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The Wishing-Ring Man   By: (1884-1978)

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First Page:

[Illustration: He was fairly content with what he saw in her face.]

The Wishing Ring Man

By MARGARET WIDDEMER

TO THE MEMORY OF MY OWN GRANDFATHER

E. S. W.

ONE OF THE DEAREST, BEST AND KINDLIEST OF MEN

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. JOY IN AMBER SATIN

II. BY GRACE OF THE WISHING RING

III. PHYLLIS RIDES THROUGH

IV. THE RESCUE OF THE PRINCESS

V. THE SHADOW OF GAIL

VI. ROSE GARDENS AND MEN

VII. A VERY CHARMING GENTLEMAN

VIII. A FOUNTAIN IN FAIRYLAND

IX. THE TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE

X. CLARENCE SWOOPS DOWN

XI. PIRATE COUSINS TO THE RESCUE

XII. DINNER FOR FIVE

XIII. THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF "IOLANTHE"

XIV. THE SLIGHTLY SURPRISING CLARENCE

XV. THE GIFT OF THE RING

CHAPTER ONE

JOY IN AMBER SATIN

Joy Havenith had no business at all to be curled up on the back stairs under Great Grand Aunt Lucilla's picture. She ought to have been sliding sweetly up and down the long double parlors with teacups and cake, and she knew it. But she just didn't care.

As a matter of fact, Aunt Lucilla and the other ancestors ought to have been in the parlors, too; but Grandfather had ordained differently. He had gobbled the parlor walls for his autographed photograph collection, and Grandmother, long before Joy was born or orphaned, had sorrowfully hung her ancestors in law out in the long, narrow hall, where they were a tight fit. Grandfather was one of the last survivors of the old school of American poetry. He was tall and slender, and very gentle and nice, but he always had things the way he said he wanted them, and he preferred his autographed friends to his family portraits.

"It's rather a good thing it's so dark out here, Aunt Lucilla," said Joy to the smiling Colonial lady in the dark corner above her. "You mayn't much like being where people can't see you but think how you'd feel, up garret!"

Aunt Lucilla Havenith, red of lip, flashing of eye, blue and silver of gown, laughed on down at her great grand niece, who was holding a surreptitious little red candle up to talk to her. Aunt Lucilla, from all accounts, had had too excellent a time in her life to mind a little thing like being put in a back hall afterwards. She had been a belle from her fifteenth year, eloped with her true love at sixteen, and gone on being a belle all the rest of her life, in the intervals of three husbands and ever so many children. She had managed everything and everybody she came across gaily all her life; she had been proposed to by practically the whole Society of the Cincinnati; and had died at eighty three, a power and a charmer to the last.

"I don't think you need to mind dark corners one bit," said Joy, tipping the candle so that the red wax dribbled down on her slim fingers. "If Rochambeau and Lafayette and all the rest of the people in the history books had made a fuss over me "

Joy sat down on the stairs again, on a cushion. Nobody used the back stairs, fine curly ones that they were, and Joy's cushion, which she had put there on purpose to be mournful on a fortnight before, was untouched since last time.

Joy Havenith was nineteen, but you never would have known it. She had been told so often by her grandparents that she was only a child yet, that she quite believed it. No, not quite but enough to make her a little shy, and have almost the expression and manner still of a little girl. She had big, black lashed, kitten blue eyes, scarlet lips, and two ropes of bronze hair that she wanted very badly to put up. It sounds like rather an exciting personality, but Joy was so young and so shy and so obedient that she was only like a rather small Blessed Damozel, or some other not grown up Rossetti person. She knew it well, because she had been told so frequently, and she didn't care about it at all. She leaned her head against the frame containing Great Grandfather John Havenith at twenty, and considered Aunt Lucilla afresh... Continue reading book >>




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