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The Princeton union. [volume] (Princeton, Minn.) 1876-1976, October 23, 1902, Image 6

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016758/1902-10-23/ed-1/seq-6/

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The detective blew a smoke-cloud
toward the ceiling and nodded slow
ly. "There isn't a shadow of doubt
about his identity, now."
"Then, pardon me, Mr. Griffin, why
do you come to me. Why don't you
make your arrest and take the man
to New Orleans? I'll be there to ap
pear against him at the fall term of
"I don't rightly know why I have
come to you." The detective's reply
was as hesitant as his nod had been.
"I've put the irons on some queer cus
tomers in my time, and I don't know
as I ever hung back till now. But
this fellow"
"State your case," said the banker,
briefly. "I can't conceive of any
thing which would come between you
and your sworn duty."
"That's it that's just it. Neither
could I. But something has come be
tween, this trip. First off, I got to
know the fellow pretty well before I
found out who he was, andwell, he
sort of captured me, as you might
say. He wasn't anybody's hold-up
he was just a nice, square, clean-cut
gentleman, all open and above-board.
Pretty soon after that, he did me a
considerable of a good turntook
some trouble to do it. About that
time I began to suspect who he was,
and not to be owing him when it
came to the handcuff act, I tried to
even up on that good turn of his.
That's where I fell down. Instead oi
squaring the thing, I got in deeper,
and the cool-headed beggar saved my
life, out and out. Now that's my hot
box, Mr. Galbraith. What would you
do if the fellow saved your life?"
Andrew Galbraith answered off
hand, as a man will when the sup
position is only an hypothesis which
can by no means be transmuted into
facts personal.
'I should do my duty, of course.
This would be an uncanny world to
live in, Mr. Griffin, if we let personal
considerations stand in the way of
plain duty."
The detective rose and found his
hat. "I don't know," he said. "Them
little things have bothered me, some
times. Good e\ening, Mr. Galbraith."
And with that he left the closed
room and the hotel and took his way
townward, walking slowly, but
steadily, as a man who has made up
his mind to do a thing of moment,
taking the consequence as a man
As for the banker, he threw away
the extinct cigara bit of wasteful
ness so inharmonious with his char
acter as to be in itself a mark of un
usual perturbationand went out to
see if dinner were ready. It was not
and so he strolled on to the veranda,
reaching it just as Dr. Farnham was
handing himself into a buggy with a
young lady. Andrew Galbraith looked
again, and recognized in the young
woman who was holding the reins
one of his late rescuers. Whereupon
he descended the steps to speak to
her. Since the doctor was the house
physician, the banker had met him
but this was his first intimation that
Griswold's companion was Miss Farn
Thereupon followed the introduc
tion in due form, with encomium
enough on the part of the rescued
one to make Charlotte blush, and the
good doctor's eyes to grow conspic
uously dim with fatherly pride.
"We must know more of you, Mr.
Galbraith," he said, hospitably. "Can
you save us to-morrow evening, and
come to a quiet little family dinner?"
Andrew Galbraith said he would be
delighted, and so they parted.
But many things were scheduled to
come between the invitation and the
quiet little family dinner at Lake
It was seven o'clock when Griswold
had finally fought his way out of the
turmoil of conflicting doubts and dis
tractions, and had come to some
definite conclusion touching his duty.
In the light of a possible miscon
struction of his words by Margery
there was nothing for it but to go
to her and have the doubt cleared
away before he should speak to Char
lotte. So much honor demanded and
Griswold was not the man to shirk
where honor was involved.
But when he was closing Mrs. Hol
comb's front door behind him, the
Grierson footman opened the gate
and came up the walk with a note.
Griswold stepped within to read it
by the hall light. It was from Mar
gery, and while he could not help
smiling at the courageous naivete of
it, it freed him suddenly from the
burden of doubt.
"You may think what you please of me,"
she wrote, "but you are my one real friend
all the world Tou know what no one
else this side of Colorado knows about my
past, honestly, I told you the -worst of It
but there Is one other who should know
who must know And, oh, I can't ever tell
him' Won't you please do it for me' Tou
needn't spare me in the least, you know."
Griswold ran up to his room, pen
ciled his answer on the back of her
note, reenclosing it in a fresh envel
ope, and hastened down to give it
to the waiting footman. Then he
walked quickly to the drug store at
the corner and called up the iron
A Knave of Conscience
(Copyright, 1900, by FrancU Lynda.)
works by telephone. Luckily Raymer
was there.
"Going to stay a little while, Ned?"
he asked.
The answer was in the affirmative,
and Griswold added but a word: "All
right, I'm coming over."
Fifteen minutes later Griswold
dropped from a car at the railway
crossing and made his way to the
office of the iron works. Eaymer was
there, elbow-deep in his correspond
ence, but he swept the pile of letters
aside when his partner entered.
"Good for youcome down to help
me out, have you?" he said, but Gris
wold shook his head.
"Not on office work, you may be
sure I gave you fair warning before
the fact that I was born lazy. But I
have a thing or two to say which
may help or hinder. Are you game
for the very roughest bit of a talk
fight that you ever got into?"
"I guess so. Why?"
"Because, to do what I have to do,
I've got to be brutally frank. Tell
me, Ned, are you in love with Mar-
The abrupt question was something
of a clear-sky thunder clap to Ray
mer, but he met frankness with
"I am, Kenneth and II guess I
have been for a good while."
"So far, so good. Now, how much
do vou love her?"
Rajmer's smile faded to a grimace.
"Oh, come off, old man you
mustn't toast me on a gridiron that
way,*' he protested.
"Yet I must know," Griswold per
sisted. "If you can't stand the test,
I'm done before I begin."
"All right get out your crucibles
and melt me down."
"Good again. Is it Margery her
self, or Jasper Grierson's daughter
that you are in love with?"
"If I thought you were really in
doubt about that, I'd beat you," said
"I wasn't, but I wanted to clear
the way. That disposes of Jasper
Grierson's million or so, and brings
us down to Margery, the young wom
an. Now, then, supposing some one
should come along and tell you that
this charming young woman has
nothing behind her in the way of
lineage nothing on the father's side,
as everybody knows, and less thap
nothing on the mother's, as every
body has suspected. Suppose, in ad
dition to this, that Margery herself
confesses that she is lacking in all
the things that Edward Eaymer may
demand of his wife, even to a-well
equipped conscience. Would that
make any difference."
Eaymer was on his feet now,
tramping up and down like a baited
bull. It showed his athletic figure
off to the best advantage and there
was something fiercely heroic in the
way he wheeled and flung up his
head at the question.
"Damn it, man! I tell you I love
herlove her for what she is to me.
What in God's name are you driving
at, anyway?"
Griswold ignored the demand.
"That is all I wanted to know. Now
for a little friendly hint. She has
broken with her^father, and needs a
good, stout man to lean on. It's
half-past seven, and I should think
you might reach Mereside by eight,
if you hurry."
Now Edward Eaymer was a man
self-contained and deliberate on all
ordinary occasions, but at this he
broke with his traditions. In a mo
ment he had snatched his hat and
was gone, leaving Griswold to close
the office and to follow at his leisure.
The town clock in the courthouse
towera gift from Jasper Grierson
was striking eight when Griswold
turned into the lake drive and let
himself in at the Farnham gate.
There were two figures on the veran
da, but only two Little Miss Gil
man was always shy of the night
air It was Charlotte who came to
the steps to welcome him but the
doctor added his word from the
depths of the great wicker lounging
"Come in and be at home," he said.
"I hope you had the good sense to
take care of yourself after your wet-
"I took a whisky bathexternal
if that's what you mean," laughed
the young man, who knew the doc
tor's crotchets.
"That is what I mean. Get a pipe
or a cigar. You know where they
But Griswold said he did not care
to smoke, and went to sit beside
Charlotte's hammock. For a time
the talk drifted aimlessly, as summer
evening chat will, with three to car
ry it, when a boy came up the walk
with a call for the doctor, and the
elder man rose to obey it.
"You may thank your lucky stars
that you didn't study medicine, my
boy," he said to Griswold, by way
of leave-taking and so he went away
and left them.
"Are you glad that you didn't
study medicine?" said Charlotte,
when the stillness of the night had
swallowed up the sounds of her fa
ther's departure.
"I don't know. I think I am glad
for everything that has happened to
"That is an odd thing to say.**
"Why is it odd?"
"Because some of the happenings
must have been disagreeable, at
"None the less I am thankful for
everyone of them7."
"Why?" she asked in turn.
"Because each one has been a wheel
under the train to bring me here."
"Is that a compliment?"
"No, it's the simple truth." He
leaned forward and took the hand
on the hammock's edge in his own
and held it firmly. "Charlotte, dear,
I stand to-night at the parting of the
waysno, that is not a good figure,
for one of the ways is closed and I
may not walk in it. The path that
I shall have to tread leads down
into a valley of shadows and yet I
am glad for everything that has
brought me to it, because I have
found you."
She sat up at that, but she did
not withdraw the imprisoned hand.
"Tell me," she said, simply.
"Beyond the fact that I have loved
and lost you, there is little to tell."
She was silent for a little space,
and then she said, softly: "Why do
you say 'lost'?"
"You will know when I tell you
where we first met."
"Where was it?" There was a
great misgiving in her heart, and
she could feel her lips growing cold.
"It was in the Bayou State bank
in New Orleans. You were getting
a draft cashed, and I
"Oh, don't!" was all she said, but
after that she sat as one suddenly
turned to stone.
He did not speak until she gave
him leave, and then he rose and
stood beside her.
"I came here to-night to tell you
this, Charlotte to tell you that I
love you, andand to bid you good
by I know very well what I have
done that I have removed myself
as far from you as if we lived on
separate planets. But I had to tell
She looked up at him, and he could
see that the glorious eyes were brim
"Onceon the boat, you remem
beryou said you could defend your-
self," she faltered. "Can you do it
"That defense still stands for what
it is worthto me. But I know what
you think about itwhat you must
think. So I have come to say good-
She slipped quietly out of the ham
mock and tood before him in all
her beauty.
"You are keeping something back,"
she said. "Tell me what it is that
you are going to do?"
"I am going to take the midnight
train for New Orleansto give my
self up."
"Oh, no, no!" she cried and her
arms went about his neck as if that
were the only way to hold him. "Oh,
you mustn't, Kenneth, for II love
He drew her closer and kissed her
twice, thrice. Then he put her from
him gently and groaned in the bit
terness of it.
"Now God forgive me, my darling,
for I have slain my love! I under
stand now I went down into the pit
of sin that morning, and now I have
dragged you in after me. Good-by,
Charlotte. When I am gone you
must go down on your knees and ask
God to forgive you and give you back
your conscience. Then you will de
spise me as I deserve." And with
that he was gone.
Dr. Farnham, driving leisurely
home after his evening call in the
neighborhood of the iron works saw
a thing that made him wonder if his
eye-glasses were not quite as well
fitted as they might be. In a quiet
street he saw a man whom he made
sure was Griswold stumbling along
like a homing roysterer, and just
behind him, dodging from tree to
tree and shadow to shadow, another
man who was evidently following the
The doctor drove on, thinking he
must have been mistaken as to the
drunken man's identity. But he was
not. It was Griswold and when he
reached the office of the iron works
he let himself in and turned on the
incandescent light, did this and
wheeled quickly to confront his pur
suer on the threshold of the open
For a fleeting half-second Gris
wold was startled, as anyone might
be Then he saw that the incomer
was Griffin. So he greeted him
guardedly and waited to know what
the late visit purported.
Griffin seemed in no hurry to ex
plain. On the contrary, he closed the
door carefully behind him, snapping
the catch of the might-latch as he did
it, though this Griswold did not
know. Next he drew down the win
dow shade and, wheeling out the
chair from Griswold's desk, sat down
to clip the end from a very large ci
Griswold had watched his move
ments, first in wonder and then with
a chill frost of despair slowly freez
ing him. For one brief instant he
glanced aside at the rifle hanging
upon tne wall, but he quickly looked
away from it, and, to be the farther
from temptation, dropped into Ray
mer's pivot-chair and covered his
face with his hands. It had come.
"I guess you know what I'm here
for," said the detective, finally, when
the big cigar was well alight.
Griswold nodded.
Griffin smoked stolidly for a full
minute before he added:' "I've had
a devil of a time finding you never
should have found you if you hadn't
gone off your head and got girl-
This time Griswold made no sign.
Once again his eyes were marking
the exact distance of the rifle on the
wall. A silence surcharged with the
electricity of possibilities settled
down upon the cramped little room
and when it became unbearable the
detective broke it.
"Where's the swag?" he asked,
Then Griswold spoke for the first
time. "It's here in this plant the
greater part of it."
"Humph! I supposed so." And
then, after another silent interval:
"Why the devil don't you say some
Griswold spread his hands. "There
is nothing to saynothing that I
think of. You have run me down,
and that's the end of it." But he
glanced once more at the rifle.
Griffin smiled. "The gun sort o'
tempts you, doesn't it? You're won
dering in your mind if you could
jump quick enough to get the drop
on me. \ou can do it if you want
to. I left my arsenal at the hotel
and came here bare-handed."
Griswold's eyes began to grow
steely. Pardon me, but that was a
very foolish thing to do, Mr. Griffin."
"Reckon so?"
"Very foolish. You lose sight of the
cost of this thing which you are here
to do the cost, not to me, but to
others who are innocent."
Griffin smiled again.- "Hundred-
thousand-dollar hold-ups are pretty
likely to be costly for somebody."
"Yes. There may have been a time
when I should have given you the
key to my safety deposit box, but
that time is in the past. The money
is no longer in the bank it is here
in this plant, and my arrest and con
viction will bring ruin upon my
"Well?" said the detective.
"I was just thinking," said Gris
wold, reflectively. "Perhaps you can
help me to decide a pointyou've
had a good bit of experience, I take
it. If a professional highwayman
had robbed Mr. Galbraith last spring,
would any considerable portion of
-thethe swag, as you term it, be
recoverable now?"
The detective gave an ex parte
opinion. "Most likely not. It's easy
come, easy go, with that lot."
"Precisely. Then I'll make you a
proposal. Leave the recovery of the
money out of the question, and I'll
go with you peaceably and plead
Griffin laughed outright. "You're
a cool one," he said. "What do you
take me for?"
"For a wise man or a fool, as the
event shall decide. Do you accept?"
"Not much I don't!"
"Then die!" yelled the man at bay,
launching himself like a stone from
a catapult on the detective.
The struggle was short and sharp,
and the battle was not to the strong.
Griswold was the heavier man, and
he had the strength of despair to
help him but the detective was
lithe and wiry and able to match
strength with a wily cunning born
of many a fierce encounter with des
perate men. Back and forth in the
cramped office they reeled, locked in
a death grip and sAvaying and stum
bling as one man. But at the end
of it Griffin broke his antagonist's
hold, and there was a heavy fall,
with the detective uppermost.
"Had enough?" he asked and
when Griswold gave over he rose and
helped the beaten one to his feet.
Griswold set his teeth and held
out his wrists for the manacles.
Griffin swore gruffly and dashed the
blood out of his eye. He had struck
the corner of the desk in falling and
the cut was bleeding freely.
"You be damned," he said. "You
think you've got a lead-pipe cinch
on all the soft-heartedness in this
world, but you haven't. I've thrown
up this jobthrew it up before I
came here to-night."
Griswold staggered baek into a
chair and covered his face with his
"II don't understand."
"Don't you? Well, you ought to.
Eeckon I've forgot the night when
you stood in that door and kept
them strikers from killing me? I
haven't, and by if I choose to
be a man first and an officer of the
law afterward, it's nobody's business
but mine."
Griswold rose unsteadily, went
across to the standing desk in the
corner and leaned upon it with his
face hidden in the bend of the arm.
When Jae looked up again he was
For a long time after the detective
had gone Griswold paced the floor oi
the small office, treading out the
winepress of humiliation and defeat,
and trying, as a man may under such
hard conditions, to decide upon a
course of action which should be
fair to all and decently Ifair for him
For a time it seemed impossible to
draw any thread of sane procedure
out of the revulsionary tangle in
which Charlotte's confession had in
volved him. He told himself bitterly
that she had failed him at the
crucial moment that she had
stepped down from the pedestal of
the ideal to become a woman of
flesh and blood, loving, condoning
and forgiving everything in the man
to' whom she had given her heart.
But very quickly he was made to
see the injustice of this to see first
that he had deliberately gone about
to build a wall of personality around
her judgment, and then, by his own
confession of love, to apply a test
too severe for any loving woman to
More than that, he saw that he
had played the hypocrite with her
even at the last' moment. When he
had gone to her, nothing had been
farther from his thoughts than a
confession of his guilt. The resolve
to tell her all had come suddenly,
and he had yielded to the impulse
on the^ spur of the moment. None
the less, he had let her believe that
it was well considered that he had
determined beforehand upon the
course he had outlined in the brief
Taking it all in all, he had an ex
ceedingly bad half-hour after Griffin
left him, and out of the fiery fur
nace of it emerged a man altogether
different from the hot-hearted
proletary who had robbed the Bayou
bank. He had stood alone against
the world's condemnation'in that
act, and had thought it defensible
from an impregnable position forti
fied by the rights of man. But now
he was made to see the act and its
culpability through the magnifying
glass of another's personality. He
had called it a social necessity, and
no sin and yet the direct conse
quences of it had been to destroy
his ideal of uprightness to make a
pure, God-fearing woman his accom
plice after the fact.
While Griswold was thus fighting
his way blindly out of the darkness
into the light, the net in which he
had enmeshed himself was cut at
the point where it was the strong
est. When Dr. Farnham returned
from a visit to the iron works neigh
borhood he found his daughter wait
ing for him at the gate.
"Please don't get out," she said.
"I want you to take me over to the
hotel on the Point. Will you?"
The father cut the buggy and gave
her a hand to climb up beside him.
"What's gone wrong, Lottie?Any
thing that I may know about?"
She shook her head. "Not now,
poppa dear but I must go."
She was silent and dry-eyed on the
short drive and when it was ended,
and the good doctor had waited a
long half-hour for her at the hotel,
he drove her home and was no wiser
than he had been. She had had him
go in with her to send her card to
Mr. Andrew Galbraith, but bev ond the
fact that she had been closeted for
a half-hour with the white-haired
banker, the father knew nothing
nor did he seek to know, having per
fect confidence in his daughter.
What took place in Andrew Gal
braith's sitting-room at the summer
hotel was never known to any save
the two who were the actors in the
little drama. But when Charlotte
came out Andrew Galbraith accom
panied her andfather.her put intoe the
wi her An sh was
crying a little, though not as those
who weep without hope.
The old banker watched the buggy
as it melted into the darkness of the
driveway, and shook his head.
"There goes a woman that any man
might be proud to give his name till,"
he said. "Now, if the young deevil
has half her courage"
"A gentleman to see you, Mr. Gal
braith," said the voice of the night
clerk beside him. "I thought you
were in your room, and I sent him
Grisw old vv as standing, hat in hand,
in the middle of the comfortable sit
ting room when the banker entered.
"I beg your pardon," he began.
"The clerk told me you were here,
and I found the door open."
"Sit down," said the banker, not in
hospitably, drawing up his own easy
chair. But Griswold remained stand
"No," he objected. "What I have
to say may be said standing. Mr.
Galbraith, did you ever see me be
fore you came to Wahaska?
The shrewd old face was unreada
ble by any, but if there was a certain
glint of hardness in the eyes, it was
tempered by the lines about the
"You wore a beard when you were
in New Orleans, Mr. Griswold," he
said at length.
"Then you recognized me?"
"Not at first, you may be sure."
"I suppose not otherwise I should
be awaiing my trial in the parish
"Is there any good reason why ye
shouldn't be?" demanded the old
man, with a rasp in his voice.
"None at all, though up to an hour
ago I should not have admitted it."
"And what made ye change your
mind, Pd like to ask?"
"A number of things, but chiefly
this: I have come to know now that
what I did that morning was wrong."
Wrong!" shouted the banker.
"Axe ye clean flaft, man? Was there
ever any doubt about its being
"Not from your point of view, per
haps but if it had seemed wrong to
me, I should not have done it."
"You're crazy, main clean daft, I
"'Put it in the past tense, if you
please, Mr. Galbraith. I'm in my
right mind now.**
"And what cured ye, I'd like to
"The fact that I found out an hour
ago that I had made a good woman
my accomplice after the fact. There
can be no question about the sinful
ness of that, so I am here to do what
I may in the way of reparation."
"Go on," said Andrew Galbraith.
"First about the money"
It was the canny soul of the old
Scotchman that groaned.
"Ye lost it, ye loon I know all
about that. Go on with your repara
"How did you know I lost it?"
queried Griswold, no little mystified.
"Never you mind what I know or
how I know it. Go on, I say."
"But I didn't lose it or rather, I
lost it and found it again. Odd as it
may seem to you, I have never re
garded the money as my own. I have
held it as a fund in trust for the good
of my kind. Ninety-five thousand
dollars are invested in the Wahaska
iron works, and there are some three
thousand dollars of undivided profits
due on this investment. Here is a
check payable to your order for my
balance at the bank$3,940.57. The
iron works stock can be sold at par
to-morrow, if you like, and that, with
the dividend and this balance, will
make you whole again, with a small
interest on the principal."
Andrew Galbraith heard him
through, with grim satisfaction de
picting itself on the shrewd old face.
"Ye're not so bad a financier," he
said. "Now, what's to become of
"That remains for you to say.
You may go and ring for the police,
and I'll wait here till an officer
comes or if vou don't care to be
mixed up in it, I'll take the first train
south and surrender myself in New
"Is that all?"
"All but one thing. If you put the
iron works on the market at once it
will embarrass Mr. Raymer perhaps
to the point of forcing him to the
wall. I have no right to ask favors
of you"
The banker sprang up and began to
tramp up and down in something as
nearly approaching rage as he ever
permitted himself.
"Why, ye callow young fule, what
d'ye think I'm made of?" he explod
ed. "A few hours ago you and that
brave bit of a lassieGod bless her
risked your two lives to save mine.
D'ye think I'll be sending you to that
leevin' death in the chain gang if ye
were twenty times the crazy loon ye
Griswold drew himself up. "You've
got it to do, Mr. Galbraith. You
must not compound a felony to save
"Compound your grandmither!"
shouted the old man. "If you go and
give yourself up in New Orleans, I'll
go on the stand and swear I never set
eyes on ye before. Then ye'll have an
old man's perjury on ye're soul to
answer for. Na, na, lad they call me
a hard old skinflint, but after a' I'm
just human. You've turned face about,
and it's not old Andrew Galbraith
who'll be piling stones in your way.
Go you right away down to the doc
tor's and tell that brave lassie of
jours what's come of it a', and to
morrow we'll see about the money
matters. Ma3be I'll make up my
mind to let sleeping dogs lie, and set
ve up as my resident manager at
your iron works. Go on, ye loon, be
fore I turn ye out."
Griswold went toward the door,
with his brain in a whirl, but when
his hand was on the knob Andrew
Galbraith stopped him.
"Hold on a minute, I forgot.
There's a man here by the name of
Griffin, he knows who you are, and
he'll be nabbing you." Griswold
smiled. "No, he won't. He has
thrown up the job, as he will proba
bly tell you to-morrow."
"Thrown it up? What for?"
Griswold hung his head. "II was
lucky enough to save his life, too.
"That'll do ye've a mission that
vvaj', it seems. Now, then, be off
with you."
Griswold left the room and hotel,
walking as one in a dream. The
dream lasted until he entered the
gate of Lake Lodge and saw a flutter
of white on the high veranda.
"What have you done, Kenneth?"
she asked, when he would suffer her
to speak.
"I have done what I could, dear,
and it is nothingless than nothing,
in the way of reparation. Oh, Char
lotte, you must be my conscience, if
you take me. I am but a sorry
knave, after all."
"A knave of conscience," she mur
mured and he caught at the phrases.
"That shall be the name of the new
book you are going to help me
write," he said quickly, confirming it
with a kiss.
And so indeed it was.
Almost Ready.
"Well, Hetty," said Uncle Bill, "I
reckon you have written your grad
uating essay and are about ready to
say good-by to school."
"I am almost ready, Uncle William,"
replied Harryette. "I have selected
the material for my graduating dress,
and as soon as I can decide whether to
carry a bouquet in my hand or wear it
in my corsage I shall give some atten
tion to other trifles of the occasion."
Real Unkind of Her.
Miss FrankleighWhy, you are limp
ing, Mr. Uppstart! What is the
Mr. UppstartMy feet are swelled
from some unknown cause.
"You are always going in for ex
tremes. Now, it is your feetbut usu
ally it's your head. Chicago Daily

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