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The Old Blood   By: (1873-1958)

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The Old Blood

By FREDERICK PALMER

AUTHOR OF

"The Last Shot," "My Year of the Great War," Etc.

A. L. BURT COMPANY

Publishers New York

Published by Arrangements with DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1916,

By DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I A HOME COMING II TWO GIRLS ON A TRAIN III AN INVITATION IV TOO MUCH ANCESTOR V THE FLAVOUR OF GRAPES VI AT MERVAUX VII A FULL FACE PORTRAIT VIII ANOTHER PHASE OF HELEN IX A MESSAGE FROM ALSACE X THE VOICE AT HIS ELBOW XI SHE SAID, "YES!" XII THE GUNS SPEAK XIII A MATTER OF GALLANTRY XIV "IF I WISH IT!" XV HELEN ASKS A FAVOUR XVI A CHANGE OF PLANS XVII UNDER FIRE XVIII A RUN FOR IT XIX A CHOICE OF BILLETS XX UNDER ARREST XXI A BIT FROM THE MOVIES XXII VICTORY! XXIII LONGFIELD DECIDES XXIV HELEN ARRIVES XXV HENRIETTE WAITS XXVI A DIRECT HIT XXVII A SMILING HELEN XXVIII A "SITTING CASE" XXIX IN HER PLACE AGAIN XXX PETER SMITHERS IN ACTION XXXI A THOUGHT FOR HELEN XXXII LIGHT XXXIII SPINNING WEBS

THE OLD BLOOD

CHAPTER I

A HOME COMING

Perhaps a real story teller, who leaps into the heart of things, would have begun this story in France instead of with a railroad journey from the Southwest to New England; perhaps he would have taken the view of "our Philip's" mother that Phil fought the whole war in Europe himself; perhaps given the story the name of "The Plain Girl," leaving Phil secondary place.

A veracious chronicler, consulting Phil's wishes, makes his beginning with a spring afternoon of 1914, when the Berkshire slopes were dripping and glistening and smiling and the air, washed by showers and purified by a burst of sunshine, was like some rare vintage which might be drunk only on the premises.

Complaining in a familiar way as it followed the course of a winding stream, which laughed in flashes of pearly white over rocky shallows, the train ran out into a broad valley the home valley. Not a road that he had not tramped over; not a woodland path that he did not know; not a mountain trail that he had not climbed. The scene was bred in his blood.

If Bill Hurley were at the station the auguries would be right, and there he was, standing on the same spot where he had stood for twenty years when the trains arrived; there, too, the stooped old station agent in his moment of bustling importance. By the calendar of Bill's chin it was Tuesday; for Bill shaved only on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons. A man of observation and opinion this keeper of the gate of Longfield, who let the world come to him and took charge of its baggage and conveyed its persons to their destinations. He was also a dispenser of news.

"The Jerrods have got that new porch," he said. "They'd been talking about it so long that they're sort of lost minded and dumb these days. And Hanks has put in a new soda fountain and plate glass windows. Ambitious man, Hanks. Nothing can keep him from branching out."

"And nothing can change you, Bill."

"Me? I guess not. May wither a little when the winters are hard, but you'll find me here fifty years from now. H m m!" after looking Phil over. "Bound to happen to young fellers out of college. Noticed it often. Something rubbed off you and something rubbed in out West, I jedge."

"You have it and in one of your epigrams, as usual," Phil agreed.

"Folks do say that I have a tolerable understanding of human nature, not to mention a sententious way of saying things, which I've always said comes from handling trunks. Hear you're going to Europe."

"Always well informed!" Phil affirmed.

"Never denied it. Well, you've earned the trip. Three years out there. Made good, too, everybody says. Soon as you've seen your folks and eat your veal, you and me must have a talk about old times. Trunk and suit case? Right! Have 'em up in a quarter of an hour."

Beyond the station was the old wooden bridge, which spanned the river here running deep and sluggish under drooping, solicitous willows... Continue reading book >>




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