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By HOWARD FIELDING
Copyright, 1901, by Chaxlos W. Hooke.
^.•-..'• [CONTINTJED.] [S/::-(::£:^
"Why did fate send a good man after
ward?" said Elsie. "Why not before?
Well, 'the moving finger writes and.
having writ, moves on'— It was to be.
Finally the gentleman announced that
a marriage under the laws of the state
of Pennsylvania would meet the re
quirements of the situation. I was a
good deal startled by this definite sug
gestion, and I wrote to my mother on
the subject for the first time. The gen
tleman took the letter to post, and it
has not been delivered yet thank heav
en! .:• .. .. •"•.•"•"/
"Before it was time to get an answer
sudden business of great importance
called my fiance to Philadelphia. How
opportune! Well, Brenda, I packed a
little hand bag and went. What must
you think of me?"
Brenda bent down gently and kissed
Elsie's hand and held it against her
"I don't know the story yet," she said,
"but you have portrayed a thorough
scoundrel. And you have also shown
me a trusting and true hearted girl who
went to be married with an innocent
beartv Blessed heaven! Think of a
man for whom a young and pure girl
will go out into the world like that, as
if to walk in the fields! Should not ev
^ery fiber of his soul be thrilled to loyal
ty for all his life?"
"The gentleman in question had no
soul," said Elsie. "I think he will be
spared all punishment hereafter, as the
brutes are. Let us proceed, Brenda,
dear. The remainder of the story is
not long. We took the 11 o'clock train
and reached Philadelphia in time foi
luncheon. Oui marriage was to 1)6
kept secret for awhile, and there seem
ed to be some slight objection to the
public dining room bf the hotel where
our hansom set us down. However
we lunched there quite- hastily, for 1
had no appetite. Then we re-entered
the hansom and went to look for a min
ister. We had remarkable difficulty iu
fnding one, considering that Philadef
hia is a large city full of churches, buf
we finally succeeded. Then it. appeared
that we had neglected to comply with
certain formalities, but the clergyman
was able to rectify the matter, and so
we were married pitifully, as I see it
now, with stupid old servants and a
chance laborer who happened to be at
work in the house as our witnesses.
"When we got back to the hotel, ii
was 6 o'clock, and I was nearly fam
ished. We hurried right into the din
ing room, and my husband ordered a
great spread, with champagne, for our
miserable celebration, and now I will
tell you the unromantic part. In the
midst of that dinner, "and while I fan
cied that I was eating Avith a splendid
appetite, I was suddenly seized with
the most awful pain that ever devas
tated my poor little stomach. Yes,
Brenda, it was a regular, terrible
stomach ache—just pain, without a bit
of nausea. I felt as if some one had
my stomach in his hand—a hand about
the size of Captain Neale's—and was
crushing it to pieces.
"My husband said he guessed it
would soon pass away, but it didn't,
and so he left his dinner and ran out
to a drug store to get me something to
take. When he came back, I took it,
and I didn't feel any worse, because
ttiat wasn't possible, but I certainly
felt no better. In a few minutes I be
gan to realize that I was going out of
my wits. I talked insanely and saw
things that weren't there. The next
thing I knew we were riding up in an
elevator, and it seemed to go up for a
week. Then there was a woman lead
ing me along a hall and into a room,x
and she, began to take off my clothes in
the bedroom of a little suit. I stared
at her and asked her who she was.
'I'm the assistant housekeeper,' she
said. 'I belong to the hotel.'
"As if she had been a piece of furni
ture. Then I asked where my hus
band was, and she said he had gone
out for a doctor. So she made me lie
down. Probably I seemed to be there
on that bed, but in reality—my own
reality—I was playing in that old barn
storming company and studying,
studying, studying on long parts that
were always changing, but sometimes
I was a little girl again in a town way
out in Michigan, running through the
streets, with my long legs flying and
my heels touching the back of my
head, as my mother used to say. I
stole the neighbors' flowers in the
scented June evenings and staid out
under the little whispering stars till
my lQbther came, weeping with anx
iety, to bring me home. And, strange
ly enough, right in the midst of it all
there stood the doctor, a tall, gaunt
young man, asking me how I felt.
But where was my husband?
'He has not got back,' said the wo
man. 'I was afraid to wait any lon
ger, so I got this gentleman, who is a
New York doctor stopping in the
"Then I felt something sharp prick
ing my arm and afterward the pain
was easier, and my mind suddenly be
came as clear as it is now. I heard
the doctor say that I would be all
right when I had had some sleep, and
then my husband appeared, looking in
between the curtains that hung by the
bedroom door. It seems that he had
not brought a doctor, but had left
word for one £o come.
"My husband remained there, be
tween the curtains, perfectly rigid.
staring, pale as a ghost. was look
ing at the doctor beside my bed, and
glancing up I saw that the doctor was
staring at him. '.'...&?\
"'You!' said the doctor, and be took
three strides out of the room, my hus
band backing away as the other ad
"They whispered .together they
thought I could not hear. Bu'£ Brenda.
I would have heard them if they had
been in New York.
"'She says you were married this
afternoon,' said the doctor. 'How is
'Who, in the devil's name called you
in?* demanded my husband. 'Wbeta
did you come from?'
'This is state prison business,'
said the doctor, without minding the
questions. 'You are living legally
separated from your wife, but you are
not divorced, and you never will be by
your own consent, for her father is
paying you to behave yourself.'
"-'There has been no marriage here,'
said my husband. 'Don't say -any
thing. This is $ mere freak of mine.
"Youl" said tfie doctor.
I'll make it riglt with you if you'll
'You lie,' said the doctor, and then,
'Am I too late to save her?'
"My husband answered 'Yes.' Brenda,
how is it possible for a human being
to utter a falsehood like that? I was
no more to him than you. are except
that I had promised before God to be
his wife. And the doctor looked him
in the eyes a moment and then struck
him across the face with the back of
his open hand and went out of the
"My husband came to the curtains
and looked in then he approached the
bed, and I groaned as loud as I could.
At that he seemed to lose his wits. He
ran around the room aimlessly and at
last snatched his hat froto the floor,
and rushed out. I suppose he was go
ing for another dqctor.
"When he was gone, I invented an
errand and sent the woman away. Then
I got up and dressed. I don't know
how it was possible for me to do it,
but I seemed to be as light as a feath
er. I got out of the hotel easily enough
and took a cab to the railroad station.
I had not money enough for a sleeper,
so I rode in a day coach all the way to
New York, but my mind was in a
thousand places, and some of them
were beautiful, and I was happy there,
and again I was in terror and pain.
"When I left the train at Jersey City,
my head was bursting upon my shoul
ders and the air was fire. Honestly,
Brenda. when the ferryboat ran into
the slip on this side, I thought it was
the mouth of the infernal regions. It
looked like a great cave full of flames
and it seemed that I was being crushed*
and thrust into it. Yet I must have
had some part of my senses, for I
found a cab and gave the driver my
address. And so I came home from
my wedding journey, Brenda. I let
myself in with my key, and the people
in the house never knew that I had
been away that night. They found
me ill and got a doctor for me, and be
fore the day was over I was nearly
well. The doctor said I must have eat
en some sort of a tiling—what do they
call it—I always tlrnk of tomatoes."
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"Ptomaines," said Brenda. "Oh, you
poor child you poor, wretched, lucky
little Elsie! I am so glad, so glad!"
"Would you believe," said Elsie,
"that that man tried to get my heart
back again, to plead his cause with me?
Well, he did, and, though I had peace
for quite a long time, of late I have
been much annoyed by him. You can
understand now why Clarence Alden's
love was torture to me. why well,
why I bought the picture of Tantalus
to look fft, Brenda. Oh. I love him, I
love him so much! The feast of the
heart that I can never have! He is
everything I want. Brenda." vg|
"But why in the name of all martyr
dom* should you hesitate to tell this sto
ry to him?" exclaimed Brenda. "What
bar can it be to your marriage?"
"One day." said Eisie slowly, "when
I was beginning to love Clarence so
that my heart sang of him all the time,
I was walking on Broadway and had
stopped to look in at a jeweler's win
dow. And I glanced up, and Clarence
was coming down the street with that
"The one who attended yon in Phil
"Yes," said Elsie. "They were laugh
ing and talking together, and I shrank
into a doorway and died of shame as
they passed. Suppose they had seen
I think ho harm would have come of
it," said Brenda.
"Suppose I married Clarence and we
should meet him then?"
"But, my dear." exclaimed Brenda,
"take the wildest ppssible supposition.
Say that this doctor believed the worst
and told it to Clarence and lived to
finish the story, which unless he is
Samson reincarnated is not possible, it
would make'no difference. Unless Clar
ence can believe you absolutely against
every other voice in the world, you
don't want to marry him anyway."
"You don't know men." said Elsie,
shaking her head. "One little doubt,
and there is misery for a lifetime. I
heard Clarence speak once of a woman
who had gone wrong. It frightened my
bones until they turned to dust in my
"But, Elsie, you haven't done any
wrong," pleaded Brenda. "You were
"I no more than the others," replied
Elsie. "Every woman who goes wrong
is deceived, or there would be no wrong.
The point is, Brenda, that that is not
the way to get married. No really good
girl ever does such a thing. I should
have had my mother and my friends to
see me make my vow. That is the only
right way your way, Brenda, the way
of your world. And, besides, I haven't
told you all. I am really his wife."
"What do you mean?"
"His wife from whom he was sepa
rated was abroad at the time," said
Elsie. "She died two days before my
marriage. That's why I called him
my husband all the way through the
Brenda was speechless for some sec
onds before the spectacle of this fatal
"I don't see that that-makes it any
worse." she said at last "Better, I
should say. Such a marriage can be
easily annulled. It does not even re
quire a divorce."
"It requires legal proceedings,", said
Elsie. "It means publicity and brand
ing. It means that Clarence Alden's
wife will be marked as a woman with
a past, with a romantic scandal attach
ed to her name. It would be bad
enough, Brenda, for him to marry me
anyway, but an actress, with that
story fastened to her! Well, you know
what all the world would say. No I
would rather die. I would rather he
should never know. I'd lie to him,
Brenda, if necessary—I have lied to
him, as you are aware—rather than he
should think me the sort of girl who,
on a hasty acquaintance with a man
about whom she knows nothing, would
run away to a strange city, trusting to
luck to be* married there."
Brenda kissed Elsie's hand again
"I'll tell you what, my dear," said
she "the fact is that you have brooded
over this matter until you are not quite
sane about it, I really mean what I
say. Now, this is my advice to yon:
Tell Mr. Alden this story just as soon
as you're strong enough to do it and"—
Elsie gripped her hand hard.
"I have told you this in confidence,"
she said. "Give me your solemn word
that you will never breathe one sylla
ble of it that you will help me in ev
ery way to conceal it! Promise!"
"The word and honor of one who
loves you, Elsie," Brenda answered.
"Whatever you wish I will do."
"You are so good to me!" said Elsie,
letting her head sink back into the pil
"There is one thing more," said Bren
da. "Did he, your husband, strike this
"Don't ask me that," cried Elsie. "I
can never tell you how I got this
wound. Think what a frightful bur
den that knowledge would be to you if
I should die."
JTO BE coNTiinjia.l
At a a in House
Stout Man (whose appetite has been,
the envy of his fellow boarders)—I de-i
elare I have three buttons off aayj^esf j,
Mistress of the House (who has been
eehing to give him a hint)—You will
probably find them, m.the.dining room,
sir. .•"" *i,4s£#
-1' Wo Doubt About It.**" "r':~
"How do you know it is rheuma-j
tism?" wsked his friend. "You haven't:
Been a doctbE."
"I know what it is, all right," replied'
the 'victim. "Rheumatism is one ofi
ftiese things that don't need an intro
duction." •. •.**:
A. good epitaph is all right In Its
place, but it comes so late.—Galveston
Wnen Uncle Sam makes better money tlian
GOLD COIN then somebody, ma^J^
make better flour than i^^Jr^
We quote Shorts at $ 3 per ton Bran at $12 per ton. 5
,THE LEADING INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE MAN. 9
I represent 25 of the largest and strongest Fire and Tornndo in
surance companies in the world. ":'"•••'?-','•,,
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Bonding fidelity, Employers' liability, accident, Ibaii and fife,
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I have some bargains iu Red River valley lamls in Minm-snta. The time to
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thousands of dollars for my clients. can make money lor you.
N Henningsen, Insurance & Real Estate, New Ulm.
«»My agency is one of he largest in he state.
Results are never in doubt
NEW ULM ROLLER MILL®
MAX BASS, F. I. WHITNEY,
Gen. Imm. Agt., Gen. Pass. & Tkt. Agt
220 S. Clark St. Chicago. St. Paul, Minn.
We wish to inform the public
Modern Woodmen of America, Indian
apolis, Ihdi, Jane 17th to 24th.
National -Educational Association,
Boston, July 6th to 10th.
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Saratoga
but not before!
lEagle Roller Mill C6.f
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any city making quality more ot a factor than quantity, and
wish our customers would bear this in mind.
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