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Newspaper Page Text
IT - J-W
"John, if we go away, who will care
for me as I need to be cared for? I
am not used to roughing it. I need
comfort, even luxury. And father will
not take me back. If you come back
to me we must look to no help from
him. Those were his words to me.
"Think of the boy, John. If he
lives on with me in Taunton, gradu
ally people will forget the past. Peo
ple die, others migrate, others forget;
others, again, are kindly at heart. He
can grow up in Taunton free from
shame. If we go West, what chance
will he have among those of his own
John Dunton bowed his head. His
wife's logic was unanswerable.
"Father dotes on the boy," contin
ued Lola. "He Bays it must be as I
have said, for his sake. He has no
grudge against you, and he is big
enough to realize that people go
wrong and can live down the past.
He is only thinking of our interests
mine and the boy's. And if you go
away and never come back, John, fa
ther will give you a thousand dol
lars." Dunton raised his head. "I will nev
er trouble you, but he can keep his
thousand dollars," he answered.
Then the day came when the pris
on gates were opened. John Dunton,
in a new suit and with $15 in his
pocket, left the place of his. shame
and humiliation; behind him forever.
Lola had not come to see him and
say good-by. Dunton felt no bitter
ness at that He realized that the
final meeting would only 'have caused
It was his plan to work his way
West, little by little. He had no
thought of going down to Taunton
again. But when he stepped into the
free world there came over him an
irresistible desire to see the little son
who had been born to him.
He resolved to go down to Taun
ton under cover of night and plead to
be allowed to set eyes on the boy's
face. Surely this much would not be
He took the train to the metropo
lis, and from there a local to Taun
ton. He reached the town an hour
before sunset, and hung about the
outskirts. He could not face the peo
ple whom he had known. He felt lit
tle shame on his own account. It
was for the sake of the boy. And no
sacrifice was too great for him.
It was about an hour before dark
when he crept up to the lawyer's
house, which stood in extensive
grounds in a fashionable neighbor
hood. Nobody had recognized him.
He breathed more freely when he
reached his goal.
Through the window he saw his
father-in-law seated at a table read
ing a newspaper. But ever and anon
the old man would put the paper
down and pace the room nervously.
He was evidently laboring under a
severe strain. Was it because this
was the day of John Dunton's free
dom. The watcher looked up. A light
shone in a room on the second story,
the blind was drawn. Dunton sur
mised that this was the room in
which the little boy was lying. John
ny, the child had been called, as
though there was to be only one of
that name in the family thencefor
ward. At first Dunton had taken the,
naming as a mark of remembrance;
afterward he understood.
He could no longer resist the over
powering craving. Quietly he passed
through the grounds and rang the
It was his father-in-law himself
who opened the door to him, and
Dunton, in the midst of his own dis
tress, could not fail to be struck by
the distress on the features of the
The lawyer recognized him, but
evinced no surprise. He led the way
quietly into his library.
"I don't want to trouble anyone,"
began Dunton. "But I am on my way
West, and I want to see my boy be
fore I go. I shall never come back.
Remember that I have never seen