OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, May 13, 1916, NOON EDITION, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-05-13/ed-1/seq-19/

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To come home on Saturday nights
Kith $9 of actual earnings, with four
over when his board was paid, gave
him a sense of strange and delight
ful independence. He had agood
stock of clothes; he had no worries.
And night after night he worked at
his book. v He was depicting New
burgh, because it was all he had
known, except for, his years at col-
w) lege, which had left only a hazy im
pression. And because it was so
simple the book was really great
At home his worldly mother wor
ried a little about him- and his father
dismissed him from his mind, and
Maud. Barry-Smith made up her
mind that she must get married that
year, whether Tom returned or not
Tom's eyes were opened to the
meaning of American life. He lived
arid worked in an old-fashioned part
of the city, not for from the roaring
arteries of traffic, yet secluded as if
it were a century ago. And the peo
ple whom he met, honest young
-working fellows - and quiet families,
were as different as possible from
those of the old life, which seemed so
far away. And if ever he had felt af
tenderness for Maud Barry-Smith it
was forgotten as soon as he set eyes
on his landlady's daughter, Elsa.
Elsa was a girl of 20 aad studying
stenography to help support her
mother. Tom was amazed at the lim
itatioas ef her knowledge. After a
while it dawned on him that her lim-
v itations were precisely , in those
things of which he had never taken
any account.
She was tjuite ignorant of flashy
v restaurant life and hotels, -of New
York gayeties and automobiles. But
how happy they were when they
9 went together to the theater on Sat-
aurday Bight, occupying seats at the
. thought of which Maud or any other
of the old set would have turned up
their aristocratic noses! And the
occasional Sunday afternoon to-
getfcer, upon the meadows, after
church!
The young man was drifting into
a very serious love affair when an
amazing thing happened. He had fin
ished the book and sent it to a pub
lisher, who "had accepted it, much to
his, surprise, although he knew noth
ing of the difficulties of first books.
But, two months later, he found him
self famous. i
All the papers were full of the
young author who had been satis
fied to stay at home and write pf the
local town. His photograph was in
every Sunday issue. He was Inter
views. More satisfactory, he re
ceived a check, in first payment, for
?7,000.
Very soon his mother descended
in triumph upon him and haled him
forth with kisses and reproaches. .
Tom, who lived in a vague world (as
always), in which, the central figure
was Elsa, had a misty vision of a
tear-stained face, and a memory of
his promises to return.
"He'll never return,1' said practical
Mrs. Elkins. "He's the best ever, but
what's the use? I know human
nature, Elsa. So dry your eyes and
don't be a little goose!"
At home Tonl's father condescend
ed to invite him to resume his life
with the family. The neighbors,
who thought a good deal of a man
who could make good in the writing
business, resolved to fprget the scan
dal of his departure. Maud Barry
Smith released a tentative million
aire from her clutches.
"I knew you'd make good, Tom
my," she said, and 'looked meaningly
at him.
Tomwas too much, absorbed in
the plans for his second novel to read
that light in her eyes. But every
body took the engagement for grant
ed. They began to discuss the date
of the wedding.
Tom had a constant vision, of
Eisa's -tear-stained face. But, un
practical as ever, he only meant to
return as soon as he had done his
duty toward his family. Mean
while his book absorbed him. Then
one day the storm bursts
1

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