“Wicker, you must not ask me now,” she said at last, bravely and earnestly. “It is sweet to know that you love me. It is life to me—yes, life, Wicker. But, don’t you see? No, no! You must not expect it. You must not ask it. Don’t, don’t, dear!” she cried, drawing away as he leaned toward her, passion in his eyes, triumph in his face.
“But we love each other!” he cried. “What matters the rest? I want you—you!”
“Have you considered? Have you thought? I have, a thousand times, a thousand bitter thoughts. I cannot, I will not be your—your wife, Wicker, until—”
In vain he argued, pleaded, commanded. She was firm and she felt she was right if not just. Underneath it all lurked the fear, the dreadful fear that she may have been a child of love, the illegitimate offspring of passion. It was the weight that crushed her almost to lifelessness; it was the bar sinister.
“No, Wicker, I mean it,” she said in the end resolutely. “Not until I can give you a name in exchange for your own.”
“Your name shall one day be Bonner if I have to wreck the social system of the whole universe to uncover another one for you.”
The automobile had been standing, by some extraordinary chance, in the cool shade of a great oak for ten minutes or more, but it was a wise, discreet old oak.
The Hemisphere Train Robbery
Anderson Crow lived at the extreme south end of Tinkletown’s principal thoroughfare. The “calaboose” was situated at the far end of Main Street, at least half a mile separating the home of the law and the home of the lawless. Marshal Crow’s innate love for the spectacular alone explains the unneighbourliness of the two establishments. He felt an inward glory in riding or walking the full length of the street, and he certainly had no reason to suspect the populace of disregarding the outward glory he presented.
The original plan of the merchantry comprehended the erection of the jail in close proximity to the home of its chief official, but Mr. Crow put his foot flatly and ponderously upon the scheme. With the dignity which made him noticeable, he said he’d “be doggoned ef he wanted to have people come to his own dooryard to be arrested.” By which, it may be inferred, that he expected the evil-doer to choose his own arresting place.
Mr. and Mrs. Crow were becoming thrifty, in view of the prospect that confronted them, to wit: The possible marriage of Rosalie and the cutting off of the yearly payments. As she was to be absent for a full month or more, Anderson conceived the idea of advertising for a lodger and boarder. By turning Roscoe out of his bed, they obtained a spare room that looked down upon the peony beds beyond the side “portico.”
Mr. Crow was lazily twisting his meagre chin whiskers one morning soon after Rosalie’s departure. He was leaning against the town pump in front of the post-office, the sun glancing impotently off the bright badge on the lapel of his alpaca coat. A stranger came forth from the post-office and approached the marshal.