The Vehement Flame eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 364 pages of information about The Vehement Flame.
of air.  And all the while that he was on the Greenleaf job—­in Pullmans, sitting in hotel lobbies writing letters, looking through title and probate records—­his own affairs raced and raged in his thoughts; they were summed up in one word:  “Edith.”  He could not get away from Edith!  He tripped a Greenleaf trustee into an admission (and he thought, “so long as she never suspects that I love her, there’s no harm in going along as we always have").  Then he conceded a point to the Greenleaf interests (and said to himself, “her hair on her shoulders that day on the lawn was like a nimbus around the head of a saint.  How she’d hate that word ’saint’!").  His chuckle made one of the Greenleaf heirs think that Weston’s representative was a good sort;—­“pleasant fellow!” But Maurice, looking “pleasant,” was thinking:  “I’d about sell my soul to kiss her hair ...  Oh, I must stop this kind of thing!  I swear it’s worse than the Lily and Jacky business....”  Then he signed a deed, and the Greenleaf people felt they had made a good thing of it—­but Maurice’s telegram that the deed was signed, caused rejoicing in the Weston office!  “Curtis got ahead of ’em!” said Mr. Weston.  While he was writing that triumphant telegram Maurice was wondering:  “Was John Bennett a complete idiot? ...  If things had been different would Edith have ... cared?” For himself, he, personally, didn’t care “a damn,” whether Weston got ahead of Greenleaf or Greenleaf beat Weston.  His own affairs engrossed him:  “my job,” he was telling himself, “is to see that Eleanor doesn’t suffer any more, poor girl!  And Edith shall never know.  And I’ll make a decent man of Jacky—­not a fool, like his father.”  So he wrote his victorious dispatch, and the Weston office congratulated itself.

Maurice had been very grateful for his fortnight of absence from everybody, except the Greenleaf heirs; grateful for a solitude of trains and lawyers’ offices.  Because, in solitude, he could, with entirely hopeless courage, face the future.  He was facing it unswervingly the day he reached Chicago, where he was to get some final signatures; he came into the warm lobby of the hotel, glad to escape the rampaging lake wind, and while he was registering the hotel clerk produced the telegrams which had been held for him.  The first, from Mr. Weston, “Drop Greenleaf,” bewildered him until he read the other, “Eleanor has had an accident.”  Then he ran his pen through his name, asked for a time-table, and sent a peremptory wire to Mrs. Newbolt saying that he was on his way home, and asking that full particulars be telegraphed to him at a certain point on his journey.  “Let me know just what happened, and how she is,” he telegraphed.  “It must be serious,” he thought, “to send for me!”

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The Vehement Flame from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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