Newspaper Page Text
HARRIET PIPER By KATHLEEN NORRIS Copyright by Kathleen Norris “I MEAN MARRIAGE." Synopsis.—Harriet Field, twenty eight years old, and beautiful, is the social secretary of the flirta tious Mrs. Isabel Carter. at ••Crownlands." Richard Carter's home, and governess of seven teen year-old Nina Carter. Ward, twen ty-four years old and impression able, fancies himself in love with his mother’s attractive secretary. Mrs. Carter’s latest ’•affair" is with young Anthony Pope, and the youth is taking it very seriously. Presiding over the teacups this summer afternoon, Harriet is pro foundly disturbed by the arrival of a visitor, Royal Blondin. Next day, at a tea party in the city, Blondin makes himself agreeable to Nina, and leaves a deep Impres sion on the unsophisticated girl. Harriet’s agitation over the appear ance of Blondin at “Crownlands" Is explained by the fact that he had been a disturbing element In her life ten yea,s before and she fears him. The man Is an avowed adventurer, living on the gullibility of the Idle rich. He frankly an nounces to Harriet his intention of marrying Nina, and urges her to aid him. She is in a sense in his power, and after pleading with him to abandon his scheme agrees to follow a policy of neutrality. Knowing the tender feeling she has Inspired in Ward Carter, Harriet is tempted to marry him for the position and wealth he can give her, though realizing she does not love him. Blondin has ingratiated himself with Madame Carter, Rich ard’s mother, and she is whole heartedly in favor of his marriage with Nina. Ward urges Harriet to marry him. She procrastinates. Mrs. Carter elopes with Pope. Blon din threatens Harriet. She prays to do what is right. Blondin and Harriet agree to keep silent about their past relations. CHAPTER IX—Continued. “Your devotion to my son and his family is extremely praiseworthy,” said Madame Carter, coldly. “But, as Mrs. Tabor, who Is of course a woman of the world, and comes of a very fine family she was a Klngdon, the Charleston family—as Mrs. Tabor was saying, Richard is just the sort of chivalrous, splendid man who Is per fectly helpless In his own house 1” Harriet smiled, with a touch of scorn. “When Mr. Carter is dissatisfied with me, Madame Carter, I shall of course consider myself dismissed. But until that time I am very glad to make his own house comfortable for him.” The hard, angry color of old age had been rising in Madame Carter’s face during this speech, and now she was quite obviously enraged. “You are hardly In a position to dictate to me in this matter!” she said, shaking. Harriet watched her gravely as she rose from her chair, made a few restless turns about the room, opened and shut bureau drawers, dropped and plucked up handker chiefs and newspapers. In a dead si lence the girl asked: “Was that all?” A sort of sniff was the answer. Har riet sighed as she entered her own suite to find Nina and Amy compla cently dressing themselves for the afternoon’s run. “We’re going to Easthampton, Miss Harriet; Granny said it* was all right,” Nina said, in great spirits. “I know Wi l fl 1 MH BO !. iiw She Would Not Yield to Any Nursery Control Before Amy! ■you won’t feel hurt, because the car simply won’t accommodate more than five, and it’s too long a run to sit on laps—” “But, dearie child," Harriet said, in her friendliest manner. “I don’t be lieve you had better do that! You're all pretty young, in case anything oc curred —” A mutinous line marked Nina’s ba byish mouth. She would not yield to any nursery control before Amy! “Anyway, I’m going!” she muttered, lacing her high white buckskin shoes, with some shortening of breath. “Granny says a girl’s brother—” Harriet paid no further attention to them, and the two developed a splen did case for themselves. But she went down to find Ward, and took him par tially into her confidence. Would he please be a darling, and see that there was no nonsense? She could not well cross his grandmother and Nina with out his father to back her. Would he promise her that they would be home by ten o’clock, at latest. Somewhat comforted by Ward’s af fectionate loyalty, Harriet went up to dress for the one o’clock luncheon, and while she was dressing a new idea came to her. For a few minutes she shook her head, stood thinking, with a face of distaste. “I could do that!” she said aloud. And she picked up the gingham dress that she had laid on the bed. But there was a prettier dress in Harriet’s wardrobe, a gift from Isa belle, that she had never worn. It was a flowered silk of mull, of a soft deep blue that was exactly the color of Harriet’s eyes, and at the throat and wrists it had frills of transparent lace. The soft ruffles that made the skirt were cunningly edged with black, and there was a great open pink rose at the belt. Harriet put on this enchanting gar ment, and as she did so she felt some half-forgotten power rise strong with in her. There was one trump in her hand that she had never thought to play in a game with Nina Carter, but she was glad to find It now. At half-past two o’clock the car was at the side door, and Nina and Amy came downstairs with their wraps, and Saunders and Ward ran about laughing and confusing things. Blon din watched the performance lazily from a basket chair on the porch, but when Nina called him a half-laughing, half-daring, “We’re ready, Mr. Blon din!” he sauntered down to the car with his pleasantest expression, but with the regretful statement that he was not going: a vicious headache had developed since luncheon. Whatever the effect on Amy and the young men, to Nina this was a stag gering blow. She had triumphed all through luncheon, had laughed aud chattered, had made Ward telephone a dinner reservation for five, and had assumed a hundred coquettish airs. Now all this crumpled, faded away, and Harriet knew, as she stood be side the car looking down at the folded light rug on her arm, that she was ready to cry. “No, you’ll have a far nicer time without me,” said Royal, throwing away his cigarette, and resting one arm on the car. “I wouldn’t Interfere, because I knew you’d all give it up! You just all have a perfectly wonder ful time, and I’ll be down next week end and hear about It!” Nina stood irresolute; too choked with sudden disappointment to risk her voice. It was all hateful, madden ing, horrible! Those two boys and Amy—ah, there would be no “fun” now I She loathed Amy, getting In so briskly, and saying. “Come on, Nina!” She hated Ward, she wished that they were all dead, and herself, too. The storm came at Good Ground, and they all had to scramble with cur tains, “smelly" curtains, Nina called them. And the dinner was eaten in warm, sticky half-darkness on a hotel porch, with horrible music making a horrible racket, according to the same authority. Saunders and Amy held hands all the way home, too, and Nina thought it was disgusting; everyone was too tired to talk, they bounced along silently and crossly. And upon getting home. Miss Har riet came out of the shadows on the porch, looking perfectly exquisite in her new gown, sweetly interested and cheerful. She said that she was so sorry the dinner was poor, they had had such a nice dinner at home, and that she had had a talk with their father, and they were to go back to Crownlands next week. Nina did not see Blondin; for the first time in her life she cried herself to sleep. Harriet had assuredly triumphed, but it was on terms that for more than one reason did not entirely please her. Richard, finding the pretty secretary prettier than ever in her blue gown, and warmed by a re laxed day at the club and a mood of friendliness, had specifically instruct ed her that she was to dine with the family on all occasions, and to dress Us the others did, and to regard her self as “a member of the family." And this, Harriet was quick to realize, placed her in a peculiar position, made difficult by Richard’s kindly cham pioning no less than his mother’s hos tility, by the adoring sympathy of the servants, and the affectionate famil iarities of the Carter children. Rich ard’s friends took their cue from him, as was natural, and In the first early winter dinner parties at Crownlands Harriet could not but sparkle and lead; she had reached her own level at last. A sense of well-being and happiness began to envelop Richard Carter for the first time In many years. He was conscious of a desire to express his appreciation to Miss Field. It was natural that this should take the form of money: a little present. In the form of a check. She had a sister who was not rich; she would like to go home with laden hands. But the question was, how much? He was musing over this very point and other matters of deeper moment one morning when Harriet herself came in. She returned his smile with her usual bright nod, but he thought she looked pale and troubled. “Mr. Carter,” she said, bravely going to the point, “do you think Nina is able, with your mother’s help, to man age your house?” Richard looked at her silently for perhaps two minutes. Then he said, quietly: “Mr. Blondin, eh?” The girl looked bewildered. “My mother has given me a hint, in deed I’ve seen, that he would want to take you away from us!” Richard said. Harriet, without any show of emo tion, looked down, and was silent in Ife JI El “So You've Refused Ward, Have You?” her turn. But it was not, he saw with sui prise, the silence of confusion. On the contrary, she seemed simply a little thoughtful and puzzled. “Mr. Carter,” she said presently, “I have reason to believe that Mr. Blon din would be a very bad husband for Nina. I had no scruple in—in divert ing his thoughts. But if he was the only man in the world” —and to his surprise, she slowly got to her feet, and spoke as if to herself, her eyes fixed far away—“l would sooner kill him than marry him!” she said. Richard sat genuinely dumfounded. Her beauty, her assurance, and the cleverness with which she had man aged that Blondin’s allegiance should be temporarily shifted from his own daughter, held him mute. It was with the charm of watching perfect acting that he followed this extremely amus ing and unexpected woman. “I confess that I am glad to hear it!” he said, dryly. “Nina Is very angry at me,” Harriet said. "Well, I have to stand that 1” And she gave,Nina’s father a whim sical and friendly look. “But what then?” Richard asked. Harriet immediately became serious again. q “But this,” she said, “you know your mother is right. You’re all too kind to me; I am really a member of the family. I love it. I love to dress for dinner, and order the car, and charge things to your accounts! But —it’s not possible. You see that?” Richard was quietly looking down. Now he made several parallel lines with a pencil before he looked up. “No. I don’t see that!” “Mary—Mrs. Putnam, for instance, who is very fond of me, and Mrs. Jay. They want to ask me to dinner—to Christmas parties—and they’re not quite comfortable about it. I am not a member of your family even though you are kind enough to treat me as one. I am a paid’ employee, and Mad ame Carter naturally resents their treating me as anything else. But most of all,” said Harriet, seeing that she was not making headway, “it’s my self. Nina, and your mother, and Mrs. Tabor—it’s Just a hint here and there— nothing at all! But It undermines my position. I dress, I entertain your friends, I Join you In town; it makes talk. And I can’t —I can’t—” She stood up and turned her back on him proudly, and he knew that she was crying. “Just h minute,” Richard said, find ing himself more shaken than he would have believed. “It Is —you’re sure it Isn’t Blondin?” “Royal Blondin 1 No, It’s more seri ous," Harriet said. "It means constant Irritation for your mother. It means that she is always in a state of exas peration. I think —I don’t know, but I have reason to think—that she made It a choice, for Mary Putnam, between us!’’ “She has no right t| do that,” said Richard, soberly. ‘Tm not —you know that!—-criticis ing,” Harriet said. The man sighed, and tossed a few papers on his desk. “Sometimes 1 have hoped," he be gan, on a fresh track, “that you and the boy might fancy each other. I’m not satisfied with Ward. He needs an anchor. That would be a solution for us all!" It was a random shot, but to his surprise she flushed brightly. “Ward knows that there is no chance of that," she said, quickly, “dearly as I love him !" Richard’s eyes widened with whim sical amusement again. “So you’ve refused Ward, have you?” “Long ago," she answ’ered simply. The man laughed; but a moment later his face grew dark and troubled again as he said: “I hardly know what to do! The girl is the first consideration, of course, and she needs you. I feel that she Is not only safe, but happy, when you are here. I’ve unfortunately reached a place where I’ve got to feel free. You’ve heard us all talk of this new asbestos merger—my dear girl, that will keep me going like a slave for months, perhaps years! I won’t know when I am to be home, or what I shall have to cancel. I suppose I can’t convince you how badly we need you. My mother—well, she has always taken life that way; she can’t change now. I shall have Ida Tabor as a fix ture here, I suppose, Nina running wild. Ward never home! You —you give me exactly what I want here! Good dinners, fires, hospitaJlty, a good report from Nina and Ward; I can bring men home, I can— ’’ He mused, with a smile touching his fine, tired face. “In short, I wish there was some fortunate young man somewhere to make you Mrs. Smith or Jones, Miss Field, and let you come back to the Carters immediately again!” Harriet laughed, sighed sharply Im mediately upon the laugh. “Unfortunately, there Isn’t such a man," she said. And she added, “Even a widow, sometimes, is vulnerably.” Richard smiled, but some sudden thought made the smile but an absent one, and he sat quite obviously plunged In meditation for a long minute. “Here’s another suggestion. Miss Field," he said suddenly, looking up. “I don’t know how this will strike you; it has occurred to me before. Gardiner hinted it—or I thought he did, and the more I think of it the more possible it seems. You are a business woman and I am a business man. You know exactly what I am, exactly what occurred In my married life, after twenty-two years. That— that sort of thing Is oyer, of course. But there is that way of settling It, if you care to consider it —’’ He paused, with a questioning look of encouragement, embarrassment and affectionate Interest. Harriet had grown pale and had fixed her eyes upon his as if under a spell. “You mean—” Her voice failed her. “I mean marriage. I mean that you and I shall quietly get married In a few weeks, when I am free," he an swered. “I have just indicated to you what it would mean to me. I hope,” he added, watching her closely, as she sat stunned and silent, “I hope that it would also have its advantages to you. Your position then would be unques tionable, my mother—Nina—the world, would have nothing to say. Your in fluence on Ward is the one thing that may save the boy. Os Nina we’ve already spoken. My mother —I know her! —would Immediately become the champion of her son’s wife. There would be n three days’ buzzing—that would end it!” The swift uprushlng of joy in Har riet’s heart was accompanied with the first agonies of renunciation, was per haps all the more poignantly sweet because of them. She had not come to this hour without knowing what he meant to her, this quiet man with the splendid mouth and the keen gray eyes, and she trembled now with an exquisite emotion that seemed to drown out all the past and ail the.fu ture—everything except that she loved him and he needed her! But when she spoke it was as coolly as he: “Mr. Carter —what of your wife?” His eyes met hers wearily. “Divorce proceedings were insti tuted immediately It was definitely es tablished she had gone with young Pope. The decree will be absolute." “But that will not—cannot alter the situation —" Harriet faltered. “You mean—” the man hesitated, “you mean you—that you regard me as married still?" Harriet, mute with emotions abso lutely overpowering, nodded without speaking. “Will you—will you let me think about it?” she faltered. A sudden brightness came into his face. “You know how I was brought up to think of divorce,” she went on pleadingly. “I’ve made plenty of mistakes In my life, but I’ve never deliberately done what 1 felt was wrong." “And this would be?" Richard asked slowly. “Well—l haven't thought about it I” sire answered slowly. “My people my sister and her husband— would say so! I—l would have said so of some other woman!" “This would not be an ordinary marriage: you wbuld be entirely your own mistress," Richard said, with quiet significance. “It would be a marriage only in the eyes of the world.” “I see," she said. “I—l must have time to think about it!” “As long as you like!" She had risen, and now he rose, too, and went with her to the library door and opened It for her. “When you decide come and tell me," he said, bowing. She turned to give him a parting smile, with a desperate wish to tell him half the honor and joy she would feel in taking his name, in sharing his responsibilities, but the pleasantly im personal nod he gave her chilled the words unspoken. Harriet fled to her room. “My chance," she whispered, press ing her cold finger tips to her hot cheeks, “my chance at last—and I can’t take it! No, I can’t take it—l don’t care what his world does or thinks—my world doesn’t permit It! No—l can’t. Not a divorced man, not a man with u living wife! I’ve been a fool—l’ve been wrong, plenty of times, but I’ve never committed my self to folly and wrong!" She stared blindly ahead of her. After a while she spoke again, half aloud: “Oh, but why does It have to be this way! If I could go to him, tell him what he means to me, if we were poor—ls we could take a little place next to Linda—never to see Nina or his mother or Ward or Roy again— Oh, what heaven! How I should love it, planning for things together, as Linda and Fred did, having him come home to me every night! “But it isn’t that way,” Harriet sud denly recalled herself sensibly, “and it is folly even to think about It! He is a rich man, and a married man, and that ends It. That ends it.” A great desolation swept her spirit. She fell from bitter musing to weaken ing. The law permitted It, after all. Plenty of good women had shown her the way. The family needed her; she might do good here. And above all, she loved him. She heard a stirring in the bed room. “What time is it, Rosa?" she called, suddenly aware of weakness and fatigue. “My goodness, how you frightened ma, Miss Field! It’s just noon." “Do you happen to know if Mr. Car ter is still downstairs?” “Yes’m, he Is; he’s expecting Mr. Fox to come.” Harriet smoothed her tumbled hair and went slowly downstairs. “But I love him!” she said, sud denly standing still on the landing, "(kSv illff ill ’ f! I b 1 *y ijw v ii “I Love Him With All My Soul!" to look out at the softly falling snow with brimming eyes, “i love him with all my soul!’’ A moment later she knocked nt the library door, opened it In answer to his call and went In, closing it be hind her. “My wife lsabelle died yesterday on an operating table in Paris." (TO BE CONTINUED.) Who’s Who? The child, the pride of the neighbor hood because of his keen Intelligence, was left to play nt the home of a neigh bor. There was something different about this home that seemed to attract the child more than any other. Here he was amused by an elderly man, who r?nd, played the piano, slept and did nothing to mark him as the head of a household. His wife on the other hand carried on a successful depart ment store where she spent twelve of the twenty-four hours. This condition seemed quite con trary to the child’s conception of domestic life. To him the duty of the head of the house was to leave after breakfast for business and return at night to dinner, while the wife was to stop at home and attend to the house hold duties. The child’s mother re turned and noticed that the child looked puzzled, but could not put his query Into words. Finally he asked: “Mother, is she a he?"—New York Sun. Watch Your Weight Medical men all agree that in a great number of cases It would be of valuable assistance to them if pa tients could produce a weight record when going for advice. Often it Is Impossible for a diagnosis to be giver until a patient lias tested his or h«- weight for a certain length nt* time WEDNESDAY, JUNE /Che. American f ?L T , hta p«P<rtm«nt Supplied by th« American Legion New Service j V REGARD FOR HEROES’ WISHES Judge Neterer of Seattle Hold, R, queet of Soldier Killed In War Demand, Flrrt Consideration. I, the last wish of a soldier dying on the field of battle more to be re spected than legal forms decked out with sealing wax? The American Legion thinks It Is. Recent cases be fore the courts have brought the quo tlon to the front. According to Federal Judge Neterer of Seattle, the wish of » soldier killed In battle Is higher law than any departmental regulation. Ac cording to this decision Agnes Classy Blxteen-year old niece of Clarence Swank, Is awarded the residue of Swank's estate, amounting to $9,000 Swank was killed In France. Depart mental red tape cluttered up the rase on account of the death of Swank s mother, the original beneficiary. In handing down his decision Judge Neterer cited precedents extending back to the days of Caesar and the legionnaires of ancient Rome. The latest case Is that of Miss Elenore It. Knapp of New York, whose claim to the estate of Ernest Churl ton Mason of the One Hundred and Sixth United States Infantry has been contested by Mason's uncle. In a muddy dugout before a general ad vance against the Germans. Mason told his buddle. Oscar Westgate, the story of his engagement, and added that he now felt that In this advance he was slated to “go West.” “If 1 don’t come through this,” he said, as they started over the top, “I want El enore to have all my estate." Mason, among others, was cut oft and captured by the Germans. They were taken to the same prison camp. For ten days, a bunkle testified. Mason lay 111 on the ground with Influenza Then he was taken away In an ambu lance and his death reported. Event ually a death certificate was Issued by the United States government. But the attorneys for Mason's uncle con tested the case to the extent of argu Ing that the “proof of death" was un satisfactory. The justice of the soldier's latest will has been upheld In startling sash lon by the highest courts of England recently. An English major of In fantry died alone In his lodgings In London directly after the armistice He left no legal will. Across the front of a photograph of his fiance he had hastily scrawled: “All to her' The case was brought before the high eat tribunal of England and the “will stood. TABLET GRACES LEGION SHIP Bronze Piece In Main Dining Saloon Engraved With Dedication by National Commander. The steamship “American Legion” the Munson lines, sailing between New York and Buenos Aires with an American Legion crew, now bears In Its main dining saloon a bronze tablet - ■ IP warms m a«h mtiku utvt tiitus* akwcac WCI Ute IIILIL ilcc 'Sit huh NN' 4u<k 6M.ifw.tti it tut .'HNWI lull M--tttiKlite. 'LIUS* tkt rttfi fteHli sis till \ iiuMiiti, it u turn tiatctiuo ' 7.ILU (lil't’l. ISIMIiU CjL\ IttH IMIU ; wu/.tC' ,• 1 .»<•«« (•'. JUUI-J.Y HAViOk'Al. i ’ JiiiV ’ “American Legion" Steamship Tablet, engraved with a dedication signed by the national commander of the Legion. The formal presentation of tl><* tablet was made in the presence <>f the New York and New Jersey officials of the Legion and two hundred guests Send Diseased Poultry to France The Germans are inoculating with cholera the fowls fhey are delivering the French under the reparations agreements, according to French biolo gists. It was noticed that the poultry sent In from Germany soon died. Prompt inquests on the dead fowH disclosed the cholera germ. The Pari* 4 Matin, one of the greatest Fren< *> newspapers, calls for a government in vestigatlon. Pending. “Weil, want to marry my daughter, I suppose?" snapped the grouchy mil ilonalre as he glowered at the tin.i*' youth. Adjusting his glasses he added “By the way, aren’t you one of my daughter’s former suitors?" “N-o-no sir," faltered the cheerless one, “but I expect I soon will be."— American Legton Weekly.