I inclose documents which show that on Monday, the 4th of August, 1873, this George Harpwood, described and photographed, married Mary Berners, who now lives at Crescentville, a suburb of Philadelphia. She bears the name of Mrs. Mary Harpwood, and has not been divorced to her knowledge. Beside deserting her, Harpwood robbed her and reduced her to penury.
I inclose documents showing that five years earlier, or on Wednesday, the 8th of January, 1868, George Harpwood eloped with a child wife, Eleanor Hastings, and basely deserted her within four weeks. She now resides with her sister-in-law, Mrs. Moses Hastings, on Ox-Bow Prairie, a few miles south of Sturgis, Michigan.
It is my request that the little store and its belongings, including the bank account of Robert Chalmers, so-called, be given to the widow of the late Walter B. Corkey.
The bitterness of life is yours. But the bitterness of death is mine.
Your husband, who loves you,
There is a click at the door. The bride hears it not. The documents fall to the floor. There are photographs of George Harpwood; there are green seals; there are many attestations.
The bride must raise her eyes now. She sees the star of the officer. She reads the number—803. Is that from David, too?
Ah, yes, she must turn her head. The bridegroom is gone!
A man enters, in hot haste and intense excitement. Is it the bridegroom returning?
It is Dr. Tarpion. He seizes her by the hand.
“My dear friend!” he cries. “My dear friend!” he repeats, “I have just now learned that your husband is still living.”
But she does not hear it. She can only look gratefully toward the administrator, clinging to his hand.
She gazes in a dazed way on the white prescription-booth beyond the square stove; on the bottles of blue copper-water on each corner. Higher, the partition rises into view.
She meets the eyes of the officer.
A patrol wagon clangs and clamors down State street. It will stop before the door.
Officers enter from the patrol wagon. “Where is that suicide?” they ask in a low voice, seeing a bride.
The officer in charge steps to the side of the bride. He speaks tenderly—the tenderness of a rough man with a kind heart. “Madam,” he says, “you can go behind the partition and see the body. No one will come in for a few moments.”
The bride rises. She hurries toward the little room where Robert Chalmers suffered and died.
“Oh, David!” she cries. “Oh, David! Oh, God!”
“I guess we will not need the wagon,” the officers say among themselves, and step out on the sidewalk.
The little clock behind the partition strikes 6.
A dozen factory whistles set up their dismal concert out in the blue mist.