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An Encore by Margaret Wade Campbell Deland

[Illustration: [See page 4

WHEN ALFRED PRICE FELL IN LOVE WITH MISS LETTY MORRIS]

An Encore

BY

MARGARET DELAND

AUTHOR OF

"THE AWAKENING OF HELENA RICHIE" "DR. LAVENDER'S PEOPLE" "OLD CHESTER TALES" ETC. ETC.

ILLUSTRATED BY ALICE BARBER STEPHENS

NEW YORK AND LONDON HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS MCMVII

Copyright, 1904, 1907, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

_All rights reserved._ Published October, 1907.

Illustrations

"WHEN ALFRED PRICE FELL IN LOVE WITH MISS LETTY MORRIS" _Frontispiece_

"THE CAPTAIN AND CYRUS WERE AFRAID OF GUSSIE" _Facing p_ 18

"THERE WAS A LITTLE SILENCE, AND THEN DR. LAVENDER BEGAN" " 76

An Encore

According to Old Chester, to be romantic was just one shade less reprehensible than to put on airs. Captain Alfred Price, in all his seventy years, had never been guilty of putting on airs, but certainly he had something to answer for in the way of romance.

However, in the days when we children used to see him pounding up the street from the post-office, reading, as he walked, a newspaper held at arm's-length in front of him, he was far enough from romance. He was seventy years old, he weighed over two hundred pounds, his big head was covered with a shock of grizzled red hair; his pleasures consisted in polishing his old sextant and playing on a small mouth-harmonicon. As to his vices, it was no secret that he kept a fat black bottle in the chimney-closet in his own room, and occasionally he swore strange oaths about his grandmother's nightcap. "He used to blaspheme," his daughter-in-law said; "but I said, 'Not in my presence, if you please!' So now he just says this foolish thing about a nightcap." Mrs. Drayton said that this reform would be one of the jewels in Mrs. Cyrus Price's crown; and added that she prayed that some day the Captain would give up tobacco and _rum_. "I am a poor, feeble creature," said Mrs. Drayton; "I cannot do much for my fellow-men in active mission-work,--but I give my prayers." However, neither Mrs. Drayton's prayers nor Mrs. Cyrus's active mission-work had done more than mitigate the blasphemy; the "rum" (which was good Monongahela whiskey) was still on hand; and as for tobacco, except when sleeping, eating, playing on his harmonicon, or dozing through one of Dr. Lavendar's sermons, the Captain smoked every moment, the ashes of his pipe or cigar falling unheeded on a vast and wrinkled expanse of waistcoat.

No; he was not a romantic object. But we girls, watching him stump past the school-room window to the post-office, used to whisper to one another, "Just think! _he eloped._"

There was romance for you!

To be sure, the elopement had not quite come off, but except for the very end, it was all as perfect as a story. Indeed, the failure at the end made it all the better: angry parents, broken hearts--only, the worst of it was, the hearts did not stay broken! He went and married somebody else; and so did she. You would have supposed she would have died. I am sure, in her place, any one of us would have died. And yet, as Lydia Wright said, "How could a young lady die for a young gentleman with ashes all over his waistcoat?"


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