Press enter after choosing selection

Who's Who?

Who's Who? image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

j i v 4fc COPYUlQHti lOnfOVTWE ArfrtOB "1 AM NOT HAROLD WESTCOTT!" Stsrely it was iiot fancy on my part that sbowed me the figuro of Covey Cone on the othcr sido of the street at the moment I emerged from the lower door of my apartnicnts on my way to cali upon Miss Lawrence. At the instant of oatching sight of the detective he seemed tq have been pausing, as if to fasten his shoe, but imrnediately resumed his brisk walk in the opposite direetion fromtbcone takou by me and without looking across. I thought nothing more of it, though it would have b en well had I done so. I was kept waiting but a brief while in the bcautiful reception room at - Madison avenue, when I beard a light footstep on the stairs, and the next j ment Jeanette Lawrence bounded into the room and into my arms. There was no helping it. The petite, black eyed beauty, overflowiug with happiness and high spirit?, never hesitated, and I could do nothing Jess than return the fervent kiss and embrace. Then, asi I sank into a ohair, she did the same close i beside me, and, reaching over with her fairylike hand, sent a thrill tbrongh every fiber of my being by gently brushing away a curl frorn my forehead, as doubtless she had done many a time with Harold Westcott "Dear Harold, how do yon feel?" she ' asked in a voice of infinite tendorness. "I never -was so f rightened in my life afteivyou had forcccl mother back my lap and you veere thrown froni your horse. It must havo hurt vou dreadfully." "Yes, I ivas pretty well shaken up, bnt I have fully recovered. " "How thankful I aml I sprang out of the oarriage as soon as the team was stopped and knelt oves ycra. I -vished them to bring yon lo our honse, btit the officer sai be hospital, and by the time I really coiapi .'at was goiag on they had taken you away. " "And how is your raother?" "Barring a little there are 110 ill cm cis from the accident. But hen es." The beaming, matronly woman walked straight to me wiíh extended hand and impJanted a motberly kiss on my check. "You dear, good boy," she said, deliberately seating herself aüd'folding her :: ampie bosoro, "yon d your lifefor ns. If you had not ck into Jeanette's lap, should havo beeu killed." "It was a rather alavming time, but it is fortúnate that it ended so well. I nnderstand your coachman was badly hurt." "Quite badly, but he is mending and, the doctor says, will corae around if no complication intervenes. You seem to be well, Harold?" "Yes; better thaii I hadaright to expect. I was considerably bruised, but the only ill effects rre a peculiar affection of my mcmory, due, I suppose, to the violent jar. It plays odd praxtks with me at times. " I trust the rccording angel blofcted out that assertion, for it held not a grain oi truth, and its ouly palliation lay dn the motive with which it was nttered. The chat went on in an aimless way for some time, when the mother withdrew, and Jeanette and I were left alone. "I hope you were not offended, " she ventured, with her bewitching smiie, "at the deception we played on yon. " "Offended? What a strange remark! Of course I did not expect to see you and could hardly believe that it was you when I caught a glimpse of your frightened face in the carriage. " "But you must have reoognizod mother?" "I liad no more expectation of seeing her than of seeing you. " "And you are sure you are glad I ani at home?" .She leaned forward and looked up at ne. Evidently she yearned for more tenderness, and my good resolutions were becoming demoralized. I took the nnresisting hand and pressed it. I had not the heart to chili her, and besides it was so pleasant to meet her expectations, even though the right was not mine. What is so ravishing as the taste of forbidden fruit? It required only the gentlest of efforts to draw her upon the sofa beside me. "Andaré you sure, Harold, that you love me as imich as ever? I do you. " "Can you doubt me, dearest?" "There are so many youug women more attracfive and better than I that I eometimes fearad, just a tiny bit, that tbey might steal you away f rom me. " "Aren't yon ashamed of sueh foolish fancies? And bow many better, nobler and handsomer men than I you have met abroad!" "No, sirl" sheexelaimed,compressing her pretty lips and speakiug with an emphasis that made iny blood tingle. "There is none so handsome, soworthy, bo noble, as my own Harold, and yoa know it " I broke into laughter at the comical earnestneas of the littledivinity. I was playing with flre, but itwas delightful. She nestled close to my side, and I drew her Btill closer. Then, pricked by conscience, I sat back, and she straightened up. "But teil me about your eiperiences abroad." "Teil yon about theBu"8bp.ied, ■with aiíother liiugñ. 'rTTTiy, fwrote yon by cvery steamcr and omitted nothing. " "But, " I stammered, "I mean siiice fconr last letter. You know it has beeu so long since I hcard auvthing from yon." "Not so very long eijber. I sent my last from London thrco days before we sailed from Liverpool. You received it, ditl you not?" I wrinkled ray brow with thcraght. "Let me see. You know, I told you my memory plays me strange pranks at present. What was your letter about?" "It told of our visit to the Tower of London and" - "Oh, yes, I recall it now. But, you little rogue, you said uothiug about coming home for a long, long time." " Of course not. That was my plot, ' wliich I have explained. " "But suppose I had grown impatient . to see you and had sailed for Europe without letting j-on kuow anything about it? What then?" "I never thought of that. Wouldn't it have been awful?" And she sighed and almost shuddered at the picture I had callee! up. And yet that was preciKoly what had taken place. At this juncture oceurred one of those awkward pauses which sometimes stop the flow of conversation when all parties were overruuniug with words only a few minutes before. She looked at me. and I mot her glance. Nerther spoke. I thought there was a peculiar, nnfattíomable expressioii in her countenance íiikí a "Has a sbadowy doubt flitted across her consciousiiess? I hope so, and yct I I do not bope so. Tbis is wicked, bet it is too svreet for me to yicld just yet :' Lookjjig at this adorable creatnre, a pang of bitter jealousy mimg ma What right had Harold Westcott to sttch unapproachable loveliness? Y et it was bis, and he had Stolen away lii;e a coward, leaving me to meet the penalty of some wrongdoing that wonld not boar the light of day. Wonld it not berighteous pauishmeut if I should wrest this geni, tliis diamond, ims prize, trom tamï Had he not basely deserted his post of duty? Would he dare to return before the lapse of a year, by which time he would be safe "froni the for his wrongdoing? But when the truth shonld become known in all its ïnllness, how this woma.n v.ould recoil f rom me! She would loathe me beyond the power of werds to express. But wby bother with all this? Sufficieut for the day is the good or the evil thereof. I was iu her presence. She believed she was mine. I was reveling in ;bliss. Why, therefore, let any ghost intrude upon the feast? "Have you decided where yon will spend the snmmer?" was ïny silly question. "No place suits mother like Newport. 1 suppose we shall go there as soon as the -warm weather comes, and of oourse yen will net be rnuch behind va." ' 'Oí course not. ' ' "The season promises to be a gayone, and -we hall all enjoy ourselves almost as nmcii as we did before poor father 's death. " And &he ighed at the remembranoe of her grief. When I turned my face away from the on? at my side, conscience made itself heard. I despised myself for my weakness, and yet when I met the ligb of those midnight eyes I was helpless, content to drift .along the witching tide, with the ravishiug mnsic in my eazs and beguiling my senses. My arm stede gently around the willowy waist, and, sooundrel that I was, I f orgot the dishonor of my position in the happiness of the present. What wonld be the feelings of Harold Westcott could he look pon us at that moment? Wonld he not leap into the eea from very shame and grief? Not because of Jeanette, for she was blamelesa in her trusting love, but becanse of the unspeakable baseness of the man whom he had taken out of the gutter, as may be said, and given a taste of comfort and luxnry. But, thank heaveu, though the priekings of conscience may be dulled, they are still feit and, if resisted, become burning bolts pressed remorselessly into the quivering flesh. While my lips were parted with the utterances of tows of love which should have blistered them, the words were checked. I gently put the youug woman from me. It was done so gently indeed that sbe saw no meaning in it, but waa miHig, iaiant and aa tnutfol as ever. i lOOKOd at hor, but clid not Know how to frame the awful avowaL I was temptcd to blurt it out in the fewest words possible, but shrank from the result. It could not bc that slio was wholly recovered from the shock of a few days before, though shc thought so, and my revelation might be fatal to her exquisitoly sensitive nature. "You startled me," she said. "How?" "By the expression on your face. You looked as if you were going to say sometbing fearful, something that would t ike my life from me. " ■ "What a delightful puzzle you are, Joanette! Do you think you would be alarmed at anything I could say?" ' 'I hardly think so, and yet I do not know." Somethiiig whispered that heaven had made tms opening. If I Jet ït pass ijniruproved, it would nevcr return. I was afraid to delay. "My dear Jeanette, I have something very serious to say to you. " The words were uttered with the utmost tenderness. She gave a faint gasp and drew slightly away from me. Her face paled, and she stared in muto wonder, though she ewallowéd a lump in lier throat, as if making an eñ'ort to utter the words that would not cotue. I croelly waifed, looking steadily in her conntenance, and resolved that she shonld speak before I said -mything more. "Wel!, Harold, I am listening. " It was a whisper, husky and paxched, but not once were those lustrous eycs reinoved from mine. Fooi that I was, I regretted that I had made a beginning. I wculd have given the world could the words have been recalled. How I despised myself 1 But it was too late. I must go on. ' ' Why don't you speak, Harold? Don't look at me that wayl" "you are sure yon can hcar it?" "I can bear anything from you." "Well, then, Miss Lawrence, you are nnder a hideous delnsion. I am not Harold Westcott!" (Continued next week).


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat