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Page 13 text:
The rest of the w alk tu llu- station was in silence. Thurston looked hopefully about the platform when they arri ed. Railroad stations were generally interesting places. Howe ' er, there was no one but a girl, most uninspiringh- rouged and powdered. When they boarded the train and entered the car Thurston looked about e.xpectantly and was satisfied. There was only one occupant in the train, but that was enough. .She was young and good to look at. The deep mourning outfit which she wore was strangely out of [ilace with her .f outh and fairness. Prett v young and de ilish good-looking for a widow, whisiiered Thurston as he selected the seat behind her. Xow, here might be the story of — He got no further. From the other end of the car came a shrill, Why, Mame, where ' d you blow from? Gee! and look at the duds! All dolled up for a funeral? Xaw, Liz, drawled the fair widow; the Missus ' takin ' ofif her mournin ' an ' — Thurston turned disapjiointedly to West. But that young man was gone. He found him sitting dejectedly in the back of the car. It ' s always that way, Conway, ' est said. Nothing ever as it seems, everything practical and commonplace. Thurston didn ' t answer. His own faith was beginning to Ijc shaken. Maybe West was right. At last they arri ed in New York and were a part of the crowding mass of humanity at the Grand Central Station. A ' est turned to Thurston. Well, old scout. he said, how about that fifty? But Thurston was not listening. est followed the direction of his gaze. There on the edge of the crowd was a girl. .And such a girl ! In a great squirrel cape and dainty turlian, with exquisitely buckled slippers playing hide-and-seek beneath her velvet gown, she was the essence of 3 ' outh and style. As W ' est looked at her he had a strange feeling he would never forget her. Indeed, he wondered how anyone could. For she was the living symbol of romance, with a face that held a thousand dreams. Suddenly he was aware she had caught sight of him and was frantically waving to him. He turned ini|uiringly to Thurston, who said, Go, Tommy, she ' s beckoning to you. But I don ' t know her, cried West. That ' s all right ; we ' re in search of a short story and remember how many times opportunity knocks. Seeing that Thurston was in earnest and remembering the girl, est elbowed his way through the crowd to her. Oh, Cousin Bill, she cried impulsively, I knew I would recognize vou at once — and you knew me, too, didn ' t you? Isn ' t it thrilling to think you ' ve come all the way from Hawaii and we ' ve never seen each other before and vet we recognized each other at once ? Yes, lied Tommy, bravely. Come, the car ' s over here. I ' ll take xou home at once.
Page 12 text:
F i f t y -F i f t y I ' usT A MiNUi ' E, old fellow, broke in Conway Thurston; do you want me to prove to you that there are things to write about here at home .■ ' That one doesn ' t have to be an opium fiend to write about one? And that Paris and the Orient aren ' t the only places strange things happen? I didn ' t mean that, burst out Tom West. Of course strange things happen here in America, but in Paris or in the Orient one — Listen, Tommy, interrupted Tliurston; what do you want to bet me that from here to New York we don ' t come face to face with a story — a bully good one? Fifty dollars, cried West, eagerly. Righto, Tommy. And the two men shook hands solemnly and started down the road toward the train. Thurston looked down at the boy by his side, an amused yet thoughtful look in his eyes. This son of his dearest friend, clever with his pen when the spirit moved him, had suddenly grown restless. He wanted to go away somewhere, to new places for new inspirations. At Thurston ' s suggestion they had ridden out to the country, the wdiile talking the whole thing over to this result — fifty dollars if they ran across the theme for a short story on the way back to New York. Thurston smiled to himself. He hoped Fate would be good to him. A sudden gust of wind sent a sheet of paper fluttering from the side to the center of the road a few feet in front of them. Thurston ' s eyes brightened. That, he said, might be the missing sheet of a will or a page from the diary of the girl who lives in that picturesque farm down the road, ' ou know, the one who loved the summer boarder who promised to — It might be, interrupted West, dryly, as he examined the paper. But it happens to be a receipt for an incubator. Romantic, isn ' t it? he added, ironicall} ' . as he crushed the paper in the dust beneath his heel. 181 -fe
Page 14 text:
(luess Tommy owes me that tift - tlcjllars, nuisud ' I ' hurston with a chuckle. And I ' m wilhiig to bet another fifty he doesn ' t leave for the (Jrient, or Paris, either, he added as he caught a glimjise of West disappearing into a limousine with the girl. Piut that young man was not so sure as Thurston, for inside the car his intoxication of excitement gave way a little, and he began to fear the consequences of the episode. He wondered, too, at the smoothness of the afifair. The girl asked no puzzling questions. In fact, she seemed to unconsciously tell him all about himself. For instance: And Nancy, is she still your lady love? she inquired. No, burst out Tommy truthfully. He had always hated the name Nancy, anyway. Not Nancy? Then it ' s still Mabel? Wrong again, was Tomm) ' ' s answer, for how could anyone love a Nancy or a Mabel with so fair a creature as this beside him. ' ' No Nancy or Mabel — when then? Her eyes were sparkling mischievously as she asked this question. It ' s — it ' s — Tommy paused. He had alwa) heliexed in love at first sight, l)ut somehow he had never imagined it to be like this. She leaned nearer to him. Do tell me, she begged. Tommy swallowed, ■hy was she wearing violets? Their tantalizingly elusive odor haunted him. Not — not yet, he managed to mumble and was not sure whether he was glad or sorry to find the car stopping. Outside the car there was a moment when he had the opportunity and wild desire to turn and run. The opportunity was gone in a second, but not the desire. In fact, the minute he stepped inside the house he knew he should have obeyed his impulse. Something was wrong; the air vibrated with a strange something which West had not fathomed. He was hoping he felt this because of the jjart he was playing. Hut no, the girl felt it, too; her color had heightened and her eyes were dancing as if she, too, knew something strange. AMun she spoke her words came breathless and expectant. As they entered the drawing-room West looked about i|uickly. He was sure he had heard someone moving about before they entered the room. And, though the room was apparently empty, he could not but feel the presence of others besides the girl and himself. He was certain someone had lieen there, for the chairs were in comfortable disarray, drawn in a group before the fire. Over the back of one chair was thrown a fur, on another a forgotten handkerchief. The girl seemed to sense this something, too, for she glanced searchingly about the room. I en after they were seated she seemed nervous and continued the conversation hesitatingly. A — about your invention? she continued. My what? gasped ' est. Wh ' , (jur inxention, of course, ' clll finally obtained your patent, didn ' t vou :
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