The After House eBook

Mary Roberts Rinehart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 141 pages of information about The After House.

“Now?  Why, now I go to jail in earnest.”

“You have been very good to us,” she said wistfully.  “We have all been strained and nervous.  Maybe you have not thought I noticed or —­or appreciated what you were doing; but I have, always.  You have given all of yourself for us.  You have not slept or eaten.  And now you are going to be imprisoned.  It isn’t just!”

I tried to speak lightly, to reassure her.

“Don’t be unhappy about that,” I said.  “A nice, safe jail, where one may sleep and eat, and eat and sleep—­oh, I shall be very comfortable!  And if you wish to make me exceedingly happy, you will see that they let me have a razor.”

But, to my surprise, she buried her face in her arms.  I could not believe at first that she was crying.  The policeman had wandered across to the other rail, and stood looking out at the city lights, his back to us.  I put my hand out to touch her soft hair, then drew it back.  I could not take advantage of her sympathy, of the hysterical excitement of that last night on the Ella.  I put my hands in my pockets, and held them there, clenched, lest, in spite of my will, I reach out to take her in my arms.

CHAPTER XIX

I TAKE THE STAND

And now I come, with some hesitation, to the trial.  Hesitation, because I relied on McWhirter to keep a record.  And McWhirter, from his notes, appears to have been carried away at times by excitement, and either jotted down rows of unintelligible words, or waited until evening and made up his notes, like a woman’s expense account, from a memory never noticeable for accuracy.

At dawn, the morning after we anchored, Charlie Jones roused me, grinning.

“Friend of yours over the rail, Leslie,” he said.  “Wants to take you ashore!”

I knew no one in Philadelphia except the chap who had taken me yachting once, and I felt pretty certain that he would not associate Leslie the football player with Leslie the sailor on the Ella.  I went reluctantly to the rail, and looked down.  Below me, just visible in the river mist of the early morning, was a small boat from which two men were looking up.  One was McWhirter!

“Hello, old top,” he cried.  “Or is it you behind that beard?”

“It’s I, all right, Mac,” I said, somewhat huskily.  What with seeing him again, his kindly face behind its glasses, the cheerful faith in me which was his contribution to our friendship,—­even the way he shook his own hand in default of mine,—­my throat tightened.  Here, after all, was home and a friend.

He looked up at the rail, and motioned to a rope that hung there.

“Get your stuff and come with us for breakfast,” he said.  “You look as if you hadn’t eaten since you left.”

“I’m afraid I can’t, Mac.”

“They’re not going to hold you, are they?”

“For a day or so, yes.”

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Project Gutenberg
The After House from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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