Paradise Garden eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 375 pages of information about Paradise Garden.
The world and her own frequent contact with women of the baser sort had sharpened her wits and instincts amazingly.  I am sure that she was just as well aware of the nature of Jerry’s infatuation as though Jerry had told it himself.  If Una cared for him as deeply as I had had the temerity to suppose, then her position was difficult—­painful and thankless.  But whatever her own wish to help him, I am sure that the nature of the desire was unselfish.  After events prove that.  All that Una saw in the situation of Jerry and Marcia was a friend who needed helping, who was worth helping from the snare of an utterly worldly and heartless woman.  I am sure that her knowledge of the world must have made her task seem hopeless and it must have taken some courage to pit her own charm in the lists against one of Marcia’s known quality.  But if she was unhappy, no sign of it reached my eyes.  Only her mother, who sometimes raised her eyes and calmly regarded her daughter, had an inkling of what was in Una’s heart.

Jerry went no more to the telephone.  I kept an eye on it and I know.  And when his car went out, Una or Jack went with him.  Three days passed with no telephone calls from Briar Hills.  When Jerry’s guests were with him, the duties of hospitality seemed sacred to him and he left nothing undone for their comfort or entertainment.  At night Una sang to us, and Jerry was himself, but during most of the day he moved mechanically, only speaking to Jack or me when directly addressed.

“Acts like a sleepwalker,” said Jack to me.  “It’s hypnotic, sheer moon-madness!”

Only Una had the power to draw him out of himself.  He always had a smile for her and a friendly word, but I knew that she knew that she had failed.  Jerry was possessed of a devil, a she-devil, that none of the familiar friendly gods could cast out.

The end came soon and with a startling suddenness.  We were out driving in Jack’s motor one morning before lunch, Jack at the wheel, with Una beside him, Jerry and I in the rear seat, when in passing along a quiet road not far from Briar Hills, we saw at some distance ahead of us and going our way, a red runabout, containing a man and a girl.  Jack was running the car very slowly, as the road was none too good, and we ran close up behind the pair before they were aware of us.  I saw Jerry lean forward in his seat, peering with the strange set look I had recently seen so often in his eyes.  I followed his gaze and, as I looked, the man in the red car put his arm around the girl’s neck and she raised her chin and they kissed.  All of us saw it.  Jack chuckled and blew his horn violently.  The pair drew apart suddenly and the man tried quickly to get away, but Jack with a laugh had already put on the power and we passed them before they could get up speed.  The girl hid her face but the man was Channing Lloyd.

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Paradise Garden from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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