By George Barr McCutcheon
15 Jan, 2019
Excerpt.......A tall young man sped swiftly up the wide stone steps leading to the doorway of a mansion in one of Chicago's most fashionable avenues. After pushing the button sharply he jerked out his watch and guessed at the time by the dull red lig
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Excerpt.......A tall young man sped swiftly up the wide stone steps leading to the doorway of a mansion in one of Chicago's most fashionable avenues. After pushing the button sharply he jerked out his watch and guessed at the time by the dull red light from the panel in the door. Then he hastily brushed from the sleeve of his coat the telltale billiard chalk, whose presence reminded him that a general survey might be a wise precaution. He was rubbing a white streak from his trousers' leg when the door flew open and the butler admitted him to the hallway. This personage relieved him of his hat, coat and stick and announced:
"Miss Vernon is w'itin' for you, sir."
"How the devil did I happen to let eight o'clock strike nine before I knew it?" muttered the visitor. He was at the drawing-room door as he concluded this self-addressed reproach, extending both hands toward the young woman who came from the fireplace to meet him.
"How late you are, Hugh," she cried, half resentfully. He bent forward and kissed her.
"Late? It isn't late, dear. I said I couldn't come before eight, didn't I? Well, it's eight, isn't it?"
"It's nearly seventy minutes past eight, sir. I've been waiting and watching the hands on the clock for just sixty minutes."
"I never saw such a perfect crank about keeping time as that grandfatherly clock of yours. It hasn't skipped a second in two centuries, I'll swear. You see, I was playing off the odd game with Tom Ditton."
He dropped lazily into a big arm-chair, drove his hands into his pockets and stretched out his long legs toward the grate.
"You might have come at eight, Hugh, on this night if no other. You knew what important things we have to consider." Miss Vernon, tall and graceful, stood before him with her back to the fire. She was exceedingly pretty, this girl whom Hugh had kissed.
"I'm awfully sorry, Grace; but you know how it is when a fellow's in a close, hard game--especially with a blow-hard like Tom Ditton."
"If I forgive you again, I'm afraid you'll prove a begging husband." Less