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Newspaper Page Text
She made her way into the ad
joining room, took the babe in
her arms, and began rocking it.
The man followed and t stood
looking at her, still grinning.
"Ho, Jane, you didn't tell me
about the kid," he said, as if she
had done some injury by conceal
ing the fact of its presence.
"No. Why should I tell you?"
she asked, putting the sleeping
child back into its cradle. "Why
should I let you share any part
of my life?"
The other leered at her. "Be
cause, my dear Jane," he said,
"I've got double hold on you now
that's why. So long as there
was only your man well, he
mightn't have cared. But with
the kid it's different. I guess it'll
be worth more than a hundred to
you now, won't it, Jane?"
He had drawn near to the
sleeping infant and now stood
over it. Clumsily he put forth
one grimy hand and stroked the
little arm that lay outside the
coverlet. The woman sprang at
him like a tigress.
"Don't you dare to touch him,"
she cried. "Don't you lay a fin
ger on him or I'll kill you!"
The man slunk back. "All
right, have it your own way, my
dear," he said quietly. "But now
it's going to cost you just twice
as much see ? Fifty down "
"I haven't fifty. I can only get
"What's to prevent me taking
that pretty ring you've got?" he
asked, pointing to the little dia
mond engagement ring on her
finger. For answer she struck
out at him and her hand left a
broad welt of red across his neck.
He caught her arms and they
whestled furiously together over
the cradle. At last she broke
loose and stood facing him de
fiantly. "Twenty-five." she panted, "and
never a penny more. For twenty
five I can hire a man to kill you.
And I'll do it. Jim, sooner than
lose my home."
"All right; I suppose it'll have
to be twenty-five," he answered.
He had been reflecting rapidly. It
would be easy enough to black
mail her for years; once a mine
clerk always a mine clerk, and he
knew that if she did persuade Ed
to give up his job it would be easy
enough to follow them to Scran
ton or Pittsburg, or wherever
they went. He had a sure thing
in hand. He walked toward the
door and put on his hat.
"Good-bye, Jane," he said,
"Ain't you got a kiss for me,
Jane? There, there, now keeff
that infernal temper of yours
down. Under the maple trees to
morrow at nine, and mind, I
won't stand for any talk about
not having the money."
"I'll be there," she answered
She led the way to the door
along the tiny hall, and they
stood there a moment, gazing
out into the darkness. For the
first time a shade of pity for this
degraded man welled tip within
her. She had loved him in the
old days, and when he had abused
and beaten her she had loved him
all the more until until that