The Gay Cockade eBook

Temple Bailey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about The Gay Cockade.

But he bore her no grudge and was still her friend.  Henry, too, was her friend.  He had not yet tried his fate with Jane, but he still dreamed of her as lovely in his long car and a fur coat.  And he hoped to make his dreams come true.

Tommy had set aside all selfish hopes.  He had a feeling that Jane liked O-liver.  He loved them both.  If he could not have Jane he wanted O-liver to have her.  He kept a wary eye therefore on Henry and Atwood.

It was Tommy who found out first about Fluffy Hair.  She had never cared to have the world know of her marriage.  She had felt that those who loved her on the screen would prefer her fancy free.  But it was known at the studio, and some one drifting up to Tinkersfield recognized O-liver and told Tommy.

Tommy for once in his life was stern.  “He oughta of told Jane.  Somebody’s got to tell her.”

So the next day he took it on himself—­feeling a traitor to his friend.

“Jane,” he said, sitting on a high stool in her little sandwich shop—­“Jane, O-liver’s married.”

Jane on the other side of the spotless counter gave him her earnest glance.  “Yes,” she said; “he told me.”

“He did?  Well, I’m glad.  It wasn’t a thing to keep, was it?”

“No,” said Jane; “it wasn’t.  But you mustn’t blame him, Tommy, and now that we both know, everything is all right, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Tommy agreed; “if Tillotson doesn’t get hold of it.”

For it had been decided that O-liver was to run against Tillotson in the next election, and beat him if he could.

O-liver had told Jane about his marriage on the night before Tommy came to her.  He had asked her to ride with him.  “If you’ll go this afternoon at four you shall have Mary Pick, and I’ll take Tommy’s horse.”

They had carried their lunch with them and had eaten it at sunset in a lovely spot where the canon opened out to show a shining yellow stretch of sea, with the hills like black serpents running into it.

Yet it was dark, with the stars above them and the sea a faint gray below, before O-liver said to her what he had brought her there to say.

He told her of his father and mother.  Of Fluffy Hair.

“I waked up at last to the fact that I was letting two women support me.  So I came here and began to work at fifteen dollars a week.  And for the first time in my life I respected myself—­and was content.  And then I met you and saw things ahead.  You made me see them.”

He turned toward her in the dark.  “Jane, I’m finding that I love you—­mightily.”  He tried to speak lightly.  “And I’m not free.  And because I love you I’ve got to keep away.  But I want you to understand that my friendship is the same—­that it will always be the same.  But I’ve got to keep away.”

She was very honest about it.  “I didn’t dream that you felt like that—­about me.”

Project Gutenberg
The Gay Cockade from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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