Vernonia eagle. (Vernonia, Or.) 1922-1974, October 18, 1935, Image 11

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Copyrig-ht by Kathleen Norrla
CHAPTER XI—Continued
“Was Dick at your boarding
“Not even that!” Ariel said, with
her scornful little laugh. “1 tell
you he never so much as put a
finger tip on me!"
“But you saw him all the time?”
“Off and on. He wasn’t In Los
Angeles much. But he would turn
up and ask me If I had money
“What a friend!’ Gall said under
her breath.
Ariel made no response. She was
looking about the old kitchen.
“I can stay here, Gall, lb spite
of the Wlbser tribe?”
"Darling, of course! And they’re
not such a tribe," Gall answered,
laughing with a touch of hurt and
reproach. “Just Lily and the boys.
And look—this is the baby. This
is Gall.”
“They named her Gall!”
“Lily would have It.”
“You might know she'd take your
name, Gail. 1 suppose she's more
a Lawrence than us Lawrences!”
To this Gall could make no reply.
She said tactfully, “It's a quarter
to seven, Ariel, and it looks as If
either Phil had to be at the shop
tonight, or had gone to Lily’s moth­
er's. You and I’ll have dinner any­
way. But what a buzz when the
marriage is announced 1” with a
sort of mild awe. "Let's go up­
stairs, Ariel.”
Ariel sat on at the table, a muti­
nous, dark look gathering in her
"Everything's changed, and I miss
Edith 1” she burst out suddenly, lay­
ing her head on her locked bands
and beginning to cry.
Gall came over to her, and bent
down to crook an arm about Ariel's
bowed head. Her own eyes were
they went upstairs,
through the familiar halls and
past the familiar doors, to talk
desultorily. Inconsequentially, of
anything and everything. When a
wall from the kitchen took Gall
down there again on flying feet,
Ariel, bareheaded and looking
young, small, and tired again, came
too, and then Lily, Phil, and the
boys came In and there was a babel
and confusion in which somehow
Gall and Ariel managed a cup of
When Gail went upstairs after
dinner, supposedly to superintend
the little boys’ retiring, it was to
be noted that she remained there
some additional moments. When
she caiye down she wore her new­
est gown, a simple, thin black vel­
vet gown that left her slender
brown arms bare and fell away in
a long line from the straight col­
umn of her throat and the curve of
her young breast. At the throat
there was golden old lace, her moth­
er's lace, and Gall wore tonight her
mother’s old cameo ring.
The tawny locks that had been
bobbed three years ago were longer
now and gathered In a cluster of
curls at the nape of her neck. Gall
rarely showed any color, but to­
night there was a subdued sparkle
and shine about her; her wide sweet
mouth was burning scarlet, her sap­
phire eyes starry.
Phil, Lily, Sam, Ariel—they all
sat in the room that had once been
the lesser drawing room but that
now had been changed into a liv­
ing room.
The fireplace was opened, and
logs crackled there. The boys'
blocks and books were stored on the
shelves, and a ring of comfortable
shabby old chairs circled the hearth.
Lily only listened tonight She was
■ good deal older than Ariel, but
she seemed a little afraid of her.
WNV Servio»
Gail was rather silent, too. She sat, pletely, and the hand that was rest­
slender, thoughtful, and tawny- ing on her desk blotter trembled.
headed, at Phil's knee on a cush­
When he stood before her she
ion. Her square shoulders rested reached both hands across the high
against her brother, her square desk.
fingers were locked, her eyes
"Dick, we couldn’t say much be­
thoughtful, and her full underlip fore Lily last night. She’s not to
slightly bitten.
know everything. But how are we
Sam drafted for tomorrow after­ going to thank you for standing
noon’s Challenge the announcement by Ariel, for saving her?"
that would take all Cllppersvllle by
“Why, that was all rightI” he
surprise. Little Ariel Lawrence, said, laughing a little awkwardly,
Mrs. Vance Murchison. Ariel, listen­ flushing warmly.
ing, correcting, appeared the least
“Ariel’s only a child still, Dick;
concerned of the five.
she can’t appreciate It. But Phil
There was a step at the side door, and I do—I do, from the bottom of
a gust of rain-sweet air penetrated my heart!”
to the sitting room. Gall had known
“I guess you know why I did It,”
this must come. She’ did not Sttlr, he wanted to say. "I guess you know
except to raise her eyes to Dick I W’as glad to do it!” was what she
Stebbins as he came in.
Phil did most of the talking.
“That doesn’t make it any less!”
Dick talked, too, to Lily—to all of she told him.
them except Gall. To her he did
"It’s a nice town to get back to,”
not speak directly until the clock he said, after awhile. “On a morn­
struck ten and she got to her feet ing like this, with everything
“Ariel, you must go to bed. You washed fresh and cool, there’s some­
must be dead. Come on!”
thing awfully friendly about it.”
“Are you coming back, Gall?”
“And how’s poor Mr. Willoughby?”
said Dick then, with a glance.
“Not so good."
“I think not. We’ll be talking,”
“Mrs. Cantor,” Gall said serious­
Gall said, with a smile, “all night.” ly, "told me that he had been told
■‘Tomorrow I’ll have to hang by the finest New York doctors that
around the hospital in the hope of he would simply have to stop drink­
seeing poor Willoughby.”
ing and eating the way he was.”
"If he died, Dick,” Phil asked,
Dick listened respectfully to this
“would that kind of throw the and other Cllppersvllle revelations.
monkey wrench Into your plans?” He had all his old simple, keen in
“Well, In a way. There are two terest In Gall’s point of view;
or three other propositions I could he was especially concerned and
follow up,” Dick answered, unruf­ amused over her reports of Lily and
“They don’t like each other?”
He was the old Dick, and he was
“Well, they’re polite. But they
a new Dick, too. A quiet big man,
very sure of himself. His manner, have nothing In common1”
“No,” he conceded, deeply struck.
his voice were more authoritative
than they had been. He had not “I suppose not.
“But Lily makes Phil happy?” he
worn a big belted coat three years
ago, nor jammed big gloves into its asked anxiously, more than once.
“Oh, utterly 1 He’s mad about
“Willoughby Is doing the London her."
“And that’s a cute baby!” Dick
work for his eastern firm," he said.
"And there was some talk of my go­ said, in satisfaction.
ing wdth him.”
The autumn sun shone, and only
“If you didn’t, might you practice
the occasional fall of a yellow leaf
here, Dick?” This was Gall.
"I don’t think so—not In Cllppers­ through the crystal air Indicated
vllle,” he answered decidedly. “In­ that the month was October and
not May. The hills were trans­
ternational law, you know . . .
“Seen ‘Caravan’?" he demanded parent blue haze, all about the can­
yon and the dam, when the Law­
abruptly, looking at Gall.
“You mean the big musical com­ rences took their lunch up there on
a hot clear Sunday afternoon. Gall
and Dick walked up the creek bed
"No, I haven’t It’s playing in alone, after the meal. Both their
Oakland tomorrow.”
faces were flushed and damp when
“I noticed that,” said Dick. “Want they sat down presently on a great
to go up?”
fallen redwood, up In the sweet
They were all looking on, sud­ shadowy woods, and smiled at each
denly awakened, suddenly aware of other.
the situation. But she could not
“Gall,” said Dick then, "do you
see anything but the lean, homely know that you have grown to be
kindly face that was smiling—Just the most beautiful woman 'n the
the hint of a smile—at her.
“I’d love it!" she said.
Her blue eyes deepened oddly,
like summer water touched by cloud
The great news rocked Cllppers­
vllle breakfast tables the next shadow. •
“If you say so—" she stam­
morning, and Gall, walking to the
mered, finding her voice with diffi­
library In the delicious autumn
freshness after the rain, was as­ culty.
Neither one could seem to speak
sailed on all sides.
“The family knew she was mar­ again. Dick stood up, and after a
ried,” Gall said, over and over second Gail got to her feet, too,
again, hoping that this was not and turned as it she would have
stretching the truth to the break­ gone back down the trail.
“I guess you know what I’ve come
ing point. “But they were both so
young—and Van had no prospects— back for. Gall,” Dick said then,
and then that unfortunate business “you've always been the only wom­
an in the world for me. But to
of the bankruptcy came.”
But Ariel’s marriage was In sec­ come back and find you—what
ond place for her. She was think­ you’ve grown to be—with all the
ing all the while that it was al­ town—every one—more or less in
most nine o’clock, and that in eight love with you—”
He stopped, for Gail bad come up
hours Dick Stebbins was coming to
the bouse to take her off for din­ close to him and was holding out
ner and the theater in Oakland, 35 her hands. Dick put his big arms
about her, and crushed her against
miles away.
She did not have to wait so long bls heart, and they kissed each
to see him. At about ten o’clock he other.
It was half an hour after that
walked into the library and came
up to the desk. Gail saw his hulk­ first, deep kiss that shouts from
ing figure in the entrance arcade, the deserted party brought them
and her heart turned over com­ back down the trail Their hands
the rare hot color spreading over
her face. In another second Phil
had given a great shout, and Gall
was laughing and crying in his
arms, and Lily, leaping over her
amazed children, had run to em­
brace Dick wildly.
If Mr. Willoughby lived, then
Dick would duly depart with him In
a few weeks’ time, and Instead of
following up the London offer
would establish himself somewhere
in the East, possibly in Washing­
If his superior died, Dick would
go east at once, and follow the
same course.
In either case he and Gall would
be married In—say eight months.
“Call It a year. It’s safer, Dick.”
"Eight months. Maybe six."
“That would be April or May!”
“April or May."
He came soberly into the library,
ten days after the picnic, to tell
her that old Willoughby had quiet­
ly slipped away.
Gail's face paled a little.
“So It’s no London?”
"No London.”
"After all your work, Dick 1"
“Oh, that! It’ll come In, some­
how. some day.”
“But It does mean a fresh start F’
“In a way It does. But the thing
I mind Is leaving you.”
“No help for lti’ she said gal­
"I suppose not.”
“I have something, you know,”
she said hopefully, after a pause.
“Phil is fixing It all up now. Ariel
wants money, and Sam and I would
as soon wait. So it looks as If we
might get the ranch, he and I,
and he says he’d like to live there
and farm it, and put out twenty
acres of table berries. If he does,
even though it might be some time
. . . And then there’s The Bells
of Saint Giles!” she added, In In­
creasing hope. Dick laughed.
"It’ll all work out,” he said, fol­
lowing the laugh with a faint
frown. "But—It Isn’t just what I
wanted to offer you, my darling.”
The last word fluttered her
senses, and she laughed excitedly.
Dick Put His Big Arms About Her
“Besides, there may be a mir­
and Crushed Her Against His
acle !” she said.
Dick looked into the honest, shin­
without speaking—her man, the ing, loving blue eyes so near his
man who was to take care of her, own, and lightly touched the
stand by her, and love her, all her square, capable hand.
“You’re the miracle!” he said.
The phrase was destined to be­
"Dick, after all these years—
after all the other girls—It's so come a household word. For It was
strange to think of myself as en­ but a few days later that Dick
came to the Lawrence house to din­
gaged 1”
“It’s strange to me to think that, ner, late, and banded a telegram to
at last—” He stopped on a brief, Gail across the rice muffins and the
odd little laugh. “That at last I’ve old blue milk pitcher and the glass
gotten Gail Lawrence!" Dick fin­ bowl of pink October roses.
“Read It aloud.”
ished It boyishly.
Dazedly, she obeyed. It was
“It’s all so strange,” Gall mused,
her fingers clinging to Ids, the glory signed “George G. Leavitt.”
"We would be glad if you could
and beauty of the autumn woods
about them. “DI be Mrs. Richard arrange to take Paul Willoughby’s
place, assuming full responsibility
Stebbins!” she said.
“Gosh!” the big man said, smil­ for London office. Can offer you as­
ing down at her, small and square sistant If desired.”
“Dick I" She swallowed hard.
and tawny-headed, flushed with
walking, radiant in this exquisite “What does It mean?’
“It means being picked out of
hour of fulfillment.
“It’s all come out like a story,” the ranks, and handed a field mar­
Gall decided contentedly.
She shal's commission!” Dick said in
jerked her head, with a sudden lit­ a voice that shook.
"Congratulations!” Phil said, his
tle touch of self-cofisclousness.
toward the unseen picnickers. “They handsome Lawrence face one glow
know,” she said, with an abashed of pride and satisfaction.
“But Dick—Dick—can you,” Gall
“I don't know why they know,” stammered. “I mean—are you sure?
Dick answered, surprised.
“There's one thing I can't do it
“Oh, they do! But let’s have It—
ours, for just a little while,” the without!” Dick admitted, folding
girl pleaded. “Let’s not tell them the telegram to put It back Into his
breast pocket.
today, anyway."
“You’re the boss," Dick agreed,
“Money?” Sam asked.
as they went on.
“Nope.” Dick looked at Gall, and
The others were making prepara­ all the others laughed. "I won't
tions for departure. It was four do It without my wife,” be said
o’clock. Gall gave no sign as she simply.
began to help gather sweaters and
"But gosh!” This was Sam again.
cups; Dick said nothing. But Lily “You’d have to be married right
shot Phil a significant glance, ac­ off!"
companied by a brief nod, and Phil
Dick said nothing. He looked at
went up at once to his sister and Gall.
caught her by the arm and turned
“Gall could be married tomorrow,
her about
and get out like a Are horse!” Lil*
Gall's innocent Inquiring glance said, and they all laughed.
changed guiltily, and she laughed.
were linked as they followed the
rushing stream back; it was four
o’clock on an October afternoon,
the sun was already sinking.
Hot light poured through the
thinning foliage, and lay graciously
among the red, twisted madrone
branches, and on the shafts of the
redwoods. The birds were all still
now, but bees went by like bullets,
and here and there brlghLwlnged
flies buzzed in weaving columns In
the sun.
“And all that time—nil that
time, Dick, you cared?”
“Yep. But I didn't know it was
going to be all that time," he said
honestly. “It—sort of—went on,
from day to day.”
“I knew I cared,” the girl said
Suddenly the two stopped on the
rough trail and smiled at each
“This all seems like a dream,”
Dick confessed.
Sun-browned, her tawny hair in
a little disorder, her blue eyes
bright, she stood looking up at him