Vernonia eagle. (Vernonia, Or.) 1922-1974, July 26, 1935, Image 3

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Oopyrtrbt by Kathleen Norrie
WNU B»r»toe
Th* luck that had brought the
Boaton Lawrences to California Just
at the beginning of the gold rush
seems to have deserted the present
generation. From a 4.000-acre ranch,
their holdings have shrunk to a
small farm and the old family homo
la Cllpperavllle.
Phil, twenty-five,
la la the Iron works.
Sam and
Gall In the public library
and Edith In the book department of
Cllppersvllle's largest store. Young
Van Murchison, scion of a wealthy
family, returns from Yale.
Stebbins, Phil's best friend, has the
run of the Lawrence house. Ariel Is
sneaking out of the house at night
tor Joy rides Gall, who would marry
Van, feels she Is making no progress
la hie affections, regretfully con­
cluding she is not his "type of girl."
Phil suggests Inviting Lily Cass to
supper. Gall and Edith feel she la
not "respectable,** and are In a
Quandary. Van asks Gal) to go for a
week-end at Los Gatos with the
Cblpps, hie uncle and aunt She Is
received coldly.
CHAPTER IV—Continued
“Oh, yes, Instantly!" said Mary,
running out of the cabin. She and
Mrs. Billings, conferring, went rap­
idly down the path together. Gall
swallowed once with a dry throat
Then she got up and began to
saunter slowly after them.
She encountered the boy named
Fred Hunter tn the path, and fell
upon him with all the boldness of
desperation. She laughed with him,
narrowed her blue eyes In their
thick black lashes at him, and when
he said somewhat nervously that
he had been going up to the cabin
to wake Van, whose aunt felt sure
he had fallen asleep. Gall said gaily
that she would go, too.
They awakened the drowsy, sur­
prised Van and they all laughed
together, and Gail, still holding
firmly to the now manageable Fred,
waited for Van on the porch of the
men’s cabin. She walked down to
the house between the two of them,
disposing of Van's good-natured at­
tempts to shake young Mr. Hunter
by a determined, If light, bold upon
the letter’s arm.
At dinner, which began immedi­
ately, she was between the two
young men. So far so good.
But It was work. It was bitter,
hard, endless work; all struggle, no
relaxation anywhere. She was con­
scious of carrying a beavy handi­
The girls were all against her.
They Ignored her; they looked
bored when she spoke; they delib­
erately carried the conversation
Into channels where she must be ill
at ease and unfamiliar.
Gall fought on.
Her cheeks
blazed, her blue eyes shone. She
loot all consciousness of Van as
the man for whom she was begin­
ning to care, of the beauty of the
place and the summer night, of the
novelty of dining here with these
fashionable folks.
It was all a
blur, through which she was deter­
mined to hold her own despite them
When Lenore, at the end of the
long meal, during which they had
all eaten, drunk, and smoked too
much, said provocatively to Van
something about needing him to
conspire with her upon something
that would surprise the others. Gall
countered by saying that she and
Mr. Hunter wanted to get up a
“That's wbat they call It now,
la ttT" one of the boys said, and
Gall joined In the loud laughter.
Suddenly they were all disputing
as to whether they should play
bridge or go down to Mockerson’a.
Mockerson’s was a roadhouse over
on the Halfmoon Bay road, sixty
miles away.
"Come on. let's go dance at Mock-
arson's I
Maybe the place’ll be
Let's not, and say we
“Well, I’ll tell you a story 1” Jim
Speedwell said unexpectedly.
told IL
For a moment Gall could not see
the point. Then it came upon her
with sickening force, and she felt
choked and a little nauseated. The
men roared; the girls laughed brief­
ly, and Lenore said, “Jim, don't be
so revolting!''
“You low swine!" Lucia Tevis,
who was eighteen years old, added
“Well, what can you do?” Gall
asked herself fiercely. She couldn't
shame Van by getting up and walk­
ing away from the group.
face burned wretchedly for half
an hour. She would not give in.
She slept, waked, breakfasted, went
to luncheon at some club in whose
chintzy dressing room the girls
were notably rude to her, watched
ber first polo game.
She would
not give in.
Fight, fight, fight She made her­
self pretty, she made herself amus­
ing, she fought back the constant
Impulse to say, “Oh, Van, take me
home!” No, no, no! This was her
chance; she would not lose it
Van saw nothing.
He was In
great spirits, rushing from one
thing to another—cocktails, bridge,
tennis, swimming, polo, golf—at
breakneck speed. ■ By
night all these were exhausted, ra­
dio and vlctrola had done their
worst, and It was decided that
Mockeraon’s offered the only pos­
sible amusement
This was at about nine o’clock.
Into cars they all accordingly piled,
and off into the night they went.
A dreary dressing room, after the
cold run, and the girls powdering
their noses, reddening their lips
again. Another bleak-looking table
with a limp spotty cloth on It
They were all so tired they almost
laid their beads on the cloth, and
Gall was scared when she saw the
hip flasks and the red wine again.
Van had driven like a crazy man
on those steep circuitous roads
coming over; he certainly would
not be In a condition to drive more
carefully going back.
Funny to think of herself as
borne again ton orrow night play­
ing solitaire. Well, one thing was
sure; if she ever married Van
Murchison or anyone like him she
would care him of this sort of
Mockerson's was as dull as ditch
water tonight. There were parties
In the curtained alcoves, shouting
and singing, but the main room was
"You’re awful cute!" Van said
affectionately, covering Gall’s band
with bls own.
A noisy party »tumbled out of an
alcove and scattered wearily to­
ward dressing rooms for wrapt
“We ought to be going, too 1”
Lenore decided. “This Is too lw-
They stumbled up in their turn,
staggered up the smelly, unpainted
stairs to the odorous, damp, bleak
dressing room. Its window, on this
raw night was wide open, the salty
air blowing In deliciously cold and
“This won't do!” Gall said, going
to close It Standing beside it both
hands raised to the center sill, she
looked down at a pool of bright
light from the tavern doorway be­
“Come here, Duchess. That's the
color hair I mean 1" Lucia said sud­
denly, at Gall's elbow, also looking
down. “Ash blond—and that’s a real
one, too. Look!"
Gall looked, too. Looked down at
the bareheaded, loudly laughing girl
a big raccoon-coated man was help­
ing into a roadster. She recognised
the ash-blond hair, the curve of
soft cheek.
It was Ariel 1
AIL had a sick moment of ver­
tigo, of terror. What she saw,
what it signified, where she was
and where Ariel was—everything
rushed together In a complete de­
moralization of mind and senses.
After a while she turned and
dazedly reached for her brown coat
and buttoned Its belt about her.
She was next to Van on the drive
home. When they reached the top
of the long rise, and the machines
through the enveloping thick mists,
Gall spoke for the first time.
“Van, you saw those men and
the two girls—the ones who were
making so much noise?’’
“Didn’t notice ’em specially—
why?” Van shouted.
“Oh, nothing!" Gall, actually
saying the soundless
words of prayers with trembling
lips, added no more. But ber soul
was sick.
“Ariel 1 Oh, my G—d—not yet
It was like a horrible dream. She
was miles—miles from home, from
Phil and Edith, and security and
goodness and help.
The need to be at home gnawed
at her flesh like teeth; her face
burned, she could not breathe.
“Van, how far are we from
“From Los Gatos? Let's see—”
“No. From Clippersvllle.”
Clippersvllle? Oh—well,
about seventy miles."
Seventy miles I They seemed to
fall on her heart like so many sep­
arate blows. Was somebody driv­
ing Ariel seventy miles home to­
night? What was she doing away
from home? Where did Phil and
Edith think she was? Perhaps Phil
and Edith were dead. . . .
Perhaps they were scouring the
town for Ariel, telephoning Doro­
thy, telephoning the Lovelaces!
And she not there!
“Papa told us to take care of
the children! And little Ariel, that
Mother only stayed with four days
— 1
“And what does Ariel know about
danger? Nothing. She's a baby.
Men think she's pretty, and it
amuses ber. She never dreams. . , .
“Oh, my G—di Where is she
It was Impossible that 12 hours
must pass before she could be home
again and know the worst Hours—
hours! They proved to be the long­
est through which she had ever
Vaguely, secondary things pene­
trated the flaming wall of thought
that shut her In.
She realized,
alone in her comfortable cabin
room, that she was not going to
Ariel I Ariel 1 Ariel!
She walked out under the red­
woods just as dawn began to paint
the western face of the canyon with
streaks of vermilion.
Then she must have gone back
and flung herself on her bed and
fallen asleep, for she was awak­
ened by the other girls’ laughter
and voices at ten, and roused her­
self, stiff and half sick, with heavy
eyes and chilled wet feet She
crept down to the main cabin for
breakfast only anxious to avoid no­
tice, to secure the earliest possible
escape for home.
They were all going up to San
Mateo, for it appeared that Van
was to take the place of a missing
polo player; every one wse very
much excited about the game.
But she was in a fever to get
home. Van's arguments, his plead­
ing. fell on deaf ears. Ariel per­
haps murdered, Phil and Edith
crushed with terror and doubt, and
they wanted her to go to San Mateo
and applaud the chukkers of a polo
game 1
In the end she had her way, and
was established In the roomy empty
back of a big closed car. Van saw
her off reproachfully.
"You piker!"
“I know it." She smiled a sickly
smile at the handsome boy.
“Why don’t you stay and swim,
anyway. It’s noon; you'll cook—
driving home through the valley!"
“I can’t. I promised Ariel—”
“Oh, Ariel nothing! Listen, I got
one good look at your little sister,
and I want to tell you something!
She can manage her own affairs."
Her face, already pale with heat
and emotion, grew whiter.
“How d’you mean you—you saw
He looked at her in
puzzled surprise. “Why, she was
at your house that Sunday night,
two weeks ago.”
He had not seen her at Mocker-
son’s then! Gall sank back.
“Come on, have a change of
heart, and let’s swim! And then
we’ll go up to San Mateo."
His laughter, the grip of his big
brown band, would have been irre­
sistible twenty-four hours ago. But
Gall was hardly conscious of them
she persisted, said her farewells.
The world that was all pleasure
—swimming, bridge, polo, tennis,
“Ash Blond—and That’s a Real
One, Lookl"
frocks, trips—closed behind her as
a pool closes over a stone.
She would be home before three
o'clock. She must be patient. She
would be rushing into the old house
—and what a haven of rest and
coolness and ease It would be!—at
three o’clock. She would find Phil
there, haggard and wild, Edith
stricken. Sam making frightful sug­
gestions about dragging the river
and notifying the police.
“We Lawrences can never hold up
our heads after this again," she
thought. Not that it mattered, If
Ariel, frightened and sobered, were
home, were safe!
Thirty miles more! Her face
was burned by the hot wind, and
her head splitting. Twenty miles—
ten miles. Finally the swimming
treetops of Clippersvllle.
Gall's heart was suffocating her.
She said only Incoherent farewc”s,
as she descended from the back
seat into the heavenly green shadi­
ness of the old garden, and catch­
ing up her heavy suitcase ran for
the aide door.
On the threahold of the quiet,
shaded kitchen she stopped short
Edith was sharing a light refection
of artichokes and bread pudding
with a book, “Martin Chuzzlewit”
Arie), dainty and cool, was sitting
at the other end of the kitchen
table, cleaning glovea In gasoline.
For a moment revulsion of feel­
ing made Gall feel actually dizzy
and weak. But if Ariel saw any­
thing amiss her smile of surprise
and welcome gave no sign of it. and
Edith’s delight covered all other
emotions for a space.
“Oh, Gall, we didn't expect you
until suppertime! Oh, darling, did
you have a good time? Was it fun?
I’ve been thinking and thinking—
but you've not had lunch!’’
Edith was in her arms, was rac­
ing about the kitchen eagerly, mix­
ing iced tea, taking rolls from the
old black japanned bread box.
Ariel got up from the table to come
and bestow one of her strange
kisses. Gail, seated, her hat pushed
off her damp, pale forehead, felt
that she was still in a dream, and
that things had shifted themselves
about on all sides, strangely, as
they did in dreams.
“But tell us, tell us, tell us!”
Edith pleaded.
“And what’d you do last night?"
Gail could finally ask, when the
swimming pool, the frocks, and the
general excitement of Far Nlente
had been pretty generally reviewed.
"Ariel was with Dorothy Camp.
So the boys and I had to console
each other!”
Gail gave Ariel her big sisterly,
sympathetic smile.
“Was that fun?” she asked, feel­
ing that it was somebody else talk­
ing. that it was all a part In a play
—In one of their Sunday night
“Fun! They stayed at the Fair­
mont,” said the eager Edith.
"Oh, did you, baby?”
“We went to a movie," Ariel sup­
Then—then the girl at Mocker-
son’s wasn’t Ariel? Or else . . .
Gall’s first Impulse to tell her sis­
ters of her sickness and fright died
away. She dared not risk that yet
Peace and shadiness held the
kitchen. Home. The Infinite peace­
fulness of it. Gall, looking at Ariel,
could not believe that her feverish,
frightened suspicions of last night
had any basis whatever. This was
all reassuring, all soothing.
It was not believable that this
innocent child of seventeen, tn the
blue organdy, had upon her mind
any secret as disgraceful as a mid­
night escapade at Mockerson's.
But as soon as they had an op­
portunity to speak to each other
alone. Gall went straight to the
“Ariel, did you ever hear of a
roadhouse called Mockerson's?"
The blond head, with its drift
of flyaway gold hair, came up like
a flash. And Gail knew.
Ariel shrugged slightly, wary
eyes on Gall’s face.
"Yep," she admitted briefly.
Then there was a long silence.
Ariel's eyes met her sister’s.
“Some of us went over from the
Chlpp ranch,” Gall said, returning
the steady gaze. "What were yon
doing there. Ariel?”
“What—what you were, if you
were there and saw me, I suppose I"
Ariel blurted, in a tone that was
meant to be bold and turned out
merely trembling and frightened.
Gall took the shock without a
sign, going on patiently.
“Who were you with, dear?”
“Oh, don't dear me!” protested
Ariel, in sudden ugliness.
know you think I'm a lost soul, and
you're going to tell Phil, and stir
up all sorts of trouble."
She stopped fiercely, as Gall
merely sat, silent
From vague
worry and apprehension about
Ariel, suddenly the whole fearful
danger had sprung upon her. This
morning It had been no more than
fear; now It was fall knowledge.
“You weren't In San Francisco
with the Camps, then?"
“Ou. yes, I was! We went down
from there."
“Where was Mrs Camp?"
“She bad to go to San Rafael.
She left ua at the Fairmont"
“Just you two girls?
Did she
know you went out that night?"
“We didn’t tell ber—no.”
There was a pause. Then Gall
said, “Ariel, 1 can't believe it!"
“You were there,” Ariel offered