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Newspaper Page Text
"If we ever do!" soliloquized Whar
ton, just after dark.
It had begun to rain, as it had
rained every day for over a week. The
roads were in a frightful condition. At
the best, mere struggling wagon
trails, at "places they were now a se
ries of ruts and quagmires.
At least a dozen times the van near
ly upset. Once it became mired and
they had to secure the services of
two farmers with their teams to haul
them onto a solid roadway further on.
They reached the point of land at
the extreme end of which the Dalle
mand summer home was located late
in the evening. Wharton had planrfed
to reach the place by 4 o'clock in the
afternoon. The horses were well
nigh exhausted. Across a narrow
neck of ground that was Bwampy and
flooded they just managed to plod
along and drew up in- front of the
dark and lonely-looking mansion, all
hands wet, chilled and exhausted.
"That second van will never get
through tonight," remarked one of
"No, nor for some days to come;"
answered Wharton. "I wonder what
arrangements the family has made
for getting into the house and unload
ing." He took the lighted lantern from
the wagon and went up the gravel
path leading to the porch. A rustle
fixed his attention and as he focused
the rays of light up the steps Whar
ton drew back in some surprise.
1 The radiance showed a damp and
shivering group huddled back upon
some porch benches Miss Dalle
mand, her friend Miss Parr, and two
woman servants. Regal as ever,
stony-faced and disdainful, the
haughty Miss Dallemand looked
grieved, indignant and resentful.
"We expected you hereh ours ago,"
said the proud beauty in icy tones.
In a hurried, but clear manner
Wharton explained the difficulties of
the journey. Miss Dallemand simply
shrugged her shoulders Miss Parr
! arose and regarded Wharton in anT
"We came In the automobile," she
said, "which got through more easily
than the heavily loaded van. Would
it be possible to make us a little
"Yes, indeed!" brisked up Whar
ton. "Have you a key to the home?"
"It seems to have been lost in the
bustle and discomfort of our jour
ney," replied Miss Parr.
"We will soon adjust all' that!"
pledged Wharton cheerily.
He was as good as his word. A
window was forced, some lamps
found in the house tilled with oil from
the can in the wagon, and the helpers
urged up to get the furniture out of
the van into the house. Once inside,
Miss Dallemand sat at a distance in
an arm chair brought in for her
especial comfort. Miss Parr kept in
touch with the movements of Whar
ton, suggesting, and seeming to stir
about and busy herself.
Under her directions two rooms
were quite comfortably fixed, fires
started in the grates, and Wharton
even went1 so far as to bring in a
coarse but wholesome lunch from
their own provisions in the van,
"You have done so nicely!" com
mended Miss Parr brightly, as Whar
ton went back down stairs, bowing
with the grace of a cavalier, and as
suring her that as soon as the other
van arrived they would have the
place in complete order.
But the other van did not arrive
the next day and the rain kept up.
Wharton sent his men and the van
back to hunt up and assist if necee,
sary the delayed transport
He worked like a beaver for the
comfort of the refugees. A mile away
at the village he secured eatables, in
cluding dainties, installed one of the
servants as cook, and even Miss Dal
lemand assented to the sentiment of
her friend that things were beginning
to look actually homelike.
"That common person who driveg
the van has been really useful to u
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