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Newspaper Page Text
Instead of a pipe lie -was smoking
a Burmese cheroot
A tired woman came to the door.
"I don't know what we're going to
do, Alfred," she wailed, and he recog
nized his wife, Mary. His impulse
was to seize her in his arms; but yet
it seemed so natural to him to be
seated there that he almost forgot
she had been dead so many years.
"Bob's worse," she said.
Bob was the baby who had died
The captain had never forgotten him,
but he had been dead so many years
that he had placed him in that part
of his mind where he store up our bit
tersweet memories that are too pain
ful for thought
"And the doctor won't come until
his bill is paid," the woman wept She
fell upon her knees before him. "Al
fred, what are we going to do?" she
cried. "I'll have to go to work for
Mrs. Symonds and put the children
in the institution again."
Cap't Paul remembered now. He
had just returned from an unsuccess
ful voyage, his partnership in the lit
tle boat ended when she sank in the
Bay of Bengal. He had been shipped
home penniless and he had gone -on a
freighter as a common hand the fol
When he returned the baby had
been dead three months. The captain
was dimly aware that Bob was going
"Mary!" his voice quavered as he
put his arms about her. "I'll find a
ship tomorrow. I O, God! I wish I
had a million dollars." .
The wiBh had broken spontaneous
ly from his lips, but immediately the
scene changed. The wish had re
ferred to no period of his life; con
sequently the scene in which he
found himself was one which he was
unable to recognize.
He was seated in the library of a
magnificent house in a seaport town.
The door opened and he heard girlish
laughter in an adjacent room as the
butler respectfully placed a box of
cigars before him and a tray contain
ing a bottle of gin and seltzer water.
The man withdrew, cat-footed.
Cap't Paul heard the voice of hil
daughter Myra in the drawing room.
"Yes," she was saying, "of course
papa makes me ashamed of him. If
he hadn't made that fortune in the
China trade and got his head turned
he would have been a very respect
able old man for his station. But
he's well, Mrs. Jones-Frothingham
says he is insufferable. And so un
presentable." "It must be a great trial for you,
Myra," murmured his daughter's
"It keeps my heart in my throat
every time anybody comes to dine,"
cooed Myra. "He eats his peas with
a knife! And he tucks his napkin into
his collar! Isn't it dreadful, dear!
And, of course, the best people in
Freeport are not coming to visit us
when he behaves like that I wish
he'd die that's what I wish."
Her voice broke down and she be
gan to sob. "He's a disgrace and a
nuisance," she declared. "I wish I
-wish I wish he had never made that
"You can't improve his manners,
my dear?" asked Myra's friend.
"Improve a cur's manners!" sniffed
Myra, dabbing at her eyes. "He
doesn't know what manners mean.
The worst of it, he doesn't know he
can't behave. Only the other day he
told Mr. Jones-Frothingham that
they'd go out together sometime on a
Oh, I can't say the vulgar word,
"Tell me. I may have heard it,"
said Elise. "One can't help picking
up things, you know."
"A bat Elise. He meant a drunken
amusement of some kind, I know.
And he drinks gin instead of whiskey,
dear. He might as well be a tem
perance man, which is almost as vul
gar." The captain was at first petrified
by hearing his daughter's words, but
presently his calm came back to him.