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Living Up to Billy   By: (1877-1945)

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LIVING UP TO BILLY

[Illustration: "I NEAR WENT NUTTY, AND MADE AN AWFUL FOOL OF MYSELF." Page 137]

LIVING UP TO BILLY

BY ELIZABETH COOPER

AUTHOR OF "MY LADY OF THE CHINESE COURTYARD," "SAYONARA," ETC.

[Illustration]

NEW YORK FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1915, by FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

LIVING UP TO BILLY

I

Dear Kate :

Two years! Only two years, what do you think of it! Why, when I heard the judge say two years, I nearly fell off the bench. You were caught with the goods, and he had your record with its two stretches right before him, yet he only gave you two years. You told me yourself you thought you would get at least five. We tried to dope it out up to the room, and kind of figured that he had it in for the prosecuting attorney, and you got the benefit. Well, if you ain't singing to night in the tombs, you orter be. And two years, old girl, will go by so quick that when you see the lights of Broadway again, you won't even see a change. You can get a lot off for good behavior, and you know how to work all the con games there is to be worked, so as it will make it easy for you, cause it ain't as if it was your first time. Put on a good face, and don't get sulky and you will be out before you have time to remember you was ever sent up.

Now, I will come up and see you just as often as I can, and I will get you a letter regular once a month anyway, and I will tell you all that is doing. Oh, Kate, it kinda breaks me all up to think of you being put away again. You're all I got, and I don't know what I will do without you. That last stretch of yours I nearly died. You and me have just got each other and we have been mighty close, more so than most sisters I think. You have not always treated me white, sometimes you have been mean, but it was not your fault. I suppose it is hard in a girl like you to have a sister left on her hands, and I was only a kid when you had to take me over and was lots of trouble to you. You have been good in your way, and Kate, I want you to know when you are setting alone at night, that I am just counting the days till you come back to me.

Yours, Nan .

II

Dear Kate :

I didn't write you before cause I wanted to be able to tell you what we are going to do about the kid. Jim was up and we talked it all over and I said I would take him. I don't want none of Jim's friends to have him cause he ain't no good, Kate, and I have always told you so. I made him promise if I take Billy that he will leave him alone. I won't have him hanging around and I don't want Billy to see nothing more of him than he has to. I blame him for all that has come to you. Before you married him and got in with his crowd, you was on the level, but it ain't no use kicking now, it is all done; only I want him to keep his hands off Billy. There is a roomer on the floor below that has got a little girl who will come in and kinda look after Billy when I am out. I can take him out for a walk every day and perhaps I can get him in one of those kids' schools for two or three hours in the afternoon.

Jim brought him up at night, and he was all sleepy and soft and warm and cuddled up to me just like a little kitten. I never noticed before how pretty he was, but I watched him as he lay there with his red lips half open and his long black lashes laying on his cheeks and his hair all curling around his face, and I just could not go to sleep for looking at him. He is too pale, I think. Seems to me he ought to have more color in his cheeks. I suppose it is cause he hasn't had enough outdoor exercise that babies should have. Roomers should not have kids. It don't seem just right to shut a baby up in four walls when he would like to run and play outside with other young things. But I am going to do the best I can by him, so don't you worry, he will be all right.

Jim is pretty sore about you getting pinched, and says he is going to leave town. The crowd is kinda scared, and I think they are going to scatter... Continue reading book >>




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