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The Quest of the Silver Fleece eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about The Quest of the Silver Fleece.

“I forgot to ask about Mrs. Vanderpool.  How is she, and where?”

Zora murmured some answer; but as she went to bed in her little white room she sat wondering sadly.  Where was the poor spoiled woman?  Who was putting her to bed and smoothing the pillow?  Who was caring for her, and what was she doing?  And Zora strained her eyes Northward through the night.

At this moment, Mrs. Vanderpool, rising from a gala dinner in the brilliant drawing-room of her Lake George mansion, was reading the evening paper which her husband had put into her hands.  With startled eyes she caught the impudent headlines: 

VANDERPOOL DROPPED

Senate Refuses to Confirm

Todd Insurgents Muster Enough Votes to Defeat

Confirmation of President’s Nominee

Rumored Revenge for Machine’s Defeat of Child Labor

Bill Amendment.

The paper trembled in her jewelled hands.  She glanced down the column.

“Todd asks:  Who is Vanderpool, anyhow?  What did he ever do?  He is known only as a selfish millionaire who thinks more of horses than of men.”

Carelessly Mrs. Vanderpool threw the paper to the floor and bit her lips as the angry blood dyed her face.

“They shall confirm him,” she whispered, “if I have to mortgage my immortal soul!” And she rang up long distance on the telephone.

Thirty-one

A PARTING OF WAYS

“Was the child born dead?”

“Worse than dead!”

Somehow, somewhere, Mary Cresswell had heard these words; long, long, ago, down there in the great pain-swept shadows of utter agony, where Earth seemed slipping its moorings; and now, today, she lay repeating them mechanically, grasping vaguely at their meaning.  Long she had wrestled with them as they twisted and turned and knotted themselves, and she worked and toiled so hard as she lay there to make the thing clear—­to understand.

“Was the child born dead?”

“Worse than dead!”

Then faint and fainter whisperings:  what could be worse than death?  She had tried to ask the grey old doctor, but he soothed her like a child each day and left her lying there.  Today she was stronger, and for the first time sitting up, looking listlessly out across the world—­a queer world.  Why had they not let her see the child—­just one look at its little dead face?  That would have been something.  And again, as the doctor cheerily turned to go, she sought to repeat the old question.  He looked at her sharply, then interrupted, saying kindly: 

“There, now; you’ve been dreaming.  You must rest quietly now.”  And with a nod he passed into the other room to talk with her husband.

She was not satisfied.  She had not been dreaming.  She would tell Harry to ask him—­she did not often see her husband, but she must ask him now and she arose unsteadily and swayed noiselessly across the floor.  A moment she leaned against the door, then opened it slightly.  From the other side the words came distinctly and clearly: 

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