Jacqueline of Golden River eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about Jacqueline of Golden River.

I was not sure that this surmise was not due to an over-active imagination, but I was determined to get away from the man’s scrutiny, so I called a taxicab and gave the driver my address.

“Go through some side streets and go fast,” I said.

The fellow nodded.  He understood my motive, though I fear he may have misinterpreted the circumstances.  We entered, and the girl nestled back against the comfortable cushions, and we drove at a furious speed, dodging down side streets at a rate that should have defied pursuit.

During the drive I instructed my companion emphatically.

“Since you have no friends here, you must have confidence in me, mademoiselle,” I said.

“And you are my friend?  Well, monsieur, be sure I trust you,” she answered.

“You must listen to me attentively, then,” I continued.  “You must not admit anybody to the apartment until I ring to-morrow.  I have the key, and I shall arrive at nine and ring, and then unlock the door.  But take no notice of the bell.  You understand?”

“Yes, monsieur,” she answered wearily.  Her eyelids drooped; I saw that she was very sleepy.

When the taxicab deposited us in front of the house, I glanced hastily up and down the road.  There was another cab at the east end of the street, but I could not discern if it were approaching me or stationary.  I opened the front door quickly and admitted my companion, then preceded her up the uncarpeted stairs to my little apartment on the top floor.  I was the only tenant in the house, and therefore there would be no cause for embarrassment.

As I opened the door of my apartment the dog pushed past me.  Again I had forgotten it; but it had not forgotten its mistress.

I looked inside my bare little rooms.  It was hard to say good-by.

“Till to-morrow, mademoiselle,” I said.  “And won’t you tell me your name?”

She drew off her glove and put one hand in mine.

“Jacqueline,” she answered.  “And yours?”

“Paul,” I said.

Au revoir, Monsieur Paul, then, and take my gratitude with you for your goodness.”

I let her hand fall and hurried down the stairs, confused and choking, for there was a wedding-ring upon her finger.

CHAPTER II

BACK IN THE ROOM

The situation had become more preposterous than ever.  Two hours before it would have been unimaginable; one hour ago I had merely been offering aid to a young woman in distress; now she was occupying my rooms and I was hurrying along Tenth Street, careless as to my destination, and feeling as though the whole world was crumbling about my head because she wore a wedding-ring.

Certainly I was not in love with her, so far as I could analyze my emotions.  I had been conscious only of a desire to help her, merging by degrees into pity for her friendlessness.

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Jacqueline of Golden River from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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