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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Madison needs no praise from me


Your granddaughter has reached an age at which her maintenance and education require serious consideration. A friend who cannot be known in the matter wishes to provide a sum of money to be held and expended by you for her benefit. No obligations of any sort will be incurred by you in accepting this offer. It is hardly conceivable that you will decline it, though it is quite optional with you to do so. It will not, however, be repeated.

Kindly designate by a verbal "Yes" or "No" to the bearer whether you accept or decline. The messenger is a stranger to the person making the offer and the contents of this communication are unknown to him. If you wish to avail yourself of this gift, the amount will be paid in cash immediately, and it is suggested that you refrain from mentioning the matter to your granddaughter in any way.

Professor Kelton had given his answer to the messenger unhesitatingly, and the trouble reflected in his dark eyes was not due, we may assume, to any regret for his negative reply, but to the jangling of old, harsh chords of memory. He crossed and recrossed the room, lost in reverie; then paused at his desk and tore the letter once across with the evident intention of destroying it; but he hesitated, changed his mind, and carried it to his bedroom. There he took from a closet shelf a battered tin box marked "A. Kelton, U.S.N." which

contained his commissions in the Navy. He sat down on the bed, folded the letter the long way of the sheet and indorsed it in pencil: "Declined." Then he slipped it under the faded tape that bound the official papers together, and locked and replaced the box.

Sylvia meanwhile had found the review article noted on her grandfather's memorandum, and leaving a receipt with the librarian started home with the book under her arm. Halfway across the campus she met her grandfather's caller, hurrying townward. He lifted his hat, and Sylvia paused a moment to ask if he had found her grandfather.

"Yes; thank you. My business didn't take much time, you see. I'm sorry I put you to so much bother."

"Oh, that was nothing."

"Is that new building the college library?"

"Yes," replied Sylvia. "Are you a Madison man?"

"No. I was never here before. I went to a very different college and"--he hesitated--"a little bigger one."

"I suppose there are bigger colleges," Sylvia remarked, with the slightest accent on the adjective.

The young man laughed.

"That's the right spirit! Madison needs no praise from me; it speaks for itself. Is this the nearest way to the station?"

It had been on Sylvia's tongue to ask him the name of his college, but he had perhaps read this inquiry in her eyes, and as though suddenly roused by the remembrance of the secrecy that had been imposed upon him, he moved on.


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