The Vehement Flame eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 364 pages of information about The Vehement Flame.

The older woman was trembling, but she spoke calmly:  “Eleanor, dear, you must live for Maurice, not—­die for him.”

“Promise me,” said Eleanor, “you won’t tell him?”

“Of course I won’t!” said Mrs. Houghton, with elaborate cheerfulness.  She kissed her, and went downstairs, feeling very queer in her knees.  She paused at the parlor door to say to Mrs. Newbolt and Edith that she was going out to do an errand for Eleanor; “I hope Maurice will get back soon,” she said.  “I don’t like Eleanor’s looks.”  Then she went to get that letter which Maurice “must not see.”  As she walked along the street she was still tingling with the shock of having her own theories brought home to her.  “Thank God,” Mary Houghton said, “that nothing happened!”

The maid who opened the door at Maurice’s house was evidently excited, but not about her mistress.  “Oh, Mrs. Houghton!” she said, “we done our best, but he wouldn’t take a bite!—­and I declare I don’t know what Mrs. Curtis will say.  He just wouldn’t eat, and this morning he up and died—­and me offering him a chop!” Bridget wept with real distress.  “Mrs. Houghton, please tell her we done our best; he just smelled his chop—­and died.  You see, he hasn’t eat a thing, without she gave it to him, for—­oh, more ’n a month!”

Mary Houghton went into the library, where the fire was out, and the dust on tables and chairs bore witness to the fact that Bridget had devoted herself to Bingo; the room was gloomy, and smelled of soot.  Little Bingo lay, stiff and chill, on the sofa; on a plate beside him was a chop rimmed in cold grease,—­poor little, loving, jealous, old Bingo!  “I hope it won’t upset Mrs. Curtis,” Mrs. Houghton told the maid; then gave directions about the stark little body.  She found the letter in Eleanor’s desk, and went back to Mrs. Newbolt’s.  “Love,” she thought, “is as strong as death; stronger!  Bingo—­and Eleanor.”

CHAPTER XXXV

Maurice, followed by telegrams that never quite overtook him, did, some forty-eight hours later, get the news that Eleanor had “had an accident,” and was at Mrs. Newbolt’s, who thought he had “better return immediately.”  His business was not quite finished, but it did not need Mr. Weston’s laconic wire, “Drop Greenleaf matters and come back,” to start him on the next train for Mercer.  He had been away nearly two weeks—­two terrible weeks, of facing himself; two weeks of rebellion, and submission; of tumultuous despair and quiet acceptance.  He had looked faithfully—­and very shrewdly—­into the “Greenleaf matters”; he had turned one or two sharp corners, with entirely honest cleverness, and he was taking back to Mercer some concessions which old Weston had slipped up on!  Yes, he had done a darned good job, he told himself, lounging in the smoking compartment of one parlor car or another, or strolling up and down station platforms for a breath

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The Vehement Flame from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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