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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

And Harwood took the afternoon train for Waupegan


"Well,"

said Allen impatiently.

"Well," Dan blurted contemptuously, "I think your father's stooped pretty low, that's all. You can tell him for me that if he's digging in the muck-pile for that sort of thing, I'm done with him; I'm not only done with him, but if he attempts to use any such stuff as that, I'll fight him; I will raise a war on him that won't be forgotten in this state through all eternity. You tell him that; tell him you told me your story and that's what I said about it."

"But, Dan, old man--" began Allen pleadingly.

Harwood shook his head until his cowlick bobbed and danced.

"You'd better get out of here, Allen. If you think you can marry Morton Bassett's daughter with that kind of a scandal in your pocket, I tell you you're mad--you've plumb gone insane! Great God, boy, you don't know the meaning of the words you use. You handle that thing like a child with a loaded pistol. Don't you see what that would mean--to Marian, to Blackford, to Mrs. Bassett--to Aunt Sally! Now, you want my advice, or you said you did, and I'm going to give you some. You go right down to that bank over there on the corner and buy a steamer ticket and a long letter of credit. Then take the first train for New York and go back to your mother and stay there till I send for you to come home. I mean that--every word of it. If you don't skip I'm damned if I don't

go to Bassett and tell him this whole rotten story."

Allen, the tears glistening in his frightened eyes, turned toward the door.

"Good-bye, Dan, old man; I'm sorry it had to end this way. I'm disappointed, that's all."

He paused after opening the door, hoping to be called back, but Harwood had walked to the window and stood with his hands in his pockets staring into the street.

CHAPTER XXIX

A SONG AND A FALLING STAR

This was on Friday, and Harwood took the afternoon train for Waupegan. He had found that when he was tired or lonely or troubled he craved the sight of Sylvia. Sylvia alone could restore his equanimity; Sylvia who worked hard but never complained of weariness; Sylvia who saw life steadily and saw it whole, where he caught only fitful, distorted glimpses. Yes; he must see Sylvia. Not only must he see her but there were things he meant to say to her.

He needed Sylvia. For several months he had been sure of that. He loved her and he meant to marry her. Since leaving college he had indulged in several more or less ardent flirtations, but they had ended harmlessly; it was very different with Sylvia! He had realized all that spring that she was becoming increasingly necessary to him; he needed her solace and her inspiration. He thrust one or two new books on the prevailing social unrest into his suit case and added a box of candy, smiling at the combination. Sylvia with all her ideals was still so beautifully human. She was quite capable of nibbling bon-bons to the accompaniment of a vivacious discussion of the sorrows of the world--he had seen her do just that! With her ideals of life and service, she would not be easily won; but he was in the race to win. Yes, there were things he meant to say to Sylvia, and in the tedious journey through the hot afternoon to Waupegan he formulated them and visualized the situations in which he should utter them.


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