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Newspaper Page Text
iTHE SERPENT IN EDEN
By George Munson.
"Isn't she dreadful, Joan!" -whispered
Joyce, casting a glance side
wise toward the old woman next
The old woman was watering her
rose trees. She was a horrible old
woman, in outward aspect, at any
rate. She might have been anywhere
between eighty and a hundred years
"You Know Who That Is, My Dear?"
of age; she was crooked and shrunk
en; and her wizened features were
exactly Jike those popularly attrib
uted to a witch. And yet she was
watering her rose trees with as loving
care as a young girl might have be
stowed uopn them.
"Poor old lady!" said John Dur
ham. "To think that people can live
to be as old as that."
"Do you think she was ever a
young 'and beautiful girl, dearest?"
asked Joyce contentedly, nestling
down into the fold of her lover's arm.
"I guess she was young all right,
but I am sure she never was beau
tiful," said John.
Joyce Lamont and John Durham
had been engaged for three months
and their wedding was to take place
that fall. John Durham was a new
comer to Catesville, where he had
opened a law office and was already
securing a fair measure of business,
which gave promise of a comfortable
livelihood. As for Joyce well, if you
have ever spent even a week in Cates
ville, you will certainly have heard
of the Lambnts. Daniel Lamont was
one of the first American statesmen
in. the time of President Buchanan.
The death of Joyce's mother, a few
months before, had left Joyce aloae
in the old house, to which she had.
just returned after several years of
absence at school and abroad, and
everybody was glad that she was to
be married, now that she was sole
mistress of the manor.
Joyce remembered the old woman
next door in a vague way. She had
gone there to live after the death of
Joyce's father, seven years previous
ly. She had not seemed so homely
then, so far as Joyce could remember.
But she had not paid much attention
to her until she returned home the
year before; then the sight of her old
neighbor had begun to fill her with
aversion and horror.
"I wish we could pay her to go
away," she said to John. "She'll spoil
our happiness, just seeing her there.
"Why should there be ugly things in
Joyce was not unkind, but she had
always lived among beautiful things.
She could not bear ugliness. Her
home was superbly beautiful, though
simple, and the liall was hung with
the portraits of the Lamonts all
handsome, dignified and fine to look,
upon. Joyce had never dreamed that
any human being could grow to look
like the old -woman next door.
She passed along the hall, looking