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About The Oregon statesman. (Salem, Or.) 1916-1980 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 8, 1930)
The OREGON STATESMAN. Sifem. Ornn W, Morning, January 8, 1930
in order to give you a chance to
blackmail Alan by threatening di
vorce." "My dear, you stress the word
blackmail because you are out of
temper, that's all. With a little
carefulness you can prove that
any form of pressure put upon
one human being by another is a
form of blackmail. But need we
quarrel over a metaphysical subtlety?"
vve need not quarrel aver
anything, Roger. But nor need
we talk about anything. I was go
ing to keep an appointment when
you stopped me."
Her words produced an unex
"Shirley!" His voice broke and
he caught her convulsively by the
arm. "Shirley, you aren't going
to desert me? You won't let
Brennaway oh, you couldn't!
'Buty my dear girl surely it cannot be that you took
my letter at its face value?"
IT the sight of Roger had sur
prised Shirley, his first words
"It's quite all right." he said
assuringly. "We don't run the
slightest risk by meeting, but it
would be just as well not to enter
any building together. If we ro
ahead we can take a bench in the
park. We can talk there."
"Why haye you come why
what is there to talk about? Ob
viously you will not take my word
about anything.'-' faltered Shirley.
"Fine!" said Kelton and chuck
led.f It was the first time she had
ever heard him chuckle. "Bat
there's no need really, I am pretty
sure Brennaway is not having me
watched. And we don't want to
make ourselves the center of Idle
attention. Let us just talk about
the weather until we're sure we're
To Shirley bis words were
meaningless, though she knew
they meant something. Roger's
very presence was meaningless,
bis - strange air of contentment
when by everything that was sane
believing her to be another
man's mistress he should be an
gry or at least contemptuous.
Through sheer inanition she
walked by his side while he hoped
that she had had a pleasant jour
iney and revealed that he himself
had been on the same train.
He was giving her details of
how he had managed to follow her
taxi. The details made no impres
sion, but the tone in which he re
counted them made a deep im
pression. He had the air of wait
ing for her congratulations of his
Presently they had turned to a
quiet corner of the Square, and
"Roger, please stop talking!"
he exclaimed. "I don't know
whether you have been talking for
mere talking's sake. But I'm still
waiting to know why you have
spoken to me."
Wee JJOt to-u-l , nTer
"teamed for a moment you would
fall to read between the lines of
that letter. As you read it, I've
Insulted you and I'm most des
Shirley looked at him with a
contempt not far removed from
pity. She disengaged her arm.
"Roger, I've given you all the
money I had. I can't do any more
for you. I want the few things
I had that were of any value and
I will send for them. If I can help
you in any way I would still do
so. but I cannot. If I had another
fifty thousand dollars or could
borrow it, I would give it to you.
As It is I can do nothing."
"But Brennaway you don't
mean to say he's going to let the
action come into court? Don't
you see he'll take steps to prevent
It in his own way if he thinks you
are Indifferent. Tou must beg him
not to let your name be dragged
through the mire, then I can
make terms with him I'm not
going to blackmail him I don't
want to extort anything from him
I only want safety in all con
science it's little enough to ask."
"You needn't be so frightened,
Roger," she said, really wishing
that she could comfort him a lit
tle as well as save herself from
the degrading spectacle of his
fear. "Alan isn't at all spiteful.
He won't take any steps against
That calmed him considerably.
"I, don't want to parade my own
misfortunes and please don't
thick I'm 'nursing a grievance
against you, Shirley, he said.
"Bat you gave me the wrong cue
by staying the night there. All
this has so upset me that I find
it very difficult to concentrate my
attention." Shirley groaned at the
oft repeated formula. "Tou must
give me a lead. Do you think the
best thing would be to write to
Brennaway and say that I have
seen you and accepted your expla
nation and withdraw the threat
of an action?"
Shirley felt 'as If her heart had
missed a beat. Here was her cris
is, she must tread with the ut
most care. If she were to advise
him to withdraw from the action
in hi9 present state of mind, he
would almost certainly accept the
On the other hand, she could
never look Alan in the face again
It at this stage of their relation
ship she were deliberately to
strive for divorce.
"I can't advise you one way or
the other about the action," she
said shortly. "That is your own
'''Tou can at least tell me this.
If you really wish to help me
does Brennaway Intend to content
himself with an ordinary defense
"No. He does not intend to de
fend It at alll." she told him.
"Ah!" He clutched at his chin.
There was a short silence and
"Just a minute, Shirley. I feel
as if mists were clearing and, as
it were, revealing fresh mists.
When you stayed tht night at the
cottage you did not apparently ex
pect me to take steps for a di
vorce. Why, then, did you stay the
night at the cottage?"
Shirley hesitated. It would be
easy enough to say that the mag
neto was broken and leave it at
that. She could lie if the need
arose but It would have to be to
a man like Alan, someone strong
er than herself who was crushing
her. She could not condescend to
lie to Roger.
"I told you why I went to the
cottage," she answered. "I went
to pay your debts. Knowing that
my nerve would probably fail. I
smashed the magneto so that I
could not get baek in the car. He
did not want to debt paid like
that that is all."
"He didnt want to be made co
respondent," said Kelton, with a
smile that showed his teeth and
made him look like an animal. "I
know well enough what he want
ed. He thought he had got me un
der his thumb the prince of
commerce wanted a morganatic
wife, he's going to have a fully
legal wife when the decree Is
"I always suspected you two in
tended to fool me." he continued,
his voice high-pitched and angry,
"but I'm not quite so brainless
as you imagine. He can put me
in prison tomorrow but he can't
stop my carrying on with the ac
tion and if he does put me in
prison he'll declare to the world
that he bought his wife.
"Thanks for our little talk, my
dear. It's probably the last we
shall ever have, and I feel sure
you will be gratified to know that
it has been of such assistance to
me. I think you said you had an
He was walking away and she
watched his retreating figure
without the faintest flicker ef
"He is vulgar at best I won
der I have never recognised that.
Sb SlTiiei yrltU y&st relief,
theli "hurried off to see ler law
It took Shirley two days to put
her financial affairs in order.
During that time she felt the first
definite need of Alan's society.
But the lawyer had proved ade
quate and there was no point up
on which she could legitimately
ask Alan's advice. Business apart,
it would be for htm to seek her
out if he wished to see her.
She was disappointed when the
first day passed on and no mes
sage came from him, but was
wholly convinced that it was in
no sense a personal disappoint
ment. She needed an antidote to
her interview with Roger.
By the last post on the second
day there came a letter in his
"Dear Shirley," she read. "I
have taken a furnished flat, ad
dress as above, and if you are still
Interested in Macedonian Devel
opments I should be glad to go in
to the Question with you at any
time you care to come. Alan."
(To be continued tomorrow.)
He stopped shor tand stared at
"But, my dear girl surely it
cannot be that you took my letter
at Its face value?"
There was no doubt about the
genuineness of his surprise.
"I don't know what you mean.
lour letter seemed perfectly
clear. I know you have a good
case legally and I don't ask you
to believe my statement that ac
tually 'there was no reason at all
w4y you should divorce me."
"But of course I believe there's
no reason!" he almost shouted at
"Oh I" It was a tiny moan and
he had not heard it. It was drawn
from her by nothing other than
the sudden dread that the new
life that was opening up before
her should be cut off. At that
moment of self-revelation she
could admit to herself that she
did mot want to be "forgiven"
by Roger, above all, did not want
to resuscitate their married life.
"I still don't understand." she
said firmly. "If you believe that
there is nothing between Alan and
me that there ought not to be
why are you bringing this action
He drew his fingertips across
his forehead It was his gesture
"I must confess Shirley, that I
thought yon would take your cue
from that letter. As it is, you
have rather shaken me up. I
don't know that It, I'm not
quite sure how I stand. I had
touch of suspicion when Carter
Came back and said that your
magneto was broken."
"Suspicion of what?" she asked
"That your spending 'the night
there was an accident. I thought
at first that it was the most bril
liant piece of finesse imaginable.
But in view of "
"I understand now, thank you,"
snapped Shirley. "You need not
go on explaining. You thought I
had deliberately stayed the night
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