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Pledged to the Dead   By:

Pledged to the Dead by Seabury Quinn

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Weird Tales October 1937. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration: "Good bye for eternity!" we heard her sob.]

Pledged to the Dead

By SEABURY QUINN

A tale of a lover who was pledged to a sweetheart who had been in her grave for more than a century, and of the striking death that menaced him a story of Jules de Grandin

The autumn dusk had stained the sky with shadows and orange oblongs traced the windows in my neighbors' homes as Jules de Grandin and I sat sipping kaiserschmarrn and coffee in the study after dinner. " Mon Dieu ," the little Frenchman sighed, "I have the mal du pays , my friend. The little children run and play along the roadways at Saint Cloud, and on the Ile de France the pastry cooks set up their booths. Corbleu , it takes the strength of character not to stop and buy those cakes of so much taste and fancy! The Napoléons, they are crisp and fragile as a coquette's promise, the éclairs filled with cool, sweet cream, the cream puffs all aglow with cherries. Just to see them is to love life better. They "

The shrilling of the door bell startled me. The pressure on the button must have been that of one who leant against it. "Doctor Trowbridge; I must see him right away!" a woman's voice demanded as Nora McGinnis, my household factotum, grudgingly responded to the hail.

"Th' docthor's offiss hours is over, ma'am," Nora answered frigidly. "Ha'f past nine ter eleven in th' marnin', an' two ter four in th' afthernoon is when he sees his patients. If it's an urgent case ye have there's lots o' good young docthors in th' neighborhood, but Docthor Trowbridge "

"Is he here?" the visitor demanded sharply.

"He is, an' he's afther digestin' his dinner an' an illigant dinner it wuz, though I do say so as shouldn't an' he can't be disturbed "

"He'll see me, all right. Tell him it's Nella Bentley, and I've got to talk to him!"

De Grandin raised an eyebrow eloquently. "The fish at the aquarium have greater privacy than we, my friend," he murmured, but broke off as the visitor came clacking down the hall on high French heels and rushed into the study half a dozen paces in advance of my thoroughly disapproving and more than semi scandalized Nora.

"Doctor Trowbridge, won't you help me?" cried the girl as she fairly leaped across the study and flung her arms about my shoulders. "I can't tell Dad or Mother, they wouldn't understand; so you're the only one oh, excuse me, I thought you were alone!" Her face went crimson as she saw de Grandin standing by the fire.

"It's quite all right, my dear," I soothed, freeing myself from her almost hysterical clutch. "This is Doctor de Grandin, with whom I've been associated many times; I'd be glad to have the benefit of his advice, if you don't mind."

She gave him her hand and a wan smile as I performed the introduction, but her eyes warmed quickly as he raised her fingers to his lips with a soft " Enchanté, Mademoiselle ." Women, animals and children took instinctively to Jules de Grandin.

Nella dropped her coat of silky shaven lamb and sank down on the study couch, her slim young figure molded in her knitted dress of coral rayon as revealingly as though she had been cased in plastic cellulose. She has long, violet eyes and a long mouth; smooth, dark hair parted in the middle; a small straight nose, and a small pointed chin. Every line of her is long, but definitely feminine; breasts and hips and throat and legs all delicately curved, without a hint of angularity.

"I've come to see you about Ned," she volunteered as de Grandin lit her cigarette and she sent a nervous smoke stream gushing from between red, trembling lips. "He he's trying to run out on me!"

"You mean Ned Minton?" I asked, wondering what a middle aged physician could prescribe for wandering Romeos... Continue reading book >>




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