MARRIAGE BY CAPTURE
By Gregory Green
"And it's a shame to see a girl of
your age, who could still have her
choice, remaining unmarjied," said
the old lady emphatically.
Little Miss Durfree smiled, for she
knew the old lady's frankness. At
30 she was still unmarried. She had
been a belle once; her face told her
that evening that she was still at
tractive, in spite of the hint of a line
at the edge of the mouth, and of a
thread of two of gray at the tem
ples. Once little Miss Durfree had been
in love, madly in love. But he had
gone away west, and after a while his
letters ceased. Then she had plunged
into work, never regarding her other
suitors with any seriousness. She
was" the busiest mortal alive. In the
morning she did her housework and
sewed and marketed; in the afternoon
she read the newspapers, skimmed
the latest book, sewed some more,
dressed, visited the sick, put up con
serves in season and did the thousand
odd tasks that any woman can find
to do. And the thought of getting
married had simply never occurred to
her since Jack went away.
She really was an old maid. She
simply could not have torn herself
from her round of duties.
"If any man wanted to marry me
ie'd have to lead me up to the altar
by force," she said.
- It was three weeks after the old
lady had gone away, shaking her
head, that Jack came home. He had
been gone seven years and he was the
talk of the village, with his money,
his good looks, and the fact that he
was still unmarried. He called upon
little Mfc,3 Durfree almost as soon as
May Durfree had heard of his return.
If the heart beneath the prim dress
was beating rather faster than
usually little Miss Durfree gave no
sign of it Jack shook hands, sat
down and talked like an old friend.
Sometimes Miss Durfree, looking up,
found his eyes fixed upon hers in a
puzzled way. At length he broke the
comparative silence that had grown
up between them. "
"May," he said, "why have you
changed so much?"
"I changed?" she asked in surprise.
"Yes. You have been telling me all
about the things you do. They seem
"I Meant to Come."
to fill your life. . Well, you used not
to be like that."
"How do you mean?" asked Mis3
"Well, you why, May, don't you
remember how we went to the picnic
and walked home together ant talked
poetry to each other all the way?"
"But that was eight years ago, Mr.
McCallum. People grow more staid
as they grow older."
"But, May, listen! You have filled
your life with a lot of inanimate
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