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THE BEST MAN BY GOUVERNEUR MORRIS
(Copyrighted by Chas. Scribner's Sons.)
Stanislas Odeskalki, the best man,
and O'Gosh, the interpreter, helped,
as did old man Openta. But young
Orion Openta and Olenka -were really
married by the mayor. He made Or
ion; kiss Olenka; shook hands "With
them; said that he hoped they would
be a loving couple; made the remark
that everybody's name began with
O, and wished them good-day.
Orloff, Olenka, Stanislas Odeskalki
and old man Openta went up town
by the elevated, and hurried to the
rooms in East 123d street, near the
river, which Orloff had hired for him
self, his bride and his father to live
in. It was a bitter afternoon in Janu
ary. In many windows lights already
glowed. Old man Openta walked
ahead, giving his arm to Olenka, who
was so rosy that men turned their
heads to look after her. TheJSest
man and the groom brought up the
rear. The bridegroom's face Avas
bright and smiling, and he kept his
eyes steadily on the bride; but the
best man scowled continually. Only
once did he speak pi anything.
"You should have told me,'1 he
said, "what a pretty -girl she is. You
must look out or some fellow will
take her from you."
He cheered up when the four
flights of stairs leading to the Open
tas' new rooms had been sur
mounted. "Now we are going to feed," he
Old man Openta unlocked the
door, and, motioning to the others to
wait, crossed the threshold, turned
and held out his hands.
"Welgub," he said. He affected the
English language with ostentation,
but the others clung to Polish.
Olenka hesitated and looked at her
"But go in, he said, and he pushed
her gently. "This is no time to hang
Old man Openta embraced her
when she had crossed the threshold.
Openta pushed Odeskalki into the
room, followed and closed the door.
"Well, here we are," he said. "What
do you think of it?"
Odeskalki began to look around
critically. "It is easy to see that a
woman has not lived here," he said.
"You ought to have curtains. Mrs.
Openta will be lonely without cur
tains." Olenka went close to the stove and
spread out her hands to the warmth.
"I think a fire is so home-like," she
"But the room is warming up,"
said Openta. "Don't stand on cere
mony. Let us all take our coats off."
He started forward to help Olenka,
but Odeskalki intervened.
"No, let me do it," he said.
"All right," said Openta, "and I will
help father off with his."
In helping Olenka, Odeskalki press
ed her shoulders with his hands, hut
very slightly, so as not to give of
fense. "And now," said Openta, "it is time
for Olenka to enter upon her first du
ties as wife." He pohited4o.a large,
broad cupboard in one corner of the
Olenka smiled over her shoulder at
the three men. At times she fairly
astonished by her prettiness. She
was" as out of place in that shabby
room as an orchid. You would not
have been surprised to learn that she
was a princess--even a fairy prin
cess in disguise. Her voice was. ten
der and haunting, like the middle
register of a fine old 'cello when a
master is playing. Her feet moved
in and out under the hem of her skirt,
timidly and gently, like two mice. If
youy'had been in the hall and, had
heard her laugh, you would have'said,
"Somebody is making a child happy .
in that room."
Presently, with a great show of
courage, she flung open the cup-