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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Thatcher had built an expensive house


must have been well taught if you are ready for college so early; you are--you say you're older than Marian--do you mind my asking how old you ate?"

"Nearly seventeen; seventeen in October."

"Oh! Then you are four years older than Marian. But I mustn't keep you here. Please remember me to Mrs. Owen and tell her I'll drop in before I go." He bent over the gate and put out his hand. "Good-night, Miss Garrison!"

Sylvia had never been called Miss Garrison before, and it was not without trepidation that she heard herself so addressed. Mr. Bassett had spoken the name gravely, and their eyes met again in lingering contact. When the door closed upon her he walked on rapidly; but once, before the trees had obscured Mrs. Owen's lights, he turned and glanced back.



One night in this same June, Harwood was directed by the city editor of the "Courier" to find Mr. Edward G. Thatcher. Two reporters had failed at it, and it was desirable to verify reports as to certain transactions by which Thatcher, in conjunction with Morton Bassett, was believed to be effecting a merger of various glass-manufacturing interests. Thatcher had begun life as a brewer, but this would long since have been obscured by the broadening

currents of fortune if it had not been for his persistent dabbling in politics. Whenever the Republican press was at a loss for something to attack, Thatcher's breweries--which he had concealed in a corporation that did not bear his name were an inviting and unfailing target. For years, though never seeking office, he had been a silent factor in politics, and he and Bassett, it was said, controlled their party. Mrs. Thatcher had built an expensive house, but fearing that the money her husband generously supplied was tainted by the remote beer vats, she and her two daughters spent most of their time in Europe, giving, however, as their reason the ill-health of Thatcher's son. Thatcher's income was large and he spent it in his own fashion. He made long journeys to witness prize fights; he had the reputation of being a poor poker player, but "a good loser"; he kept a racing-stable that lost money, and he was a patron of baseball and owned stock in the local club. He was "a good fellow" in a sense of the phrase that requires quotation marks. Mrs. Sally Owen, whose opinion in all matters pertaining to her fellow citizens is not to be slighted, fearlessly asked Thatcher to dinner at her house. She expressed her unfavorable opinion of his family for deserting him, and told him to his face that a man who knew as little about horses as he did should have a guardian.

"He's in town somewhere," said the city editor; "don't come back and tell me you can't find him. Try the Country Club, where he was never known to go, and the University Club, where he doesn't belong, and all the other unlikely places you can think of. The other boys have thrown up their hands."

Dan had several times been fortunate in like quests for men in hiding, and he had that confidence in his luck which is part of the good reporter's endowment. He called all the clubs and the Thatcher residence by telephone. The clubs denied all knowledge of Edward G. Thatcher, and his residence answered not at all; whereupon Harwood took the trolley for the Thatcher mansion in the new quarter of Meridian Street beyond the peaceful shores of Fall Creek. A humorist who described the passing show from the stern of a rubber-neck wagon for the instruction of tourists announced on every round that "This is Edward G. Thatcher's residence; it contains twelve bath-rooms, and cost seventy-five thousand dollars four years ago. The family have lived in it three months. Does it pay to be rich?"

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