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The Best Policy   By: (1863-1920)

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[Illustration: “Mrs. Vincent, I have found the insurance policy” Page 114 ]

The Best Policy


Author of “The Spoilsman,” “Policeman Flynn,” etc.

Illustrated By GEORGE BREHM

A. L. BURT COMPANY Publishers New York

Copyright 1905 The Bobbs Merrill Company





An Incidental Comedy 1 An Incidental Question 25 An Incidental Tragedy 47 An Incidental Speculation 73 An Incidental Favor 99 An Incidental Error 123 An Incidental Failure 149 An Incidental Scheme 167 An Incidental Courtship 187 An Incidental Sacrifice 207 An Incidental Discovery 229 An Incidental Grievance 251



Naturally, when Harry Beckford married he began to take a more serious view of life. If there is anything at all of thoughtfulness and consideration in a man, marriage brings it out: he begins to plan. He has some one dependent upon him, some one for whom he must provide. That he should trust to luck before was solely his affair; that he should trust to luck now is quite another matter.

In the case of Beckford, as in the cases of most other young men, this feeling was of gradual growth. He was optimistic and happy; his future looked long and bright; he had ample time in which to accumulate a comfortable fortune; but—he wasn’t even beginning. He and his wife so enjoyed life that they were spending all he made. It wasn’t a large sum, but it was enough to make them comfortable and contented, enough to give them all reasonable pleasures. Later—he thought of this only in a hazy, general sort of way—they would begin to save. There was plenty of time for this, for they were both young, and he had proved himself of sufficient value to his employer to make his rapid advancement practically certain. The employer was a big corporation, the general manager of which had taken a deep personal interest in him, and the opportunities were limitless.

But the feeling of responsibility that came to him with marriage gradually took practical form, perhaps because the girl who sat opposite him at the breakfast table was so very impractical. She was loving, lovable, delightfully whimsical, but also unreasoningly impractical in many ways. Before marriage she never had known a care; after marriage her cares were much like those of a child with a doll house—they gave zest to life but could be easily put aside. If the maid proved recalcitrant, it was annoying, but they could dine at a restaurant and go to the theater afterward, and Harry would help her with breakfast the next morning. Harry was so awkward, but so willing, that it all became a huge joke. Harry had not passed the stage where he would “kiss the cook” in these circumstances, and an occasional hour in the kitchen is not so bad when there is a fine handsome young man there, to be ordered about and told to “behave himself.” So even marriage had not yet awakened Isabel Beckford to the stern realities of life.

It was her impracticalness, her delightful dependence, that finally brought Harry to the point of serious thought. What would she do, if anything happened to him? Her father had been successful but improvident: he would leave hardly enough for her mother alone to live in modest comfort; and, besides, Harry was not the kind of youth to put his responsibilities on another... Continue reading book >>

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