'Way Down East eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 125 pages of information about 'Way Down East.

She stopped at the postoffice for mail.  There was nothing but the daily paper.  She took it mechanically and turned into the little side street on which they lived.

The old family servant, who still lived with them, met her at the door, and told her that her mother had been sleeping quietly for more than an hour.

“Good gracious, Miss Anna, but you do look ill.  Just step into the parlor and sit down for a minute, and I’ll make you a cup of tea.”

Anna suffered herself to be led into the little room, smiling gratefully at the old servant as she assisted her to remove her hat and jacket.  She took up the paper mechanically and glanced through its contents.  Her eyes fell on the following item, which she followed with hypnotic interest:  “Harvard Student in Disgrace!” was the headline.

“John Langdon, a Harvard student, was arrested on the complaint of Bertha Harris, a young woman, well known in Boston’s gas-light circles, yesterday evening.  They had been dining together at a well-known chop house, when the woman, who appeared to be slightly under the influence of liquor, suddenly arose and declared that Langdon was trying to rob her.

“Both were arrested on the charge of creating a disturbance.  At the State Street Police Station the woman said that Langdon had performed a mock marriage for a fellow student some four months ago.  She had acted as a witness, for which service she was to receive $50.  The money had never been paid.  She stated further that the young man, whom Langdon is alleged to have married, is the son of a wealthy Boston banker, and the young woman who was thus deceived is a young relative of one of Boston’s social leaders.

“Later Bertha Harris withdrew her charges, saying she was intoxicated when she made them.  The affair has created a profound sensation.”

“Mock marriage!” The words whirled before the girl’s eyes in letters of fire.  Bertha Harris!  Yes, that was the name.  It had struck her at the time when Sanderson dropped the ring.  Langdon had said “Bertha Harris has found it.”

The light of her reason seemed to be going out.  From the blackness that engulfed her, the words “mock marriage” rang in her ear like the cry of the drowning.

“God, oh God!” she called and the pent up agony of her wrecked life was in the cry.

They found her senseless a moment later, staring up at the ceiling with glassy eyes, the crumpled paper crushed in her hand.

“She is dead,” wailed her mother.  The old servant wasted no time in words.  She lifted up the fragile form and laid it tenderly on the bed.  Then she raised the window and called to the first passerby to run for the nearest doctor.



  A mother’s love—­how sweet the name! 
  What is a mother’s love? 
  —­A noble, pure and tender flame,
  Enkindled from above,
  To bless a heart of earthly mould;
  The warmest love that can grow cold;
  That is a mother’s love.—­James Montgomery.

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'Way Down East from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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