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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 30, 1913, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-04-30/ed-1/seq-19/

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"Five, years!" came in a strange
easp from the woman's lips. Her
eyes seemed filled with a sudden
dread, an indefinable emotion. "What
is your namer
"Randal Thorne
She reeled. But that she caught at
the door she must have fallen, Her
face had turned marble, she seemed
to-shrink within herself. Then with
a mighty,.e.ffort she opened wide the
door.
"Come, in," she said. "Oh, the pity
of it! You are Randal Thorne? I am
Laura Wood, the sister of youj-old
friend."
Was it a dream had the storm,
exposure, utter despair brought illu
sions to his shattered mind? Randal
Thorne asked himself the question
one hour- later as he sat before a
warm, grate fire, a rejuvenated being.
With that same pallid face, not
with evasion, yet with a dreadful
shrinking, as though, some terrible
fear oppressed , her, the beautiful
woman.",had led herinvited guest into
the parlor of the house. Her gray
haired house-keeper had been sum
moned to .prepare a hasty meal. Now
Miss Wood listened to his story with
bowed head. Thenshe told of her
brother. '
"You were his friend," she spoke,
never lifting her eyes to the face of
Thorne. "That is enough for me. Had
you not appeared here so strangely
as you have, I should have sought
you out."
"You would have sought me out--I,
a convict!" murmured Thorne in
-profound bewilderment.
"Yes," was the reply, every word
.utteredas if it were an effort. "My
brothel died in Italy, where he has
been a helpless invalid since since
the time of your trouble.- My father
died a year ago. For a few days be
fore his death my brother was ration
al. He sent a last message to me re
garding' you, Mr. Thorne. It was to
say that-r-that you were an innocent
man" a dark flush momentarily
"It was t" 'Mrect me to take from my-,
fathe's estate two sums, one toA
cover the" bank defalcation, and $5,-
000 for yourself as a token of his
undying friendship to you." 9
When Randal Thorne left the home d"
of sorrow it was nearly midnight. A
When he planned the next day to go rr
to some far country where his dis- U"
grace was not known, somehow he
could no t. Always the pitiful, sorrow- -z
ing faceof Laura Wood came up jj
before him. Always he felt that there
was some sentiment chain of mutual
bereavement and loneliness between
them. Ambition, uninspired, did not
allure him. He had not a friend in
the world. '
"I have come,"back,",he said one
evening a week later, as with some
wonderment.Laura led himv into the
house to which he had comev,not.long
since so strange a guest. "I have
something to say to ypu, MissWood."
She sat with hands -folded and
downcast eyes. She. trembled,; and
once more the gloom of a nameless
dread seemed to rush her soul.
"I cannot .face the wpjrlc alone,"
continued Thorne,' 'Tp me, ;af ter my
terrible experience, It., js .cold harsh,
unreal. The- generous' gift" Of your
brother does not help "me. He. is a
lost link, even if only a memory, to
the old life he and you."
Thorne paused. His-4manner had
grown unconsciously pieaaing, nis
utterance uau uit ring ui easuesuiess
and intensity
"You have given me succor in the
,hour of my darkest need," he went
on, but all outside of that seems un
real. For your dead brother's sake
give me your friendship if you can;
your love I am perishing for that..
The world, else, is a wilderness to
me." - 3-
She arose to her feet in direful-dis- a
tress. u
"You you ask that," she cried,
bursting into tears. "Of me, so un- ,a
worthy ofthe family that, has so
cruelly wronged you. Oh, hero,- mar
.crossed the intense pallor of "her Cace.;yyrhat SrSSfuJiiBrbiSflaU.

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