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The Hays free press. [volume] (Hays, Kan.) 1908-1924, July 14, 1917, Magazine Section, Image 13

Image and text provided by Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, KS

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84029690/1917-07-14/ed-1/seq-13/

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evening on a short visit to friends.
Engraved visiting cards at the Free
Procg nffifa
ness m for several years past.
At a special election last Monday,
in Hays. -
iss Hale is a graduate of our
State Normal school and spent the
FOR SALE
Twelve good residence
-J " ,of 1
Free
1H .
0M
'D rather meet a nice man than
see the Abbey," Priscilla War
rington admitted to herself, as
she whirled down Piccadilly in
a hansom and eyed the pass-
By Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd
ers-by
The sentiment may have indicated
low tastes; but it must be urged in
extenuation that, during two months
on the Continent, Priscilla had met
many beautiful cathedrals, and no
nice men. Not that the men had been
unappreciative. . From Naples to Ber
lin, from Budapest to Paris, resplendent
officers, roystering students, gallant
citizens of many types, had invited
her smiles; but she had not dared to
smile.
"In our country," she explained,
when writing to a home friend, "one
knows that a man will stop when one
crosses one's fingers and says 'King's
X'; but I doubt, I seriously doubt,
whether these heavenly angels, in
comic-opera clothes, understand the
rules of the game."
And so, being a wise young woman,
with a wholesome respect for unknown
fc explosives as well a3 a mighty curiosity
concerning them, Miss Warrington had,
while traveling, restricted her smiles
to the ranks of bell boys, waiters, and
porters, and had eliminated from
her calculations all men who could
not be tipped. The small coin of the
realm, so she found, furnished an
excellent line of demarcation. Now,
at the end of June, Priscilla was estab
lished in England, and was finding
difficulty in keeping her smiles from
becoming catholic. As she looked from
her cab, she reflected that there was
something very satisfying about tweeds
and bowlers, after a surfeit of uni
forms and caps. These big, sturdy
men, with the strong mouths and the
boyish eyes, reminded her of the
dear, safe, comfortable men at home.
They looked as though they might
know the rules of the game and abide
by them.
"But I don't know any of the crea
tures," sighed Priscilla; then she
brightened. Weren't the rest of her
party well under way for Windsor?
Hadn't she a whole, smiling June day
all to herself? Wasn't 6he wearing
her smartest frock and hat in honor
of the Clarksons, with whom she was
going to have tea, after seeing the
Abbey and St. Margaret's?
"Stop at St. Margaret's first,"
she said blithely to the cabby, as
he turned into Westminster; and when
he drew up before the church and she
stepped out with a froufrou of chiffons,
she signed to him to "wait. Extrava
gance, of course; but this was a day
for extravagance.
The. slender figure was swallowed
by the old gray doorway. Inside the
church there was a shadowy quiet,
rose perfumed: A few. tourists buzzed
about, under the eye of a dignified
verger, but Priscilla did not join
them. She was a mercurial young
woman, prone to shifting moods;
and now, all of a sudden, she felt
distinctly "churchy." The word is
her own; but it describes well enough
the vague, yearning emotionalism which
prompted her to slip into an out-of-the-way
pew and drop upon her knees.
When she rose the tourists had van
ished, but a group of fashionably
dressed folk had replaced them, and
- others were drifting in.
"There's going to be a service,"
thought Priscilla, still in soulful mood.
" I believe I'll stay for it."
She settled back in her-Beat; but,
gradually, she realized that the char
acter of the gathering was scarcely
devout. Everybody seemed to know
everybody else, and conversation,
though subdued, " flowed freely. The
girl's brain searched and found " the
answer to the riddle., A wedding!
A very swell wedding! All outsiders,
save her, had been shooed out of the
church; but she had been overlooked.
Of course she was an intruder; but
leaving now would be in the nature
of looking a gift horse in the mouth;
so she stayed -until the ceremony had
been "performed, the bridal party ha i
trailed down the aisle, and the crowd
wa3 preening itself for flight. Then
she passed out into the sunlight,
through the ranks to which she . did
not belong.
Motors and carriages galore were
in waiting. One by one, they received
their aristocratic freight and rolled
away; and, as Priscilla stood watching,
a hansom forced its way in between a
big Panhard and a luxurious victoria
and a smiling jehu beckoned to her.
She stepped into the cab, the driver
cranked his whip, and they were off
in the wake of the coronet ed carriages
and the gorgeous cars. The cabman
waited for no order, and in her excite
ment she overlook ed the fact" that the
Abbey was still unseen and that she
had not given the Clarkson's address.
Not until the procession turned off
- from Pall Mall and was bowling along
past Green Park did it dawn upon her
that she was still attending the wedding.
The guests were all going on to the
reception, and the driver had taken it
for granted that she was one of the
elect. Her hand went hastily up toward
the little window in the top of the cab,
hesitated, stopped short, dropped back
into her lap. It would be fun to see
where the bride lived. The procession
halted. Far down the line guests were,
leaving their carriages and mounting
the steps of a big. imposing house.
Now was the time for escape not now;
the street was blocked. It would be
necessary to stay in line and follow
the empty vehicles to the first corner
beyond the house. Little by little,
the cab jerked its way toward the
spot where the awning and the carpet
ran down to the curb.
"Why not? A flush came into Pris
cilla's cheeks, a sparkle into her eyes.
Why not? All her traditions, inherited
and "acquired, rose to offer conclusive
answers to the question; but she put
them aside. Even the veriest Puritan
may have his moment of madness.
Priscilla's was upon her. The spirit
of adventure had her in its grip, and
she flung the proprieties, the decencies,
to the wind. In so large a crowd, who
would ever know? She had always
wanted to do something really shock
ing. Here was her golden opportunity.
The fates had cast it at her feet.
The cab was stopping, a magnificent
being in livery was opening the doors,
the time for hesitation was past.
H i; w;ir
1 1 - 4 lP .
ill Mm
M 11 i -
don't belong in there,
tfasrft invited."
A young person, with the air of a Vere
de Vere, paid and dismissed a mildly
intoxicated cabman, tiailed an unmis
takably Parisian frock along the
crimson carpet, and ran the gauntlet
of more magnificent beings in livery.
A moment later she found herself
alone in a crowd and awake to her
iniquity. Now that she stopped to
think, the thing was horrible, an of
fense against every law of good breed
ing. She must escape. Panic descended
upon her; she started toward the door,
and, at that moment, a pleasant
masculine voice drawled into her
ear, "Awful crush, isn't it?"
Priscilla gave a little gasp of terror.
Guilt was written upon every line of
her face, but the man with the admir
ing cye3 did not seem to notice her
dismay.
"Lady Mary makes an attractive
bride," he was saying when the cul
prit regained her self-possession suf
ficiently to listen. "They say the old
Duke has been very keen about this
match. He does look pleased, doesn't
lie? Do you know, you are looking
a bit fagged. Can I get you anything? "
"Fagged!" Prostrated was the more
adequate word; and yet and yet
a returning joy of life was making
itself felt in Pristilla's heart. Had
she not said she would rather meet
a nice man than see the Abbey? WTell,
she had not seen the Abbey; but here
was a man, and indications pointed to
his being "nice." Priscilla's spirits
rose. He seemed like a direct answer
to prayer; and, though undeserving, one
need not be unappreciative. And so
she smiled at him, deliberately, radi--antly,
fully realizing that he was not
bell boy nor waiter nor porter, quite
convinced that she would not be allowed
to tip him for service rendered. He
caught the smile and exchanged an
other for it.
"So hungry as that?" he asked
"Famished."
He took possession of her, steered
her through the crowd, found a seat
for her in a little morning room out
of the confusion, and left her there
while he went on forage. She nestled
back comfortably among the cushions
and watched him hurrying down the
hall. Even his back was likable, such
a fine straight, broad-shouldered, capa
ble sort of a back. There was a man
who would get the best of whatever
lay beyond the dining-room doors.
And yet there was a theory that the
way of the transgressor ,waa hard!
Priscilla shook her head. The way
of the transgressor, like the descent
to A vermis, was easy; and so it seemed
joyous, withal.
The Nice Man was back in a few
momenta, bearing plunder that jus
tified belief in him.
"The best I could do, short of felling
scores of England's noblest and reach
ing the buffet over their bodies," he
said gaylj.
"It looks delicious," Priscilla mur
mured; but, unexpectedly, a scruple had
come out from under the anesthetic
which had overwhelmed it, with all
of its kind, and was assuring the hungry
young woman that she couldn't possibly
eat the food of hosts who did not
even know her. When it eame to
the breaking of bread well, having
swallowed a cameL one ought not to
strain at a gnat; but every wrongdoer
draws a line somewhere. Now, the
- Nice Man was different. He hadn't
actually been provided by the Duke.
There would be no mortal sin against
the laws cf hospitality in appropriating
him, so long as he himself was willing.
Apparently, the Nice Man had no
curiosity in regard to the girl's name
or home or friends. That she had
brown eyes, with golden lights in them,
aid brown hair with distracting ripples

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