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Harold MacGrath
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about Half a Rogue.
evenly balanced; her son had the same right that his father had; it was natural that he should desire a mate and a home of his own; but, nevertheless, it was bitter.  That his choice had been an actress caused her no alarm.  Her son was a gentleman; he would never marry beneath him; it was love, not infatuation; and love is never love unless it can find something noble and good to rest upon.  It was not the actress, no; the one great reiterating question was:  did this brilliant woman love her son?  Was it the man or his money?  She had gone to New York to meet Miss Challoner.  She had steeled her heart against all those subtle advances, such as an actress knows how to make.  She had gone to conquer, but had been conquered.  For when Kate Challoner determined to charm she was not to be resisted.  She had gone up to the mother and daughter and put her arms around them.  “I knew that I should love you both.  How could I help it?  And please be kind to me:  God has been in giving me your son.”  Ah, if she had only said:  “I shall love you because I love him!” But there was doubt, haunting doubt.  If the glamour of married life wore out, and the craving for publicity returned, this woman might easily wreck her son’s life and the lives of those who loved him.

She was very glad when the service came to an end and the stir and rustle announced the departure of the congregation.

At the door she found Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene.  She rather expected to find her.  They were enemies of old.

“Shall I congratulate you?” asked the formidable person.

Many of the congregation stopped.  They hadn’t the courage of Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene, but they lacked none of her curiosity.

“You may, indeed,” returned Mrs. Bennington serenely.  She understood perfectly well; but she was an old hand at woman’s war.  “My son is very fortunate.  I shall love my new daughter dearly, for she loves my son.”

“She is just splendid!” said Patty, with sparkling eyes.  How she longed to scratch the powder from Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene’s beak-like nose!  Busybody, meddler!  “I never suspected John had such good sense.”

“You are very fortunate,” said Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene.  She smiled, nodded, and passed on into the street.  A truce!

Mr. Franklyn-Haldene, as he entered the carriage after his wife, savagely bit off the end of a cigar.

“What the devil’s the matter with you women, anyhow?” he demanded.

“Franklyn!”

“Why couldn’t you leave her alone?  You’re all a pack of buzzards, waiting for some heart to peck at.  Church!—­bah!”

It was only on rare occasions that Mr. Franklyn-Haldene voiced his sentiments.  On these occasions Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene rarely spoke.  There was a man in her husband she had no desire to rouse.  Mr. Haldene was the exception referred to; he was not afraid of his wife.

They rode homeward in silence.  As they passed the Warrington place, Mr. Haldene again spoke.

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