Newspaper Page Text
Behind it, along the wayside track,
there came a. man in -a buggy, who
pulled up his sweating steed.
"Have you seen the wreck?" he
"Yes," answered Driscoll. "I was
aboard. My friend, Jim Driscoll, was
killed, and that's enough for me. Are
you a reporter?"
"Yes, I'm a newspaper man," an
swered the other. "Give me a short
account while I rest my horse.
"I will if you'll put Jim Driscoll
down as dead," answered Driscoll.
"Say Jim Driscoll of Boxville, 111., was
killed by breaking his neck, because
I'm not a-going to break the news to
The bargain was -struck and Dris
coll gave the other a five minutes'
account of the wreck. Then he hur
ried along the line.
He caught a branch train at the
junction, and finally, about eight
o'clock the next evening, attired in a
shabby suit which he had purchased
at a pawnbroker's, he made his way
in the dark through the streets of
Boxville. Nobody who passed in the
gathering darkness recognized Dris
coll in the shabby, slouching
He pushed open the, garden gate
and crept to the outside of the par
lor window. Inside he saw a small
crowd of neighbors, but his wife was
"It'll be a hard blow for Mary," one
of the crowd was saying-. "Ppor Jim!"
Driscoll recognized him aB the local
druggist, with whom he had been on
bad terms for years. He clenched his
fists. He hated the man'a hypocrisy
even more than himself.
"Now there's many talks against
Jim, but he wasn't such a bad fel
low," broke in the shoemaker. He
was a man named Austin, with whom
Driscoll had had a feud of several
months' Btanding, on account of a
business misunderstanding. "When a
man's cranky folks makes allowances
for him. I tell you, a man who can
keep the love of a woman like Mary
Driscoll must have some good in him
it stands to reason."
"It's a pity there wasn't no chil
dren," sighed Miss Hemans, the sis
ter of the butcher. "That's what ate
into their hearts like acid. But I
guess that if he lives Mary Driscoll
will be so overjoyed that life'll take
on a happier look for her."
"No chance of his recovering, is
there?" asked Austin.
"A small one," said the butcher.
"The doc says that if he recovers
consciousness he'll most likely get
well. It seems there's a splinter of
bone pressing on his brain, and they
can't tell how much it's injured' him.
If he recovers consciousness, the
brain's all right; if he don't well,
he won't, that's all."
"Did Mary Driscoll write that?"
"Sure. She wrote to Miss Hemans
Jim Driscoll was conscious of min
gled emotions. The first was of
.shame and humiliation. Of all the
neighbors gathered there, not one
had a bad word for him. Could it be
possible that his wife had gone to the
hospital and actually mistaken an
other man for himself?
Or was somebody lying? That was
a more probable explanation. Of
course! It was a lie. His impulse
was to run into the room, but he re
tsrained himself, and he heard an
other speaker say:
"I tell you, Miss Hemans, when I
saw Mary Driscoll start off this morn
ing, she looked actually pretty in that
black dress of hers, in spite of her
sorrow. She was crying, and she
couldn't hide it, but she" looked like a
girl again. Sorrow seems to bring
back the youth in some people.
"She's had sorrow enough," broke
in the first sneering voice that Dris
coll had heard. "Living with a man
like Jim is enough to make any wo
man wish she was dead."
Driscoll knew the speaker. He was
the cashier of the local bank, and
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