Fate Knocks at the Door eBook

Will Levington Comfort
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 424 pages of information about Fate Knocks at the Door.

“You know, David, I’ve said for years there were no real lovers in the world,” she went on lightly.  “But your friend was full of touches last night such as one dreams of:  that colored pane in the hall-way, when he was a little boy somewhere, and the light that frightened him from it....  ’One of the Chinese knifed me, but he died.’...  That big ‘X’ of the Truxton flung stern up, as she sank; ... and about the old Captain wriggling his shoulder bashfully for his young friend’s arm at the last....  It is altogether enticing, in the light of what you have brought to-day.  Really you must take him away.  Red-haired spinsters mustn’t be bothered, nor imprisoned in magic spring weather.  When does he return to his Island?”

“He hasn’t spoken of that, but I do know, Beth, that Bedient will never sink back into the common, from your first fine impressions.  I’ve known him for years, you see——­”

She put down her brush and said theatrically, “I feel the fatal premonitive impulses....  Spinster, spinster; Beth Truba, spinster!...  That’s my salvation.”

“You’re the finest woman I know,” Cairns said.  “You know best, but I doubt if Bedient will go back to Equatoria without seeing more of you——­”

“Did he speak of such a thing?”

“That isn’t his way——­”

“I am properly rebuked.”

...  Cairns was at the door.  “Did you say, Beth, that the Grey One is engaged to be married?”

“Pure tragedy.  The man is fifty and financial....  She’s a courageous girl, but I think under her dear smile is a broken nerve.  She has about reached the end of her rope.  The demand for her work has fallen off.  One of those inexplicable things.  She had such a good start after returning from Paris.  And now with Handel’s expensive studio, probably not less than three thousand a year for that, debt and unsought pictures are eating out her heart.  There’s much more to the story—­I mean leading up.  Help her if you can, or she must go to the arms and house of a certain rich man....  What a blithe thing is Life, and how little you predatory men know about it!”

They regarded each other, their thoughts poised upon an If.  Beth spoke first: 

“If your friend——­”

“But Bedient didn’t look into the eyes of the Grey One when he told his tale of the sea,” Cairns said, leaving.



A few nights after the party, Bedient was left to his own devices, Cairns being appointed out of town.  He attended the performance of a famous actress in Hedda Gabler....  Bedient was early.  The curtain interested him.  It pictured an ancient Grecian ruin, a gloomy, heavy thing, but not inartistic.  Beneath was a couplet from Kingsley: 

     “So fleet the works of men, back to their earth again,
     Ancient and holy things fade like a dream.”

Project Gutenberg
Fate Knocks at the Door from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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