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Vicky Van   By: (1862-1942)

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VICKY VAN

BY CAROLYN WELLS

AUTHOR OF

"The Affair at Flower Acres," "Anybody But Anne," "The Mystery of the Sycamore," "Raspberry Jam," "The Vanishing of Betty Varian," "Spooky Hollow," "Feathers Left Around," etc.

TO

ONE OF MY BEST CHUMS

JULIAN KING SPRAGUE

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. VICKY VAN II. MR. SOMERS III. THE WAITER'S STORY IV. SOMERS' REAL NAME V. THE SCHUYLER HOUSEHOLD VI. VICKY'S WAYS VII. RUTH SCHUYLER VIII. THE LETTER BOX IX. THE SOCIAL SECRETARY X. THE INQUEST XI. A NOTE FROM VICKY XII. MORE NOTES XIII. FLEMING STONE XIV. WALLS HAVE TONGUES XV. FIBSY XVI. A FUTILE CHASE XVII. THE GOLD FRINGED GOWN XVIII. FIBSY DINES OUT XIX. PROOFS AND MORE PROOFS XX. THE TRUTH FROM RUTH

CHAPTER I

VICKY VAN

Victoria Van Allen was the name she signed to her letters and to her cheques, but Vicky Van, as her friends called her, was signed all over her captivating personality, from the top of her dainty, tossing head to the tips of her dainty, dancing feet.

I liked her from the first, and if her "small and earlies" were said to be so called because they were timed by the small and early numerals on the clock dial, and if her "little" bridge games kept in active circulation a goodly share of our country's legal tender, those things are not crimes.

I lived in one of the polite sections of New York City, up among the East Sixties, and at the insistence of my sister and aunt, who lived with me, our home was near enough the great boulevard to be designated by that enviable phrase, "Just off Fifth Avenue." We were on the north side of the street, and, nearer to the Avenue, on the south side, was the home of Vicky Van.

Before I knew the girl, I saw her a few times, at long intervals, on the steps of her house, or entering her little car, and half consciously I noted her charm and her evident zest of life.

Later, when a club friend offered to take me there to call, I accepted gladly, and as I have said, I liked her from the first.

And yet, I never said much about her to my sister. I am, in a way, responsible for Winnie, and too, she's too young to go where they play Bridge for money. Little faddly prize bags or gift shop novelties are her stakes.

Also, Aunt Lucy, who helps me look after Win, wouldn't quite understand the atmosphere at Vicky's. Not exactly Bohemian and yet, I suppose it did represent one compartment of that handy box of a term. But I'm going to tell you, right now, about a party I went to there, and you can see for yourself what Vicky Van was like.

"How late you're going out," said Winnie, as I slithered into my topcoat. "It's after eleven."

"Little girls mustn't make comments on big brothers," I smiled back at her. Win was nineteen and I had attained the mature age of twenty seven. We were orphans and spinster Aunt Lucy did her best to be a parent to us; and we got on smoothly enough, for none of us had the temperament that rouses friction in the home.

"Across the street?" Aunt Lucy guessed, raising her aristocratic eyebrows a hair's breadth.

"Yes," I returned, the least bit irritated at the implication of that hairbreadth raise. "Steele will be over there and I want to see him "

This time the said eyebrows went up frankly in amusement, and the kind blue eyes beamed as she said, "All right, Chet, run along."

Though I was Chester Calhoun, the junior partner of the law firm of Bradbury and Calhoun, and held myself in due and consequent respect, I didn't mind Aunt Lucy's calling me Chet, or even, as she sometimes did, Chetty. A man puts up with those things from the women of his household. As to Winnie, she called me anything that came handy, from Lord Chesterton to Chessy Cat.

I patted Aunt Lucy on her soft old shoulder and Winnie on her hard young head, and was off.

True, I did expect to see Steele at Vicky Van's he was the club chap who had introduced me there but as Aunt Lucy had so cleverly suspected, he was not my sole reason for going... Continue reading book >>




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