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Newspaper Page Text
, HIS LAST CHANCE
By Clarence Richardson.
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
The telephone was jangling dis
cordantly and Cleave was conscious
of an acute presentiment of disaster
as he took down the receiver.
"Your wife . . . accident . . ." he
heard a voice saying. "Thrown from
the buggy . . . bend in the road . . .
unconscious and grave fears . . .
come home at once."
Cleave hung the receiver up and
sat staring moodily at the papers
Sat at His Wife's Bedside.
upon his desk. He need not start for
half an hour, or there would be that
much waiting at the station, and he
preferred the silence of his office. It
seemed like fate, this accident, for he
had not expected to see Mary again
for months, if ever.
They had been married two years,
and had no child. If one had come
things might have been different
they might not have quarreled so
perpetually. Cleave was not by na
ture unkind, but he had spent long
years of selfish bachelorhood, and he
was devoted to his fixed habits. Mary
was seven years younger; they had
never managed to adjust themselves
to each other. They had quarreled
over the merest trifles, and their dis
agreements always left them unre
pentant and moody.
How she had loved him before their
marriage, thought CleaVe, as he sat
at his desk. Then she had striven at
first to make him happy! And he,
too, had tried hard to be good to her,
for Mary was very lovable and sweet.
But at last they had both given up
in despair. Cleave would always re
member the words she had said to
him that night, three months before:
"I can forgive you, John, and love
you, but the memory of these two un
happy years must always be with me.
It can never be quite the same again."
And after that everything had
seemed hopeless. Things", had gone
from bad to worse. And finally they
had decided that Mary should' go
back to her mother, to spent the sum
mer with her. There was to be no
scandal. Their friends had no inkling
of the condition of affairs, but
thought them a devoted couple. They
would separte quietly, to resume
their relationship in the fall if, after
mature consideration, they decided
-that such an arrangement would be
for the best. Mary had been on. her
way to the station when the accident
Suddenly there swept over him -a
fuller realization than had ever be
fore come to him of his selfishness.
He had ruined her life, he had killed
her love. Not the blindest and most
devoted love could have survived his
callous cruelty and indifference. If
he could only have one chance more!
He sprang. to his feet and hurried
to the street. The car carried him
to the station none too swiftly. His
train was just pulling out as he flung
himself aboard. That was John
Cleave all over, he thought bitterly,
, His wife was dying, and he loiter-