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Wattses didn't like her any too well,
for Watts' second wife was her step
mother, and -Watts was a good deal
under her thumb. So after I'd voiced
my suspicions about our town she
didn't have much of a place to turn
to just slunk along the street hold
ing her head high out of bravado.
"That couldn't last, and along
about Christmas time she disappear
ed. I reckon Glen Cove was mighty
glad to be rid of the baggage. You
see, we're a moral and God-fearing
folk up here, and if there's one thing
we can't tolerate, next to immorality,
"Summer came around and the
summer folks came back to their
houses. Tom Greeley, who has charge
of the Perkins house, got to work
cleaning up. Some cif us had express
ed doubts whether the Perkinses
would come back, but they did, as
-brazen as ever. I had been having a
talk with old man Watts, and as soon
as Mr. and Mrs. Perkins arrived
which they did in a sneaking sort of
way, by automobile, after dark when
nobody could see them I went in to
have a frank talk with them, as a
good neighbor should.
I " 'Good morning, Miss Pray,' says
Mrs. Perkins, in her brisk way. 'We're
glad to see you again. And what's
the gossip of Glen Cove?'
" 'I'm not in the habit of carrying
gossip, Mrs. Perkins,' I answers, a lit
tle miffed by her words, 'but I guess
there's going to be a surprise ahead
of you and Mr. Perkins, and especial
ly your son Tom, who, I take it, won't
show his face around here this sum
mer.' "J0, yes, indeed, Mr. Thomas is
here in' this house at this moment,'
answers Mrs. Perkins. 'Wouldn't you
like to see him?'
" 'No, I thank you,' I answered.
'What I have to say might as well be
said now. Mr. Watts is going to sue
you for the loss of his daughter.
" 'How's that?' asked Mr. Perkins,
looking up from his newspaper.
"What's the charge, Miss Pray?
" 'I couldn't put it into English, be
ing a lady,' I replied witheringly, 'but '
it's concerned with your son and his
daughter. There isn't any doubt in
the minds of people around here that
he's abducted her, and that's a crime
in this state. That girl was the apple
of Mrs. Watts' eye, and he's taken her 1
loss real hard. He says he's gofhg to
shot your son, or else he'll take fifty
thousand dollars, and he won't com-
'"Do you mean Milly?' asks Mrs. i
Perkins, loking at me in a curious
sort of way. 1
" 'I believe that was the creature's
name, Mrs. Perkins,' I answered.
'Mind,' I added, 'I'm only telling you
this as a good neighbor should, be
cause, to my mind, I think Glen Cove
is well rid of her.'
" 'I guess you'd better see Mr.
Thomas after all," says Mr. Perkins,
rising, but before he had got out of"
his chair the door opened and Tom
Perkins came in. He was whistling,
just as though his conscience was at
perfect peace and rest.
" 'Why, how do you do, Miss Pray!'
he exclaimed, and I was so flabber
gasted at his easy manner that I
didn't know what to say.
" 'I believe I'm all right, thank you,
Mr. Tom,' I answered, laying the em
phasis on the "I."
" 'Well, I'm all right, too,' he an
swered, 'and I've got an old friend of
yours outside I'd like to have you
meet again. Milly! Milly!' he called.
And the girl came tripping into the
room as bold as brass. '
"She'd gone through a transforma
tion scene since last I saw her, for
she was all dressed up in a silk gown
that looked as if it had cost forty or
fifty dollars, and her hair was all done
up immodest like on the top of her
head, and it wasn't any improvement.
" 'My son's wife, Miss Pray,' says
Mrs. Perkins, introducing-us. 'Yes,
they've been married since the New
Year, and I guess it's you that gets
the surprise and not us.'
"Well, there wasn't anything more