The Lady of Big Shanty eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about The Lady of Big Shanty.
of destroying.  Margaret trusted him!—­that in itself was enough for the moment.  She had a way of looking earnestly into his eyes now—­moments when he made awkward attempts at concealing his joy.  There was, too, a certain note of tenderness in her voice when she spoke to him.  That firm pressure of her soft little hand—­her tears!  What had she meant by it? he wondered.  She seemed a different being to him now—­divine—­not of this world.  When they were alone together her very presence made him forget all else save his loyalty toward Thayor—­in brief moments such as these he would gaze at her, when she was not looking; conversation he found difficult.  There were moments, too, when he experienced a feeling of silent depression, and other times when there sprang up within him a positive fear—­the first fear he had ever experienced.  The dread that he might lose his self-control and tell her frankly all that lay in his heart—­how much he thought of her—­how much he would always think of her.  Yet he would rather have left Big Shanty forever than have offended her.  How strange it all seemed to him!  Could she really care for him?—­this girl, the very essence of refinement—­this child of luxury.  The realization of the wide social breach that lay between them was plain enough to him; he was not of her world—­not of her blood.

The hopelessness of this thought brought with it a feeling of bitterness.  Once he dreamed she had kissed him.  It was all so real to him in his dream—­they were a long way off in the woods somewhere together, back of Big Shanty, near a pond which he had never seen; he was leading her down to its edge through some rough timber, when she sighed, “I am so tired, Billy,” and sank down in a little heap half fainting from exhaustion.  He took her into his arms and carried her—­she cuddled her head against his throat.  Then she kissed him twice, and he awoke.

For a long time he sat wondering on the edge of his cot—­the light from a waning moon streaking across the cabin floor.  He tried to go to sleep, in the hope that his dream might continue, but he dreamed of horses breaking through the ice.  He wakened again at the first glimmer of dawn—­dressed and went out in the crisp air for a tramp, still thinking of his dream and the memory of her dear lips against his cheek.


The day at last arrived when Sperry must return to New York.  His mail during the last few days compelled his immediate presence.  Although he gauged the contents of several letters as false alarms there were three that left no room for refusal:  one meant an operation that he dared not leave to his assistant’s hands; the other two meant money.  He had begun to notice, too, a little coldness on the part of his host; Holcomb’s manner toward him had also set him to thinking.  Upon one occasion Thayor’s strained silence, when he was alone with him smoking in his den and Alice had retired, had thrown Sperry into a state of positive alarm and kept his heart thumping the while, until a yawn of his host and a cheerful good-night relieved him of his fear.  The doctor, like others of his ilk, was innately a coward.

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The Lady of Big Shanty from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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