, he eseorted her to the station The train was in readiness when they arrived, and as they walked along to reach the right car, a form approachod them f rom a side entrance a glance at which sen te thrill through Kathie's veins, and the hot blood to her cheeks and brow. "Ah! here's Harry ïhorn going on vour train, Kathie," said her cousin. "He will be agreeaole company for you, and will sec to your pareels," and then, before Kathie was at all prepared for it, came the inevitable introduction. Kathie conld hardly force herself to meet the glance of the mischievous dark eyes bent upon her, or to touch the proffered hand. It was utterly impossible for her to speak a word, but the gentleman talked on till Will left them at the entrance to the car. "You will lako the seat by the window this time?" questioned Mr. Thorn, and Kathie silently took it. Af ter he had arranged her pareéis 11 the rack and seated himself, Kathio í jaid with a frank smile, ' 'I really hoped ( :hat I should never sec you again." "Did you (hink L deservid etornal 1 banishment?" hc asked lïghtly. i "Oh, no! It was rather I who nieritod it," said Kathie. -'So long as you l did nol know me it did not matter what i you thought of me, but now," - ah, 1 vvhere wei'o Kathie's words leadingher? I - "if you should teil Cousin Will, she conünued quito illogically, "theywould i tease me unmercifully, and I should ! never hear the last of it." "Iassure you," was the earnest answer, "that 1 will never mention the mistake to whioh you refer to Will or to anyone else. No crae besides ourselves need ever know aught of it." And then he skillfully turned tho conversation, and Kathie was soon quito at her ease, and they were conversing like old friends. That memorable ride through the tunnel oocurred gome years ago, and Kathie's relations with Mr. Thorn have changed so greatl}' that now, instoad of suspecting hini of taking her money, she appropriates with great coolness funds from his pooket-bookfortheshopping. Mr. Thorn sometimos laughingly declares that instead of his wife waiting for hini to offer his hand, as ladies usually do, she took possession of it the first time that she ever saw him; but his most intímate friends ask in vain for an explanation of his jest.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News