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The Beloved Woman   By: (1880-1966)

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[Transcriber's Note: Hyphenation standardized. Archaic and variable spelling was preserved as printed. Missing quotation marks were added to standardize usage. Otherwise, the editor's punctuation style was preserved. Text in italics is enclosed by underscores ( italics ).]

THE BELOVED WOMAN

BY KATHLEEN NORRIS

AUTHOR OF "Harriet and the Piper," etc.

A. L. BURT COMPANY

Publishers New York

Published by arrangement with Doubleday, Page & Company Printed in U. S. A.

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY KATHLEEN NORRIS

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN

COPYRIGHT 1920, 1921, BY THE PICTORIAL REVIEW COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES AT THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y.

TO MARY O'SULLIVAN SUTRO

For gifts beyond all counting and esteeming, For kindness than which Heaven's self is not kinder, For the old days of tears, and smiles, and dreaming, This in acknowledgment, and in reminder.

CHAPTER I

For forty eight hours the snow storm had been raging unabated over New York. After a wild and windy Thursday night the world had awakened to a mysterious whirl of white on Friday morning, and to a dark, strange day of steady snowing. Now, on Saturday, dirty snow was banked and heaped in great blocks everywhere, and still the clean, new flakes fluttered and twirled softly down, powdering and feathering every little ledge and sill, blanketing areas in spotless white, capping and hooding every unsightly hydrant and rubbish can with exquisite and lavish beauty. Shovels had clinked on icy sidewalks all the first day, and even during the night the sound of shouting and scraping had not ceased for a moment, and their more and more obvious helplessness in the teeth of the storm awakened at last in the snow shovellers, and in the men and women who gasped and stumbled along the choked thoroughfares, a sort of heady exhilaration in the emergency, a tendency to be proud of the storm, and of its effect upon their humdrum lives. They laughed and shouted as they battled with it, and as Nature's great barrier of snow threw down the little barriers of convention and shyness. Men held out their hands to slipping and stumbling women, caught them by their shoulders, panted to them that this was a storm, all right, this was the worst yet! Girls, staggering in through the revolving glass doors of the big department stores, must stand laughing helplessly for a few seconds in the gush of reviving warmth, while they beat their wet gloves together, regaining breath and self possession, and straightened outraged millinery.

Traffic was congested, deserted trucks and motor cars lined the side streets, the subways were jammed, the surface cars helpless. Here and there long lines of the omnibuses stood blocked in snow, and the press frantically heralded impending shortages of milk and coal, reiterating pessimistically: "No relief in sight."

But late in Saturday morning there was a sudden lull. The snow stopped, the wind fell, and the pure, cold air was motionless and sweet. The city emerged exhausted from its temporary blanketing, and from the buried benches of Bowling Green to the virgin sweep of pure white beyond Van Cortlandt Park, began its usual January fight with the snow.

A handsome, rosy old lady, wrapped regally in furs, and with a maid picking her way cautiously beside her, was one of the first to take advantage of the sudden change in the weather. Mrs. Melrose had been held captive for almost two days, first by Thursday's inclement winds, and then by the blizzard. Her motor car was useless, and although at sixty she was an extremely youthful and vigorous woman, her daughters and granddaughter had threatened to use force rather than let her risk the danger of an expedition on foot, at least while the storm continued... Continue reading book >>




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