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Richmond planet. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1883-1938, November 22, 1930, ILLUSTRATED FEATURE SECTION, Image 14

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The Daring Sacrifice : : j
WEEK-END
TRUE STORY
■ - -u
A Daring Treatment of a Daring Theme. Could You Meet
the Test of Friendship that this Man Met?
A True Story as Told to
RALPH MATTHEWS
Tomorrow we’re going back to civilization after four
years up here among the towering pines—Janice, the kid
and I. As the aroma of home-cured bacon is wafted to my
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“My mother gave me Lydia
E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Com
pound when I was sixteen and
it made a woman of me. I was
feeling miserable and would
cry most of the time. I eat and
sleep well and have lots of pep.
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nostrils trom our little cabin
by the water’s edge, I have i
only misgivingsat the thought
that this will be our last sup
per out here next to nature
and close to God.
How these years have sped and
what changes they have wrought.
Back in Harlem we'll look like a
bunch of raggle taggle gypsies, we
three, after so long a sojourn in the
backwoods of old New York State,
with only the swish swash of the St.
Lawrence to disturb our peace.
How well I recall the last night
gone in pretty deeply for real es
tate.
“Oh, it isn’t that at all. It’s some
thing—don't know how to tell you.
I’ve been such a cad and such a fool,
but you'll understand, Mel. You're
a man yourself.” He paused, offered
me a cigarette, which I refused, and
then proceeded nervously.
“You know, Mel. Tillie has been
sick a long time, ever since that fall
she had nearly a year ago. During
! that time I tried ray best to be faith
| ful to her. For a long time I was
[ able to control myself by making -my
self believe that I was partly re
sponsible for her condition. God, how
I tried!
“A few months ago her sister came
to live with us. A sweet and inno
cent girl was she, still in her teens,
fresh from a girls’ college in the
South, the very image of Tillie be
fore her beauty was stolen by her
suffering. Somehow. Mel, I couldn’t
help feeling close to her, even though
I knew I shouldn’t have such
thoughts, but a satanic craving took
possession of me. I wanted her more
than anything else in the world.
Long months, void of the compan
In the morning, I am leaving all that
I have striven for these many years
I am going out in the open to try
to win back the thing I have most
neglected, my health. I am going out
j there alone *» fight for the thing
i I want most in this world, life It
i self. I could not go feeling the the
last thing I did in my profession was
to take that which I need most my
self, even at the cost of our friend
ship. Anything else I have, Tom, you
can get, but my knowledge and .skill
to perform an act that in the eyes
of the law is murder, I cannot give.” i
“Then, you will let that child come *
into the world nameless, break my
wife’s heart and probably send her
back to her bed, ruin my career, and
call that friendship?”
His question stumped me. I waited
a moment to think. Pushing n.y
hands deep into my pockets, I paced
around the room. My eyes fell upon
a picture of a girl. Long black curls
dangled around a head of peach
blown brown, laughing eyes that
radiated mischievousness, and lips
curved into a smile that displayed an
even row of pearly white teeth.
“A few months ago her sister came to live with us. A sweet and innocent girl was she, |
still in her teens, fresh from a girl’s college in the South, the very image of Tillie before |
her beauty was stolen by her suffering. Somehow, I couldn’t help feeling close to her.”
I spent in Harlem. An eventful night
that, but one that has brought me
happiness and a new lease on life.
The physicians had given me up.
Hard work day and night in medical
school had taken its toll in my first
year of practice in a spotted lung. I
was told I could live but a few months
at the terrific pace that New York
sets. There was but one hope, and
that was in nature itself. So I de
termined to come away, forsake my
practice, forget the hum-drum exist
ence in the great metropolis and
commune with mother earth her
self.
My plans I kept secret and had just
completed my packing, preparatory
to leaving, when an urgent call took
me to the home of Tom Crane, my
old boyhood friend and classmate in
college.
The moment I looked into his anx
ious face, as he opened the door of
his apartment on 145th Street, I
knew he was baffled by some grave
problem. He waved me to a chair
in his den and slumped into a seat
close at hand, only after he had
taken every precaution to see that
the door was securely locked and
there were no eavesdroppers with
out.
“Mel.” he whispered hoarsely. “I
am in serious trouble, and you are
the only one to help me out. You
will, won’t you?"
“Certainly,” I assured him. “any
thing to help a pal. but I haven’t
much money.” I knew that Tom had
ionship of my wife, urged me on and
dulled my conscience. I was mad,
Mel; God knows I was, to do what I
did. I made love to her, with my
invalid wife right in the next room.
At first, she rebuked me, but I final
ly gained her confidence. She trust
ed me. She, too, forgot our relation
ship and—one night—don’t look at me
that way, Mel. I know it was an un
godly thing to do, but I could not
help myself. But when we realized
what we had done-He buried
his face in his arms ana actually
sobbed upon the disheveled desk
“But what do you want me to do?"
I asked when he looked up.
“Do? Why, man, don’t you under
stand? That was two months ago,
and today she told me-.”
“You don’t mean that-?”
“Just that,” replied Tom, reading
the question in my eyes. “You are a
doctor, Mel. You are my best friend.
Won’t you help her out. I have noth
ing to offer. Tillie is well on the
road to recovery now. She'll be walk
ing again soon. If she knew, it would
break her heart. You will, won’t
you, Mel?” There was a pleading in
his eyes.
I sat there stunned for a moment.
The confession of my friend was
hardly what I had expected of the
visit.
After several minutes of medita
tion. I replied, “Tom, I hope that
: what I am about to say will not lessen
I the friendship that existed between
i you and me since our boyhood days,
but I am forced to disappoint vou.
"Is this she?” I asked, noting j
a close resemblance to his wife, whom :
I had known.
"Yes, taken several years ago down
ir. South Carolina,” Tom replied.
"Tell you what, Tom,” I said. "I
cannot do what you ask, but if she
will consent to marry me, I’ll give
your child my name.”
He looked aghast. "You don't • v n
you’d do that, knowing what you
do,”
"Oh, what's the difference. I only
have a short while to live. My going j
away is merely a gamble at best. I j
Continued on Page Seven
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