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Manslaughter   By: (1874-1942)

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First Page:

MANSLAUGHTER

BY ALICE DUER MILLER

AUTHOR OF COME OUT OF THE KITCHEN, Etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY F. R. GRUGER AND WITH SCENES PROM THE PHOTOPLAY A PARAMOUNT PICTURE

GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

Made in the United States of America

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY ALICE DUER MILLER

First Printing, Oct., 1921 Second Printing, Oct., 1921 Third Printing, Nov., 1921 Fourth Printing, Nov., 1921 Fifth Printing, Dec., 1921 Sixth Printing, Jan., 1922 Seventh Printing, Feb., 1922

Printed in U. S. A.

[Illustration: SHE FELT HIS HAND, FIRM AND CONFIDENT ON HER SHOULDER.]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

SHE FELT HIS HAND, FIRM AND CONFIDENT ON HER SHOULDER.

LYDIA LITTLE REALIZES WHAT A TEMPTATION SHE IS PLACING BEFORE EVANS.

O'BANNON BEGINS HIS INVESTIGATION OF THE THEFT.

IT WAS A VERY TERRIFYING MOMENT FOR LYDIA.

LYDIA HAD SEEN THE BRACELET AND SHRUNK FROM IT.

SHE FLUNG HERSELF FACE DOWNWARD ON THE SOFA AND SOBBED.

MANSLAUGHTER

CHAPTER I

Whenever she and Lydia had a scene Miss Bennett thought of the first scene she had witnessed in the Thorne household. She saw before her a vermillion carpet on a mottled marble stair between high, polished marble walls. There was gilt in the railing, and tall lanky palms stood about in majolica pots. Up this stairway an angry man was carrying an angrier child. Miss Bennett could see that broad back in its heavy blue overcoat, and his neck, above which the hair was still black, crimsoning with fury and exertion. On one side of him she could see the thin arms and clutching hands of the little girl, and on the other the slender kicking legs, expressing passionate rebellion in every spasmodic motion. The clutching hands caught the tip of a palm in passing, and the china pot went rolling down the stairs and crashed to bits, startling the two immense great Dane puppies which had been the occasion of the whole trouble.

The two figures, swaying and struggling, went on up; for though the man was strong, a writhing child of ten is no light burden; and the stairs, for all their grandeur, were steep, and the carpet so thick that the foot sank into it as into new fallen snow. Just as they passed out of sight Miss Bennett saw the hands of the child, now clenched fists, begin to beat on the man's arms, and she heard the clear, defiant young voice repeating, "I will keep them! I will!" The man's "You won't" was not spoken, but was none the less understood. Miss Bennett knew that when the heads of the stairs was reached the blows would be returned with interest.

Usually in the long struggle between these two indomitable wills Miss Bennett had been on Joe Thorne's side, coarse, violent man though he was, for she was old fashioned and believed that children ought to obey. But this night he had alienated her sympathy by being rude to her for the first and last time. He had come home after one of his long absences to the hideous house in Fifth Avenue in which he took so much pride, and had found these two new pets of Lydia's careening about the hall like young calves. He had turned on Miss Bennett.

"What the hell do you let her do such things for?" he had demanded, and Miss Bennett had answered with unusual spirit.

"Because she's so badly brought up, Mr. Thorne, that no one can do anything with her."

Lydia had stood by defiantly, glancing from one to the other, with a hand in the collar of each of her dogs, her face pale, her jaw set, her head not much above the sleek battleship gray heads of the great Danes, her small body pulled first one way and then the other by their gambols. All the time she was saying over and over, "I will keep them! I will! I will!"

She hadn't kept them; she had lost that particular skirmish in the long war. Not till some years later did she begin to win; but whether she lost or won, Miss Bennett was always conscious of a rush of pity for the slim, black eyed little girl thrusting her iron will so fearlessly against that of the man from whom she had inherited it... Continue reading book >>




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