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Newspaper Page Text
By Merwin James, Jr.
"A handsome couple," was the ver
dict of Sudbury folk who' saw Tom
Haynes and Mabel Vickers riding to
gether. They would dash through the vil
lage and over the downs, Mabel upon
her big black horse, Tom beside her
on his chestnuV, helter-skelter, the
animals wild with excitement, until
they reached the edge of Close Hill
gap. Then they would pull rein and
sit gazing down on the scene below.
From Close Hill gap one could see
for miles across the level country.
It was a famous country and both
Tom's and Mabel's ancestors had
had a share in the making of it That
was why, when the villagers of Sud
bury spoke of them as a handsome
couple there rose into their minds a
vision of the match they would
Tom was a young lawyer of Sud
bury and had lately succeeded to his
father's law business. Mabel's folks
had been squires once and were still
the social leaders of the town. In
contrast with her younger sister,
Nora, who loved nothing better than
a book, Mabel was a dashing horse
woman. She had persuaded Tom to take up
riding after their engagement, and
they rode every afternoon, much to
the discredit of Tom's business. Still,
clients will forgive a good deal in a
man who is going to get married.
Their marriage was only two
months away when the accident hap
pened. Mabel's horse bolted and she
was flung to the ground. Tom, rid
ing hot after her, pitched over his
horse's head down the acclivity of
Close Hill gap.
It was a clear drop of 400 feet, but
fortunately his clothing caught on
some bushes and he was suspended
against the side of the cliff, 30 feet
from the top. When Mabel staggered
to her feet and saw him there she
screamed for aid. Fortunately this
was forthcoming. Tom was rescued
with ropes and carried home.
"It's odd I can't feel my feet," said
Tom, when they put him to bed.
The doctor's diagnosis was com-
municated'first to Tom's family, then,
to Mabel last of all to Tom. His
spine was broken and he would never
ride or walk again.
' Mabel went to see Tom and wept
piteously to see him in his chair
Then They Would Pull Rein and
Sit Gazing on the Scene 'Below.
wrapped in blankets and helpless be
neath the waist. She went away and
did not return.
It was Nora whp came to see Tom
a week later. Nora and Tom had-al-ways
been great friends. The girl
was 20, though she had only recently
put up her hair in a knot She was
exactly the opposite of Mabel. No-