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Linda Lee, Incorporated A Novel   By: (1879-1933)

Linda Lee, Incorporated A Novel by Louis Joseph Vance

First Page:

LINDA LEE INCORPORATED

A Novel

By LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE

NEW YORK E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY 681 FIFTH AVENUE

Copyright 1921 1922 By LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE

THE COAST OF COCKAIGNE Copyright 1922 By THE MCCALL COMPANY

All rights reserved including those of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian

To HARRY PAYNE BURTON because he made me write it

AUTHOR'S NOTE

There are no portraits of living persons in the following pages.

The incidents related in illustration of present day methods of motion picture production are, on the other hand, with one minor exception, drawn from first hand observation in the California studios.

Under the title of THE COAST OF COCKAIGNE, an abridged version of this story was published serially, during the Winter of 1921 22, in McCall's Magazine.

LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE

Darien, 20 January, 1922.

LINDA LEE INC.

I

"Mrs. Bellamy Druce! Rather a mouthful, that."

"Is that why you make a face over it?"

"Didn't expect me to relish it, did you, Cinda?"

"I'm afraid I wasn't thinking of you at all, Dobbin, when I took it."

"Meaning, if you had been, you might have thought twice before taking?"

"No fear: I was much too madly in love with Bel."

"Was?"

"Dobbin!"

"Sorry didn't mean to be impertinent."

"I don't believe you. Still, I'm so fond of you, I'll forgive you this once."

"Won't have to twice. I only well, naturally, I wanted to know whether or not it had taken."

"Taken?"

"Your matrimonial inoculation."

"I think one may safely say it has. I've grown so old and wise in marriage, it really seems funny to remember I was ever an innocent."

"Four years "

"Going on five."

"It's seemed a long time to me, too, Cinda five years since these eyes were last made glad by the sight of you."

"At least, time hasn't impaired your knack at pretty speeches."

"Nor your power to inspire them."

"I'm not so sure. To myself I seem ever so much older." Lucinda Druce turned full face to the man on her left, anxiety feigned or real puckering the delicately pencilled brows. "Doesn't it show at all, Dobbin, the ruthless march of advancing years?"

The man narrowed critically his eyes and withheld his verdict as if in doubt; but a corner of his mouth was twitching.

"You are lovelier today than ever, lovelier even than the memories of you that have quickened my dreams "

"All through these years? How sweet and what utter tosh! You know perfectly well your heart hasn't been true to Poll "

"Unfortunately, the damn' thing has. Oh, I'm not pretending I didn't do my level best to forget, tried so hard I thought I had won out. But it only needed this meeting tonight to prove that the others were merely anodynes for a pain that rankled on, as mortal hurts do always, 'way down beneath the influence of the opiate."

"Truly, Dobbin, you've lost nothing of your ancient eloquence. That last speech quite carried me back to the days when, more than once, you all but talked me off my feet and into your arms."

"Pity I ever stopped talking."

"I wonder!"

"You wonder ?"

"Whether it's really a pity you never quite succeeded in talking me into believing I loved you enough to marry you, whether we wouldn't all have been happier, you, Bel, and I."

"Then you aren't altogether "

"Hush! I haven't said so."

"No; but you've had time to find out."

"Perhaps...."

"And you know your secrets are safe with me."

"That's why I'm going to say what I am going to say."

"O Lord! now I shall catch it."

"Don't be afraid, Dobbin, I'm not going to scold. But I know you so well, how direct and persistent you are yes, and how sincere it's only fair to tell you, the traditions of our kind to the contrary notwithstanding, I'm still in love with my husband."

For a moment Richard Daubeney was silent, staring at his plate. Then he roused with a light hearted shrug and smile... Continue reading book >>




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