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The Disturbing Charm   By:

The Disturbing Charm by Berta Ruck

First Page:

THE DISTURBING CHARM

BY BERTA RUCK

Author of "In Another Girl's Shoes," "The Three of Hearts," "The Years for Rachel," etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY EDWARD C. CASWELL

[Illustration]

NEW YORK DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 1919

COPYRIGHT, 1919 BY DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC.

VAIL BALLOU COMPANY BINGHAMTON AND NEW YORK

TO THE EVER GAY AND GALLANT MEMORY OF WARREN FENN SMITH SECOND LIEUTENANT ROYAL FLYING CORPS SHOT DOWN WITH HIS OBSERVER IN ACTION JANUARY 18, 1918, AGED 18

"They carry back bright to the Coiner the mintage of man, The lads who will die in their glory and never be old"

Housman

[Illustration: Here he found himself kneeling on the carpet at Olwen's feet. ]

CONTENTS

PART I

I THE COMING OF THE CHARM

II THE ACCEPTING OF THE CHARM

III THE LAUNCHING OF THE CHARM

IV THE CHARM BEGINS TO WORK

V FURTHER PLANS FOR THE CHARM

VI THE CLUTCHING OF THE CHARM

VII THE SPREADING OF THE CHARM

VIII THE FIRST ENGAGEMENT BY THE CHARM

IX UNFORESEEN EFFECT OF THE CHARM

X DIVAGATIONS OF THE CHARM

XI THE FEASTING OF THE CHARM

XII MOONLIGHT AND THE CHARM

XIII WILD FIRE AND THE CHARM

XIV CLOUDS UPON THE CHARM

XV THE LOSING OF THE CHARM

XVI THE COUNTER CHARM

XVII DROP SCENE

PART II

I THE CHARM NEGLECTED

II THE LAST ALLIES

III RECOVERY OF THE CHARM

IV THE VOICE OF THE CHARMER

V THE BEST GIRL FRIEND

VI THE CHARM REMEMBERED

VII PETROL AND THE CHARM

VIII RATIONS AND THE CHARM

IX CHAMPAGNE AND THE CHARM

X HER BRIDAL NIGHT

XI HIS BRIDAL NIGHT

XII SHRAPNEL AND THE CHARM

XIII VIGIL

XIV HOME AND THE CHARM

XV THE CHARM ACKNOWLEDGED

POSTSCRIPT. THE CHARM CONFESSED

ILLUSTRATIONS

Here he found himself kneeling on the carpet at Olwen's feet

"It all came again. Oh, Lord! I thought I was crashing "

She stood there as if frozen and said "Away from here!" and in her heart exclaimed, "Away from him!"

And there was nothing to tell them what it was, the Sachet of the Disturbing Charm

PART I

CHAPTER I

THE COMING OF THE CHARM

"Yet I am bewitched with the rogue's company; if the rascal had not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged; it could not be else; I have drunk medicines."

Shakespeare.

The letter said:

" ... And this discovery, sent herewith, will mark an Epoch in the affairs of the world!

" Half the trouble in that world arises from the fact that human beings are continually falling in Love ... with the wrong people. Sir, have you ever wondered why this should be? "

The old Professor of Botany stood looking at this mysterious typewritten letter, addressed to him, with the rest of his large mail, at the hotel in Western France where he was staying in the fourth autumn of the War with his young niece and secretary. He smiled as he came to the last words. "Had he ever wondered!" How many nights of his youth had been wasted in stormily "wondering ?" Strangers who write to celebrities do stumble on intimate matters sometimes.

He read on:

" Why should one girl set her affections upon the man who of all others will make her the worst possible husband? All her friends foresee, and warn her. She herself realizes it vaguely. But to her own destruction she loves him. What has caused this catastrophe? Some small and secret Force; one microbe can achieve a pestilence. "

"Yes, indeed," murmured Professor Howel Jones, nodding his massive old white head. He had been on the point of tossing the letter into the waste paper basket, but something made him read on.

" Another young man, why must he desire the one pretty woman who can never give him happiness? She is 'pure as ice, chaste as snow' ... dull as ditch water; he, full of fire and dreams. He swears he'll teach her to respond to Passion; marries her... Continue reading book >>




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