Vernonia eagle. (Vernonia, Or.) 1922-1974, August 16, 1935, Image 3

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The Lucky Lawrences
. . . By Kathleen Norris * « «
OopyrUfct by Kathleen Norrie
WNU Servteo
CHAPTER VI—Continued
“Where is that naughty Ariel?”
Edith had asked drowsily, affection­
The childishness of her own mon­ ately, and Gall, listening to the
ologue made her begin suddenly strokes of the cuckoo clock In the
to laugh, and she found tears in hall, had answered more reassur­
ingly than she felt, “Only nine,
her eyes.
This wouldn’t do. There was noth­ that's not late 1" when suddenly
ing to do but go through with the I there was a stranger in the gar­
evening's program with what dig­ den.
A stranger. At the first glimpse
nity she could muster. It appeared
that the four boys were going over of him Gall's heart stood still, and
to Del Monte that night, so as to her mouth filled with water. Hor­
play the Pebble Beach course early ror. Horror. They were all lost.
The moonlight touched the star
tn the morning. Gall was careful
lot to let anyone suspect that It on his breast Dick was the first
made any difference to her.
But to speak, in a quick, authoritative
she felt hurt and sore.
At half­ voice.
“What Is It, Officer?"
past nine o’clock the roadster with
“There's been a bad accident up
the shouting boys In It departed on
A little
its seventy-mlle run, and Gall found near the cement works.
herself quietly in bed, reading girl has been killed—" the man
Gall was beside him, fingers
She felt very homesick.
wanted Sam and Ariel and Phil. gripping his arm.
“My sister!”
Above all she wanted Edith, sensi­
“No, ma'am. It wasn't your sis­
ble, loving, loyal, thoughtful. She
was torn with pangs of anxiety for ter. She was mixed up in it; I
brought her over here to see your
them all.
brother. She ain’t hurt,” he said,
“A Cllppersvllle girl I” she said
answering the wild question In
to herself In the night stillness.
Gall’s eyes. “She’s Just run up­
’’Well, that's what I am. I don’t
stairs inside; I’m waiting for her.
know why that should make me
I seen you out here, so I came
Shamed, courageous thoughts pos­
"What happened. Officer?" Dick’s
sessed her; she plunged Into them
voice asked.
The others were
as into a river. Despite responsi­
stricken dumb.
bility and precocious cares, she bad
“She was driving a car, sir, and
done little philosophical thinking
another automobile hit her.
in her twenty-three years; she de­ didn't have a license, and she’s
liberately faced the situation now. booked for that, and also on a
faced her own soul.
charge of manslaughter.
In the
The next morning she slipped mlxup, a little girl In a third car
away from Far NIente before any was thrown out on her head and
member of the family was astir. killed."
And with every mile of the home
“She’s here now? My sister, I
trip her heart grew lighter and her mean?" Phil asked. In a dead, aw­
mind steadier and her quiet deter­ ful silence.
mination greater.
"Yes—she just now run in the
At two o'clock, cool and trim and bouse to find you."
sympathetic, she was back at her
"After her, Phil I She may kill
post In the library. She felt wear- herself!" Gall said sharply, In a
led. subdued, yet oddly content. This whisper. Edith put her hands over
was duller than death but it was her face for a moment, praying be­
peace. No one would hurt her, hu­ fore they all ran together toward
miliate her here; she belonged. She the kitchen door.
was not only In her proper place,
Ariel opened the door of the in­
but she was doing a fellow crea­ ner passage as the others rushed In
ture a service.
No animal creep­ from the porch, and stood at bay,
ing back Into the safety of Its lair facing them. She spoke impatient­
ever felt a deeper sense of grati­ ly, a note of reproach and com­
plaint in her voice.
And then—as always on Library
“Where were you. Gall?
Sundays—Edith was there, slipping been hunting—I’ve been all over
about the alcoves, coming up to everywhere 1”
the desk to beam, to whisper to
“You’re hurtl” Gall whispered,
her big sister.
beside her.
“Ariel home?"
“No, I'm not hurt at all, and for
“No,” Edith explained too cheer­ heaven's sake don’t makn such a
fully, too naturally; “Dot Camp fuss!” Ariel said quickly.
“Oh, it's you, Fargo?" Dick said
telephoned to the Greeley's to say
that they might not be back until to the policeman. “I didn't recog­
nize, you out there. Been an acci­
after dinner."
“But why didn't Dot or Ariel tel­ dent, eh?"
ephone us?"
"Hello, Mr. Stebbins,” the police­
“Lou said she said she thought man said with a sort of deliberate
our line was out of order—it never solemnity. “Yes, sir. There’s been
a bad smash.
There was a little
The sisters exchanged a level, ex­ girl killed, Mr. Lawrence. They
took her to the hospital, but later
pressionless look.
“That's a new one,” Gall pres we heard she—”
The officer
ently murmured drily.
coughed respectfully. "She passed
“Well, that’s what I thought,” out on the way,” he finished simply.
Edith agreed reluctantly.
“Miss Lawrence and the feller that
At six Dora Foster came in, and was driving the other car are
Edith and Gail could walk home booked on a charge of manslaugh­
through the broiling late afternoon. ter, Mr. Stebbins. The judge Is go­
“Let's not have supper until ing to see them In the morning. I
seven. And let’s get everything ready presume—’* He cleared his throat.
and then take baths and be beau­ “I presume for an investigation,”
be added, mildly. “It was a ques­
tiful 1” Gall suggested.
They set the table out under the tion of ball.”
“I see," Dick said. “I’ll be right
big oak I d the side yard, close to
the bouse so that the smaller fur­ down. I'll take care of everything.
nishings could be passed through I’ll be right over.”
"Why, take your time, take your
the wide-open kitchen window.
Dick and Phil arrived. They all sat time.” the officer, departing, said tn
about the table, while the last of a faintly protesting note.
“Manslaughter,” Phil said slowly,
the hot twilight died into a hot
dusk, talking, murmuring, passing In the dead silence that followed
back and forth the old Brazilian his going. “What happened?” be de­
silver salad bowl that Grandfather manded, sitting down heavily In the
Lawrence bad brought to Yerba old kitchen rocker, his eyas never
Buena on that long-ago wedding leaving Ariel’s
“Why, just thin," Arie? began, tn
cause of the cars behind me. The we stopped at the Del Monte links
car—the car this drunk Miller was to see some of the golf.
“We bad some sandwiches at Los
driving—came head on, and hit our
guards and smashed the headlights. Gatos, at about three, and we came
They said it was badly smashed, on over the Dumbarton bridge, and
but the man wasn't hurt, and at Buddy kept feeling sicker, and sick­
first I don’t think they thought er, and Larry was half asleep. Fi­
anyone was hurt And then they nally Dorothy said to stop the car
saw this little girl on the grass.” for a minute, and she jumped out
Buddy driving, and said she was going to take a
Ariel?" Gall asked, very gently. In a bus.
She said the way Larry was
driving we'd have an accident.
"He was sleepy, 1 told you. We
“No bus goes by there, anyway.
were all up late last night, dancing. But after a few minutes Dorothy
We were over at Monterey. We signaled a car with a man and wom­
just went there for dinner, Buddy an in it, and got in—I didn’t think
and Larry and Dorothy and I. And she really meant to, and Larry
then we stayed and danced. We didn't, and It made us pretty mad.”
were going to come home last night,
"Then what happened?”
but it was too late, so we stayed.
“Then Larry asked me to take
Buddy felt sort of sick, anyway. He the wheel, and said he'd sit right
bad some oysters or something.”
beside me and help me out if I
“After Gall went to Los Gatos got into a jam. I've had the wheel
you said you were going to Santa lots of times.
So we changed
Cruz to have lunch on somebody's places. We were only seven miles
yacht, and stay with Dot over out, and all I wanted to do—”
night,” Edith put In, anxiously ac­
Her voice thickened, stopped.
"All I wanted to do was to get
“Yes. Well, we did; we had lunch home,” she said. "I drove along—
on the Howards' yacht. In Santa you couldn’t go fast In that traf­
iruz. We were coming right back, fic—just keeping my place In ths
and then afterward, when we were line, when the car ahead of me
starting home, we saw the sign at jumped forward and got clear, and
Soquel—’Del Moute 38 miles'—and this crazy drunk lunged up In front
Larry said he dared us to go down of me.
there and have dinner and dance.
“There was the—most—awful-
We started for Del Monte but then
crashing of glass and wood,” she
we thought that was too smart—
whispered, putting her head back,
we weren’t exactly dressed for It
closing her eyes.
“Every one be­
—so we went to a place In Mon­
gan to shout and scream. They saw
terey, a nice place, too, and we all
the little girl, and a man asked me
wandered up and down the street,
If my car had hit her, and I said—I
and bought things and had fun.”
said 1 didn't know. I saw a man
She fell silent on the word.
pick her up, and her hat sort of
“Go on!” Phil said.
drop back. . . .”
“Well, then we cleaned up for
"Oh, my G—dl" Edith whispered
dinner, and dressed—our suitcases In the pause.
were in the car—and we went over
"My car was jammed against
to the hotel and had dinner, and
theirs," Ariel said. “But there
fooled around. But then the boys
didn’t seem to be much harm done.
got sort of—silly,” Ariel explained,
scowling, "and we didn’t know what
to do with them. Then Buddy said
that If we'd go over to Del Monte
and dance he’d rush us home right
after, so we agreed.
But at the
hotel he disappeared, and I didn’t
know where he was. Dorothy was
dancing with Larry—I think they're
engaged. Gail."
The forlorn attempt at diversion
fell flat. Gall’s face was stern.
“I don’t know what I would have
done,” Ariel went on, "If Van
Murchison hadn't come up. Of
course he said that I oughtn't to be
there so late, and that you and
Ede would be wild, and we went
out and sat on the porch waiting
for Buddy to show up. Van took me
home about half-past one, to the
Monterey hotel," Ariel said, "and
Dorothy was there.”
“And what had happened to
“Well, he’d eaten these oysters,
Phil, and he felt s' k.”
“And then, Ariel?”
“Well, This Man—He Wae Drunk.*?
“Dorothy and 1 were so scared
we cried, and she was going to The police came up and they asked
telephone her mother.
But we to see my license, and Buddy said
thought that wouldn't do. So we that it whs at home. But after­
locked our door and went to bed. ward at the station I told them
Dorothy and I went to sleep; 1 don't I didn’t have any. That was right,
know when the boys got in; they wasn’t it, Dick?” Ariel asked with
were on another floor, anyway. We an appealing look.
got up early this morning, and
“Well, of course!" Dick answered
walked around Monterey. And we Impatiently.
met the boys—they were all shaved
'They held us on a manslaughter
and dressed and sober, of course, charge.” the Innocent, hoarse young
and they felt so sorry we sort of voice went on. ’They wanted me
forgave them, and we went to to telephone home, but I wouldn’t."
breakfast, and then we were com­
The recital was over. There was
ing straight home. We packed and silence In the kitchen; no Lawrence
we got started at about eleven, but could speak.
“I'll go right around.” Dick said,
glancing at bls wrist “Now, don't
take this too hard . It happens all
the time. If they can hang it on
The luck that had brought the Boston Lawrences to California just
at the beginning of the gold rush seems to have deserted the present gen­ him that he was drunk and that
eration. From a 4,000-acra ranch, their holdings have shrunk to a small Ariel had the right of way they’ll
farm and th old family home In Cllppersvllle. Phil, twenty-live. Is In the not hold her.”
iron works. Sam and seventeen-year-old Ariel are In school, Gall In the
Gall's heart went to him, the big,
public library and Edith In the book department of Cllppersvllle's largest
store. Young Van Murchison, scion of a wealthy family, returns from Yale. homely, gentle, adequate friend and
Dick Stebbins, Phll'u best friend, has the run of the Lawrence house. Ariel champion of the family, with so
la sneaking out of the house at night tor joy rides. Gall, who would marry passionate a rush that she felt an
Van, fools she Is making no progress In his affections. Phil suggests In­
viting Lily Casa, his sweetheart, to supper. Gall and Edith feel she la not emotion like a physical pain in her
"respectable." and are In a quandary. Gall goes with Van to a house party breast
at Los Gatos with the Chlpps. his uncle and aunt. She Is received coldly. At
Ariel came, white and weary and
a roadhouse Gall sees a drunken man helping Ariel Into a roadster. Next
day Ariel admits she was there, and displays no remorse. Gall Io gloomy young, and stood before Dick and
as she oenstdors the family's outlook. She again accompanies Van to Loa put her hands on his shoulders,
Qatoo for a week-end- visit. She meets hie mother, who Is very distant.
a voice site tried to make sound
easy and natural. “A drunken idiot
drove bls car out Into the middle of
the traffic and forced our car over
against the other side of the road,
and we bit the car this little girl
was In. That’s all.
“I had no more to do with It than
—well, Sam, here! This man—he
was drunk—cut In from behind a
bus, and came straight at us. He
headed right at us and we swerved
to the right, do you see?—and this
child was In the car we hit It sort
of swung 'round, and all the cars
jammed, and every one shouted."
Dick, who had followed the po­
liceman out of the room for a few
private words, had returned to the
“V hose child was it, Dick?"
"Moss. A little girl named Janet
Moss. Five years old."
“Five years old. My G—d!"
“I don't know why you all look
at me. I agree with you that it’s
simply terrible!” Ariel said quick­
ly and hotly. “But you don’t think
I’m—I’m enjoying it?”
“Oh, shut up," Phil commanded
her, brushing the little spurt of
temper aside, his dark look not
“It’s what they call a technical
charge. Now, let's keep cool, every­
body,” Dick said, “and find out just
where we stand. In the first place,
what time was this, Ariel?”
“Ten minutes to six."
“And you and Buddy Ralscb and
the Barchi boy were In the car?
Was Dorothy Camp there?”
“No. Not then. She’d left us."
"Left you!”
“If you’ll give me a chance,"
Ariel Interrupted the interrogation
with bitter patience, "1’11 try to
tell you. But I can’t get anywhere
if you keep looking as if I’d done
all this as a joke!”
There was no answer to this.
But Phil said drily, as If thinking
aloud, "God knows It’s no joke!"
“You weren't driving, Ariel?”
Gall asked In a sick tone.
"Yes, I was.”
“You don't know how to drive!"
“Oh, yes, 1 do."
“Good G—d!” Phil whispered un­
der his breath.
“Ariel—not when It happened—
you weren’t driving then?”
“I say 1 was. Gall.” Ariel’s
weary, colorless face cracked with
an unnatural smile; she looked
about the circle scornfully, almost
"You all look so funny 1” she
gasped, shaking, trying to laugh.
“You all take—things—so d—n
seriously I”
Gall tightened an arm about her
“Pull yourself together, Ariel!"
she said sharply. “You've gotten us
all Into horrible trouble, and been
partly responsible for a little girl's
death, and If you can't take It
seriously, why, we can, that’s all.
What were you doing driving Bud­
dy Ralscb’s car? Are you crazy?"
“I've told you what I was doing
We were coming back from Mon­
terey. and Buddy was sleepy, and
so was Larry, and 1 was driving.
We were In the middle lane, where
you have a perfect right to be on
that bill, and the bus was coming
up—and I saw It perfectly well,
and I knew the line on the right
was where It was, and I was driv­
ing along, about twenty-five. I guess,
when this drunk came lunging out
from behind the bus, straight Into
my face, and of course I had to
jerk right—I couldn’t jerk left into
the bus, and I couldn't stop be­