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The Letter of the Contract   By: (1859-1928)

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First Page:

[Illustration: See p. 29 "Can't you see that my heart's breaking, too?" She looked him in the face, shaking her head, sadly. "No, I can't see that."]

THE LETTER OF THE CONTRACT

BY BASIL KING

AUTHOR OF The Inner Shrine

ILLUSTRATED

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON MCMXIV

BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE INNER SHRINE"

BASIL KING

THE LETTER OF THE CONTRACT. Ill'd THE WAY HOME. Illustrated THE WILD OLIVE. Illustrated THE INNER SHRINE. Illustrated THE STREET CALLED STRAIGHT. Ill'd LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER. Post 8vo IN THE GARDEN OF CHARITY. Post 8vo THE STEPS OF HONOR. Post 8vo THE GIANT'S STRENGTH. Post 8vo

HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK COPYRIGHT, 1914. BY HARPER & BROTHERS PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PUBLISHED AUGUST, 1914

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I. TRANSGRESSION 1 II. RESENTMENT 41 III. REPROACH 83 IV. DANGER 134 V. PENALTY 160

ILLUSTRATIONS

"Can't You See that My Heart's Breaking, Too?" She Looked Him in the Face, Shaking Her Head, Sadly. "No, I Can't See That" Frontispiece

He Turned from the Girl to His Wife. "I'm Willing to Explain Anything You Like as Far as I Can" Page 26

"Oh, Chip, Go Away! I Can't Stand Any More Now." "Do You Mean that You'll See Me Later when We're in London?" " 155

Edith was Standing in the Doorway, the Man Behind Her. "Chip, Mr. Lacon Knows We Met in England" " 192

THE LETTER OF THE CONTRACT

I

TRANSGRESSION

It was strange to think that if, on finishing her coffee in her room, she had looked in on the children, as she generally did, instead of going down to the drawing room to write a note, her whole life might have been different. "Why didn't I?" was the question she often asked herself in the succeeding years, only to follow it with the reflection: "But perhaps it would have happened in any case. Since the fact was there, I must have come to know it in the long run."

The note was an unimportant one. She could have sent it by a servant at any minute of the day. The very needlessness of writing it at once, so that her husband could post it as he went to his office, gave to the act something of the force of fate.

Everything that morning, when she came to think of it, had something of the force of fate. Why, on entering the drawing room, hadn't she gone straight to her desk, according to her intention, if it wasn't that fate intervened? As a matter of fact, she went to the oriel window looking down into Fifth Avenue, with vague thoughts of the weather. It was one of those small Scotch corner windows that show you both sides of the street at once. It was so much the favorite conning spot of the family that she advanced to it from habit.

And yet, if she had gone to her desk, that girl might have disappeared before the lines of the note were penned. As it was, the girl was there, standing as she had stood on other occasions three or four, at least between the two little iron posts that spaced off the opening for foot passengers into the Park. She was looking up at the house in the way Edith had noticed before not with the scrutiny of one who wishes to see, but with the forlorn patience of the unobtrusive creature hoping to be seen.

In a neat gray suit of the fashion of 1904 and squirrel furs she was the more unobtrusive because of a background of light snow. She was pathetically unobtrusive... Continue reading book >>




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