Beyond the City eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 150 pages of information about Beyond the City.

“Thank you, sir.  If I borrowed from any one it would be from you.  But my father has this very sum, five thousand pounds, and, as I tell him, I owe him so much that I have no compunction about owing him more.”

“No compunction!  Surely there are some sacrifices which a son should not allow his parents to make.”

“Sacrifices!  What do you mean?”

“Is it possible that you do not know how this money has been obtained?”

“I give you my word, Doctor Walker, that I have no idea.  I asked my father, but he refused to tell me.”

“I thought not,” said the Doctor, the gloom clearing from his brow.  “I was sure that you were not a man who, to clear yourself from a little money difficulty, would sacrifice the happiness of your mother and the health of your father.”

“Good gracious! what do you mean?”

“It is only right that you should know.  That money represents the commutation of your father’s pension.  He has reduced himself to poverty, and intends to go to sea again to earn a living.”

“To sea again!  Impossible!”

“It is the truth.  Charles Westmacott has told Ida.  He was with him in the City when he took his poor pension about from dealer to dealer trying to sell it.  He succeeded at last, and hence the money.”

“He has sold his pension!” cried Harold, with his hands to his face.  “My dear old dad has sold his pension!” He rushed from the room, and burst wildly into the presence of his parents once more.  “I cannot take it, father,” he cried.  “Better bankruptcy than that.  Oh, if I had only known your plan!  We must have back the pension.  Oh, mother, mother, how could you think me capable of such selfishness?  Give me the cheque, dad, and I will see this man to-night, for I would sooner die like a dog in the ditch than touch a penny of this money.”

——­

CHAPTER XVI.

A MIDNIGHT VISITOR.

Now all this time, while the tragi-comedy of life was being played in these three suburban villas, while on a commonplace stage love and humor and fears and lights and shadows were so swiftly succeeding each other, and while these three families, drifted together by fate, were shaping each other’s destinies and working out in their own fashion the strange, intricate ends of human life, there were human eyes which watched over every stage of the performance, and which were keenly critical of every actor on it.  Across the road beyond the green palings and the close-cropped lawn, behind the curtains of their creeper-framed windows, sat the two old ladies, Miss Bertha and Miss Monica Williams, looking out as from a private box at all that was being enacted before them.  The growing friendship of the three families, the engagement of Harold Denver with Clara Walker, the engagement of Charles Westmacott with her sister, the dangerous fascination which the widow exercised over the Doctor,

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Beyond the City from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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